Training for Peace: Reflections
Over thirty people participated in the first major program of the Buttry Center for Peace and Nonviolence, the Buttrys’ signature Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT). Dan Buttry, global peace consultant, describes TCTT as “the foundation program of his mission work over the past 9 years.” These 10 days of intense training has the potential to impact the world for peace.
Buttry reflected on the group of trainees who were involved in the intensive training held at Central from August 7-16:
We had a full group of participants with both a global reach and an in-depth connection to the Kansas City area. We had a great time exploring topics of conflict resolution, mediation, our personal conflict styles, dealing with diversity, power, nonviolent transforming initiatives, developing movements for change, trauma and trauma healing, reconciliation, and experiential education principles, practices, and tools.
There were participants from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Japan, Egypt, and Nicaragua, as well as several from the US. Two Peace Studies Center staff of the Myanmar Institute of Theology came for the training, as well as a third staff person, Benjamin Kam Sian Muang, who completed the program in a TCTT event in the Philippines in 2016. He co-facilitated the Kansas City training with Dan and Sharon Buttry. Three others were connected with Tearfund, a UK based ecumenical relief and development agency. Four from ABC International Ministries participated, as well as the director of ABC Baptist Women in Ministry, who is also a Central Seminary alum.
Buttry noted the particularly profound connection with Kansas City:
We had two people come from Open Table, an emerging church that does creative community outreach and is very engaged in social concerns. Already they have been reworking their anti-racism workshops with plans to use their new tools and training design skills almost immediately. We also had a number of Central Seminary folks, one from the board, two faculty, a couple students and several alums in the training. They are already energized with new ideas about how both the conflict transformation and the experiential education form of the training will impact their work and the teaching of the entire seminary community.
Dr. Sheryl Stewart, Director of Language Development and Curriculum Implementation for Central Seminary was one of the faculty participants. She reflects:
I am grateful for the experience of the Training for Conflict Transformation Trainers. Though I’ve been on this journey for quite a while, enrollment in the TCTT was a way to intensively immerse myself again in the pursuit of skills towards peace. Maybe my peaceful persona could extend to my inner self. It felt like a good fit, –and it was.
Sharon and Dan Buttry, along with Benjamin Sian Mung and Ericka Thorne, facilitated a lively educational experience packed with good content, significant theory, participatory pedagogical structures, and fun in the process. They opened their thinking up to us for questions about how they made facilitation decisions and structured practice sessions to help reinforce the learning we received.
The mix of participants who are working at peace all over the world was a resource itself. We will be able to support and pray for each other’s efforts as well as know that we are not alone in our own endeavors for peace.
The training was a huge success and plans are already in place for the next training event in Nairobi where the Buttrys hope to include several from African nations who were not able to procure visas for the Kansas City training. For more pictures from the event, visit Central Seminary’s Facebook page. Future Buttry Center events will be announced as plans are made.