The Lombard Mennonite Peace Center (LMPC) ministry receives its impetus from II Corinthians 5:18 – “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” Thus, LMPC seeks to ground its peacemaking in a biblical understanding of salvation and Christian discipleship.
LMPC was conceived as a peace resource center – sharing speakers, audio-visual resources, and literature with churches and the broader public throughout the Chicago metropolitan area and beyond. Initially LMPC was called upon to provide educational resources on biblical peacemaking in regard to such issues as the nuclear arms race, U.S.-Soviet relations, Central America, and other global issues.
As its ministry matured, LMPC’s work expanded.
LMPC provided resources on a diverse range of peace and justice concerns, from biblical foundations for peacemaking, to conflict transformation skills for the family, the church, the workplace, and the community. Additionally LMPC was increasingly called upon to help those caught in difficult conflict to find reconciliation and healing by offering mediation services for individuals, churches, and other organizations.
In the 1990’s, LMPC added an international component to its work, having provided training in conflict transformation for church leaders in the former Yugoslavia. From 1996 to 2011, Richard led an annual training event held either in London or various other cities in the United Kingdom. Since 2005 he has also periodically led training events in the Netherlands and at the Theological Seminary and Conference Centre Bienenberg in Switzerland. Finally, each summer, from 2006 to 2013, he taught a course on Religion and Dispute Resolution: Mediation Skills for Church Leaders in Florence, Italy, for Southern Methodist University.
LMPC has also been called upon to work in school settings.
Educational leaders, responding to an increase in violence and other destructive expressions of conflict in classrooms and on playgrounds, have sought alternative approaches to the management of conflict in schools. LMPC has offered training to teachers, school social workers, and administrators in conflict transformation skills for the classroom, and in establishing peer mediation programs in schools.
LMPC began in 1983 as a congregationally-based ministry with a local and regional focus to its outreach ministries. Over the years, the demand for LMPC’s educational programs has grown significantly such that we now have a national focus to our outreach ministry. Such growth has confirmed our original vision for providing peacemaking resources for churches of all denominations. In 1998 LMPC reorganized as an independent non-profit ministry responsible to a ten-member Board of Directors.
In the broken world in which we live, there are many opportunities to share with others our mission of seeking “to proclaim Christ’s good news, the gospel of peace and justice – and to be active in the sacred ministry of reconciliation.”
May God continue to bless LMPC as we seek to follow -and share – Christ’s way of peace.