Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Roger Nam, PhD

Second Advisor

Tricia Gates Brown, PhD

Third Advisor

Leonard I. Sweet, PhD


Religion has always had the ability to play a major role in peacemaking and conflict transformation. But over the years, the power of religion to engender peace and to have an active voice in community issues has been lost on many secular theorists who see religion as one of the major reasons for lack of peace in the world. So, reclaiming the voice of religion in a pluralistic world is needed. Religious voices could have a positive impact in transforming conflict and bringing peace. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are monotheistic religions that are also the Abrahamic faiths. This is a designation that captures the essence of these faiths, most notably their shared affirmation of a single God. “They characteristically proclaim God as the creator and the sovereign ruler of the universe—its past, present, and future. God not only transcends human understanding, but also uses human language to reveal God’s will and ways to us. These religions also proclaim that God speaks through the prophets and set forth the holy books as the treasure chest of their revelations. Not only a belief in one God but faith in the creator God, binds together the Abrahamic religions.” In the context of today’s spiritual need and conflicts, the Abrahamic faiths should unite towards peacemaking, setting aside any competition with one another. They must work in harmony, cooperating in the genuine spirit of service to humanity given the common understanding of being heirs of Abraham. Only then can they influence the opinions of the masses and truly educate the people toward peacemaking. Their religious instructions and beliefs continue to remain the lifeblood of society’s moral ethos. “Not only do these religions teach virtue, but they also have been a bedrock for moral action.” As a result, “religion plays an essential role in society and should give attention to the role of being peacemakers. It is certain that Christians, Jews, and Muslims will readily agree that God alone is sovereign;” however, relinquishing the idea of sovereignty to other religions is a bit more complex. For the sake of humanity and the cause of peace, guided by a genuine feeling of love and brotherhood, religious leaders from each of the Abrahamic faiths have to stretch out their hands in friendship to one another and the people of Rockford, Illinois, irrespective of race or creed, with a desire to work for peace in Rockford. Like other cosmopolitan cities in America and around the world, Rockford’s Abrahamic faiths coexist side by side. Much work has been done in Rockford so that they not only coexist, but have taken to making religion a vehicle for peacemaking. Rockfordians did not seek individual or group protection through ironclad religious identities, but have chosen to enjoy a variety of spiritual gifts, focusing on goals, not creeds. While the individual beliefs of each faith are important, one rule—based on the understanding that no one may attack another religion—is honored. Unity exists for the sake of peace. Such understanding fuels our hopes for working together as diverse religious groups. We might not otherwise have done so since each religion exclusively claims to be the conduit to peacemaking. The Christian tradition makes Abraham the patriarch and recipient of the original covenant from God, whereas Jesus is seen as the one who makes the second covenant possible. In the Islamic culture and religion, the same Abraham is regarded as a prophet and a messenger of God who had an unwavering faith and steadfast monotheism. Jews attest to the Israelites as the descendants of Abraham, according to their scriptures. In response to these differences, a Rockford unity group coordinated by the Center for Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation (CNCT) called for a rally that began with Muslims, Christians, and Jews sharing stories from their religious traditions on how peacemaking takes place. These acts of storytelling and listening to each other’s stories opened up new vistas for attendees to understand each other. The storytelling sessions went from one house of worship to the other—mosques, churches, and synagogues alike—with several speakers from the diverse backgrounds of these faiths. It culminated in a resolve to work together toward peacemaking and conflict transformation that is backed up by actionable steps. According to the New York Times in November 2016, nationally there has been 67 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims and Jews. The focus of the unity group is to defeat discrimination against minority groups. The rallies provided the platform for an interface aimed at showing support to all groups that felt threatened, and brought them together regardless of race, ethnicity, or creed.

Included in

Christianity Commons