St. Michael’s Episcopal Church is teaming up with Jerusalem Peacebuilders, a local organization, to offer a Lenten series on the peoples and challenges of the Middle East, beginning Sunday, March 9 from 9-10am preceding the 10:15 service at St. Michael’s. All are welcome to this opening event and to the subsequent evening sessions which each include a lecture and time for questions from 6:45–8:00 pm in the Sanctuary of St. Michael’s, 16 Bradley Avenue in Brattleboro.
The series’ line up includes:
Sunday morning, March 9 (Adult Forum)—Middle East Primer with Nicholas Porter, an Episcopal priest and founder/ director of Jerusalem Peacebuilders. With a master’s in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo, a master’s in War Studies from King’s College at the University of London and an M.Div. from the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, Porter was ordained to the priesthood in 1995 and has served as curate at St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem and as sub-dean and canon pastor at the American Cathedral in Paris. He served as rector of Trinity Church in Southport, Connecticut, from 2006–2013 and now resides with his family in Brattleboro.
Tuesday evening, March 11—Shattered Mosaic: Refugees in the Middle East Crises led by Christopher George of Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS). IRIS is a program of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut and is the local affiliate of Episcopal Migration Ministries and the Immigration and Refugee Program of Church World Service. IRIS resettles approximately 200 refugees each year and provides services to asylees and other immigrants. Currently, IRIS’ refugee clients come from Afghanistan, Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and other countries.
Tuesday evening, March 18—The Future’s Hinge: Afghanistan and the 2014 Future led by Marin Strmecki, Senior Vice President and Director of Programs of the Smith Richardson Foundation in Westport, Connecticut. He has recently worked in a variety of advisory capacities in the U.S. government including Afghanistan Policy Coordinator and Special Advisor on Afghanistan in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2003 to 2005, advisor to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in Afghanistan and Iraq from 2004 to 2007; and Policy Counselor at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
Tuesday evening, March 25—A Land Divided: Israel-Palestine led by Phillip Wilcox, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. In the U.S. Foreign Service, he served in Laos, Indonesia, Bangladesh and, most recently, in Jerusalem as U.S. Consul General. In the Department of State, Wilcox has served in the Bureau for Middle Eastern and South Asian Affairs as Director for Regional Affairs, Director for Israeli and Arab-Israeli Affairs and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs. He also served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research and as Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Counter Terrorism.