Growing up in the Quaker movement, Deborah Lilly, editor of Anderson University’s Signatures magazine, was exposed to the ideas of peace and simplicity. These virtues have remained important into her adult life and career.
In November, Lilly attended the Ministry of Writing Colloquium, an event hosted by the Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Ind. The Peace and Conflict Transformation (PACT) program at AU sponsored Lilly’s trip. The keynote speaker at the conference was Sherman Apt Russell, an acclaimed nature and science writer.
During the Ministry of Writing Colloquium, Lilly participated in a workshop on peace journalism. The workshop was led by Judi Hetrick, an Earlham College professor with extensive experience teaching wartime journalism. She explained that the concept of peace journalism encourages writers to talk to every faction involved, as opposed to the traditional two sides to a story. For example, in a war situation, a writer would speak not only to representatives from each side’s government or military, but also hear the perspectives of the people affected by battles in their homeland.
Lilly, who earned her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in theological studies from AU, also learned more about using one’s lifestyle to develop as a writer. “You write what you know,” said Lilly. “If I know I want to write about things like peace and simplicity, I need to try to achieve those in my life.”
The PACT program encourages the use of words as a powerful medium for peace, especially if writing is one’s particular talent. “Working for peace and justice is a very broad project with a multitude of dimensions,” said Dr. Marian Osborne Berky, assistant professor of religious studies and director of PACT. Simply stated: using the talents one has been given is the best way any one person can work toward peace.
Since returning from the two-day conference, Lilly will write a paper for PACT about her experience and findings from the Ministry of Writing Colloquium. Her paper will discuss her learnings on peace journalism more thoroughly. Discussing her plans for the recap, she referenced writer Henry David Thoreau and the time during which he changed his entire lifestyle for the sake of his work; this time period is vividly apparent in his writings. “As a writer, if you know what you want to do,” said Lilly, “is the way you are living conflicting or cohesive?”
While PACT is an area of study at AU, the program also strives to cultivate thoughtful experiences such as Lilly’s. “We exist, in a nutshell, to encourage the campus to be aware of issues of peace and justice in the world,” said Berky. Any Anderson University faculty and staff member or AU student may apply for funding if he or she believes an initiative will bring about education in matters of peace or justice.
— Courtney Hoyle is a senior from Munster, Ind., majoring in marketing and minoring in public relations. Hoyle is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.