George Fox speaker extols youths on one-year city sabbatical

George Fox’s Center for Peace and Justice hosts forum focusing on Dr. King’s call for ‘beloved community’
By George Fox University

University’s Woolman Peacemaking Forum welcomes Mission Year President Leroy Barber as special guest Feb. 27. What does it mean to be a true neighbor – one who embraces Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to join a “beloved community,” a community of welcoming hospitality that confronts poverty, homelessness and racism? This question will be addressed at George Fox University’s 27th annual John Woolman Peacemaking Forum, scheduled the week of Feb. 27 on the university’s Newberg, Ore., campus. 

Leroy Barber, president of Mission Year, a national urban initiative that introduces 18- to 29-year-olds – both single persons and married couples – to missional and communal living in city centers for one year of their lives, will speak Monday, Feb. 27, on “New Neighbor: An Invitation to Join Beloved Community.” Barber’s first presentation, titled “Beloved Community,” will commence in Bauman Auditorium at 10:45 a.m. His second presentation of the day, “Community Transformation,” begins at 7:30 p.m. in Room 102 of the university’s Edwards-Holman Science Center. The public is invited to attend either session free of charge.

Barber has dedicated more than 20 years to eradicating poverty, confronting homelessness, restoring local neighborhoods and healing racism. In addition to serving as president of Mission Year, he is pastor of a church plant, Community Fellowships Church, and author of New Neighbor: An Invitation to Join Beloved Community. He was also chosen as a contributor to the groundbreaking book UnChristian: What a New Generation Thinks About Christianity and Why It Matters.

In 1990, burdened by the plight of Philadelphia’s homeless, Barber founded Restoration Ministries to serve homeless families and children living on the streets. In 1997, he joined FCS Urban Ministries to serve as the founding director of Atlanta Youth Academies, a private elementary school, to provide quality Christian education for low-income families in the inner city.

Joining Barber at Monday’s Woolman event is Chris Lahr, a recruiter and academic director for Mission Year and a board member of the Simple Way community of Philadelphia. Lahr will speak on campus as well, sharing on issues related to racial awareness and reconciliation in the Perspectives on Christian Education class scheduled from 3:40 to 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon in Room 15 of the university’s Lemmons Center. The public is invited to attend the class for free.

In addition to Barber and Lahr’s visit on Monday, George Fox will participate in a panel discussion, “Where will the leadership come from to end the Korean War and solve the Israeli Palestinian Conflict,” from 2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 29, at the Buckley Center on the University of Portland campus.

Headlining the panel is F.W. de Klerk, the former president of South Africa who, in 1993, was named co-winner (with Nelson Mandela) of the Nobel Peace Prize. He’ll be joined on the panel by university presidents, including George Fox’s Robin Baker, and others. The event will include a Q&A time afterwards.

Tickets for the panel event are $10 ($5 for full-time students with ID) and can be purchased by calling 503-493-6294.

For more information on any of the events, contact George Fox University’s Center for Peace at Justice, at 503-554-2686 or visit

The Woolman Peacemaking Forum was established in 1986 as a way of articulating peacemaking issues to the George Fox University community. Its purpose is threefold: to provide a forum for people involved in peacemaking to offer insights and challenges, to inspire and equip in order to invest our energies in the pursuit of peace, and to enrich the ongoing work of the Center for Peace and Justice.

The forum was named for John Woolman, an American Quaker living in the 1700s, who called attention to the evils of slavery and challenged fellow Quakers to abandon the practice. Previous speakers for the Woolman Peacemaking Forum include John Perkins, Tony Campolo, and Mark Hatfield.

The Center for Peace and Justice (CPJ) has been in existence since 1985. Its purpose is to carry out its mission of preparing students to mirror the example of Christ in human relationships. The CPJ focuses on educating and implementing core scriptural principles of loving God and neighbor.

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes and Kiplinger’s among the top Christian colleges in the country and is a Christian university classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first tier regional university and a “Best Value” school. More than 3,500 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond, Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 11 master’s and doctoral degrees.

Center for Peace and Justice
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