We train people to deal with conflict constructively and nonviolently.
We offer networking resources and provide backup for your commitment to peace and to socially, ecologically and economically sustainable development.
Our work is based on the Christian tradition of nonviolence. We welcome people from all faiths and convictions.
All our courses are currently conducted in German.
We will inform you here as soon as we can offer seminars in English again.
Acting nonviolently offers basic and advanced level courses, split into several training sessions which take place mostly at weekends. The basic course is designed as an introduction to nonviolent action. It lasts 14 days. On four weekends and in a final one-week seminar, we explore steps towards an attitude of nonviolence and constructive ways of dealing with conflict. This includes practical training, theoretical understanding of issues related to conflict transformation, and personal reflection on one's own reactions to situations of conflict.
"We commit ourselves to work and engage our Churches to work for a community of the Churches who claim their identity as the Body of Christ through providing witness to the liberating love of God through developing and co-ordinating justice and peace ministries including a global non-violent service which can advance the struggle for human rights and liberation and serve in situations of conflict, crises and violence."
The advanced level course leads to the qualification of "Friedensfachkraft" (professional peace worker) and is also offered by other organisations. It lasts one and a half years and is conducted with a fixed group of participants. This long term learning process enables us to work with the ongoing experience of participants. The course creates a safe space in which participants can acquire new knowledge and practise new skills. The group itself becomes a training ground for working with conflict. This form of training facilitates the development of competencies which enable participants to cope with difficult crises and conflict situations.
We often organise our basic courses in cooperation with interested institutions. We also offer tailor-made courses, developed in close cooperation with our partners, such as an introduction to nonviolent action as part of a training for clergy, an empowerment training with refugees, or weekend workshops or seminars on specific issues.
Contents and standards
The capacity to change one's perspective and to find creative solutions to problems are key personal competencies that we convey in our courses.
The training is geared to experienced professionals who are seeking to deepen or renew their engagement with issues of peace and justice. Building on their experiences and talents, the training focuses on four areas of learning: knowledge - skills - being - vision. Content includes, for example:
We work according to the standards of qualification which have been agreed with other organisations within the Aktionsgemeinschaft Dienst für den Frieden (AGDF), a German network of organisations engaged in peace service. These standards help us to maintain and develop the quality of our educational work.
Origin and networking
The "Ecumenical Service for a Ministry of Shalom" (Oekumenischer Dienst Schalomdiakonat, OeD) was founded as an ecumenical non-profit organisation in 1992. The idea of the OeD emerged in the context of the global Conciliar Process of Christian Churches for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, which led to several ecumenical declarations. We refer in particular to the commitment of the World Convocation in Seoul in 1990:
"We commit ourselves to work and engage our Churches to work for a community of the Churches who claim their identity as the Body of Christ through providing witness to the liberating love of God through developing and coordinating justice and peace ministries including a global non-violent service which can advance the struggle for human rights and liberation and serve in situations of conflict, crises and violence."
We changed our name to "acting nonviolently - learning peace ecumenically" (gewaltfrei handeln - ökumenisch Frieden lernen e.V.) in January 2012.
We are a member of "Pax Christi", the European network "Church and Peace", and the Aktionsgemeinschaft Dienst für den Frieden (AGDF) and its network of organisations offering training in nonviolent conflict transformation (Qualifizierungsverbund für gewaltfreie Konfliktbearbeitung).
Some of our graduates decide to become peace professionals. They work, for instance, with the Civil Peace Service (Ziviler Friedensdienst, ZFD) or start/join initiatives in their respective home countries. We have developed a particular concept of accompaniment to give them space for reflection and on-going development. Our accompaniment aims for the professional development and personal empowerment of our cooperative partners.
Cooperative partners contribute to the practical nature of our courses in nonviolent conflict transformation by sharing their experiences of intercultural and interreligious peace work.
Qualified educational work and project partnerships are costly. Our fees for membership and courses are deliberately kept low in order to be affordable; they do not cover our costs. Our work is funded mainly by churches and foundations, the fundraising activities of congregations and other groups of supporters, and by donations.
Our most important sources of funding have so far been the German Protestant Church (EKD) and the Bremen-based Stiftung die schwelle, "The Threshold Foundation". Further contributions are made for specific courses or projects by various churches and organisations.
In order to maintain our financial independence, we have to rely on donations made by individuals or groups who are willing and able to support us through single or regular payments. In 2002 the foundation Stiftung Schalomdiakonat was set up to support our organisation. We still need donors for this who are willing to give a minimum of 2,500 Euro to raise the capital stock.
Bank account for tax-deductible (in Germany) donations:
Name of account: gewaltfrei handeln e.V.
Name of bank: GLS Gemeinschaftsbank
For further information about particular courses, partner projects, and the foundation Stiftung Schalomdiakonat or other aspects of our work, please contact our office:
gewaltfrei handeln e.V.
Mittelstr. 4, D-34474 Diemelstadt-Wethen, Germany
Phone + 49 5694 8033, Fax + 49 5694 1532
Lines crossing each other
running towards each other
finding each other
cutting each other
hitting each other
standing in each other's way
supporting each other
complementing each other
forming a knot
and they let go of each other
each line growing beyond the picture
following its own path
without losing the others.
The lines are colourful
each has its own colour
the encounter deepens the colours
where they're crossing each other
as colourful as a rainbow.
And the cross in the centre
not visible to the cursory glance
visible only to those penetrating this liveliness
where encounter may mean disturbance and conflict.
The cross does not impose itself
but it is present
where life dares to hope
that diversity and difference
may be transformed into abundance and richness.
Dr. Elisabeth Schieffer