MC USA award honors peacemakers

Michelle Armster and Dona Park are recipients of Mennonite Church USA’s #BringThePeace award. — Mennonite Church USA Michelle Armster and Dona Park are recipients of Mennonite Church USA’s #BringThePeace award. — Mennonite Church USA

Mennonite Church USA has named Michelle Armster and Dona Park as the first recipients of its #BringThePeace award. Sponsored by MC USA’s Church Peace Tax Fund, the award recognizes the work of denominational peacemakers.

Armster is executive director of Mennonite Central Committee Central States, a contributing author of Colorizing Restorative Justice and an adjunct professor at Bethel College. She served as a co-pastor of St. Andrew United Church of Christ and associate pastor for community outreach at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church, both in Lancaster, Pa. She attends Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita, Kan.

“I’m always mindful of the person on the margins,” Armster said. “Bringing peace is about including those who are on the margins to not just sit at the table but creating a table where they belong — even if it means designing a new table.”

Park is a Korean Canadian illustrator and graphic designer from Vancouver, B.C., who has worked on art for peacebuilding initiatives with Women Peace Makers in Cambodia. A graduate of Goshen College, she is a co-author of Navigating the Nexus of Art and Peace. She worked with MC USA to create art for several peace and justice initiatives, including “Laboring Toward Wholeness: A Training on Dismantling Patriarchy” and “Defund the Police? An Abolition Curriculum.”

“I think we tend to associate peace as being nonconfrontational, being passive,” Park said. “I think we need to redefine peace as actively participating and dismantling abusive and oppressive systems.”

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