The annual Kidschi Faith and Justice Symposium opened today at Houghton University, focused on War and Conflict: Creating Sanctuaries in Times of Violence, with a special concert Wednesday night by the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine being part of the five-day schedule.
Belinda Bauman of One Million Thumbprints of Grand Rapids, Mich., in several campus appearances today, discussed Violence Against Her is Violence Against Us: Trauma, Resilience and the Future of Our Faith as it relates to violence against women and children during times of war.
Additional speakers will be on hand through Friday, discussing various aspects of the topic, including the role of the local church in creating a welcoming space for those fleeing conflict-induced migration.
The University notes, according to the Council of Foreign Relations, that there are 27 ongoing conflicts in the world today, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reporting more than 100 million people being forcibly displaced last year due to conflict and violence, with 2022 being the 15th straight year of increasing numbers of internally displaced people.
The World Economic Forum also estimates that global conflict, including current hotspots in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Yemen and Ethiopia, costs the world $14 trillion annually, enough to end world hunger by a factor of 42 times.
Houghton President Wayne D. Lewis, Jr., introduced the symposium, noting that “it was not long ago that our living could be relatively neatly divided between times of war and times of peace,” but since 9/11, “the U.S. has seemingly been in a perpetual state of conflict.”
He noted the global tensions occurring in many part of the world and said this year’s campus event “provides the Houghton community and our guests the opportunity for contemplation and reflection on these issues through a distinctly Christian lens, with the hope of greater discernment and understanding as we love, serve and comfort those who suffer, and work to build a more peaceful world for our children and grandchildren.”
The symposium is open to the public, without cost except for Wednesday night’s concert, conducted by Theodore Kuchar, adjunct professor of conducting at Houghton University.
A full schedule of presentations and activities, including an exhibit, Chaos, by Houghton artist Joel Mulindwa, which opens Tuesday night with a reception and gallery discussion, is available at https://bit.ly/3JkO75g. Information and tickets for the Ukrainian concert are at https://bit.ly/3WChmDu.