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Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

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2/4/2009 Apel to speak at global peace conference

McMINNVILLE – William Apel, professor of religious studies at Linfield College, has been invited to speak at “Roma 2009,” a Global Baptist Peace Conference, held Feb. 9-16 in Rome, Italy.

Apel will speak about his book, “Signs of Peace: The Interfaith Letters of Thomas Merton.”

The conference, involving peacemakers and workers in conflict resolution from trouble spots around the world, includes men and women from over 50 nations. Although sponsored by various Baptist groups worldwide, the conference also includes Buddhist monks, Muslims and Christians ranging from Catholics to Pentecostals. The grassroots conference includes an emphasis upon peacemakers from poor countries and men and women under the age of 30.

Similar conferences have been held in Sweden, Australia and Nicaragua, according to Apel.

“These meetings held every several years have quietly, but effectively, helped in several cases to make a difference in certain war-torn corners of the world,” Apel said. “Of course, much, much, more needs to be done in all levels of government and non-government responses.”

Apel, former Linfield chaplain and member of the faculty since 1975, has devoted his life to pursuing peace, social justice and interfaith understanding. He organized two major international peace conferences at Linfield and was the driving force behind the founding of the Oregon Nobel Laureate Symposium, also at Linfield. His passion for social justice extends beyond Linfield and Oregon. He advocated nationally for women in ministry and for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the American Baptist Churches, USA. He led a Baptist peace delegation to the former Soviet Union and traveled to Israel with Catholic, Protestant and Jewish university chaplains to study social conflict in Israel.

Apel is ordained in the United Methodist Church and is also recognized by the American Baptist Churches, USA. He is a member of the International Bonhoeffer Society and the International Thomas Merton Society, by which he was named a 2007-08 Shannon Fellow. He is the author of several books and numerous articles in addition to “Signs of Peace: The Interfaith Letters of Thomas Merton,” including “Witnesses Before Dawn” and “Silent Conversations.”