Photo: Sarah Wickham
We are a Christian,
not for profit peacemaking ministry
We strive to build peacemakers for life.
We believe that biblical peacemaking is the most hope-filled, practical and profound approach to dealing with conflict available to people.
Equipping people to use these principles to have stronger, better relationships is at the heart of what PeaceWise is about. We seek to help not only individuals, but also for whole communities to take on the character of living healthily in relationship using these principles- to build true communities of peace.
As relationships are maintained or reconciled using biblical principles, this also draws people closer to God himself – whether those who already know him, or those who have seen him demonstrated in a Christian approach to a conflict.
The gospel of peace both informs and is the heart of the hope God offers to all seeking to have better relationships both in this life and beyond.
what is God calling us to do?
To see vast numbers of people passionately living and sharing Jesus’ promise: “Blessed are the peacemakers”
Promoting peace and reconciliation in relationships through biblical principles and the power of Christ
what we do
The strategic focus of the ministry of PeaceWise is the local church and Christian schools.
However, we also delight in serving:
- Christian ministries
- Church denominations
- Christian workplaces and of course
- anyone who needs help resolving conflict using Christian principles
PeaceWise trains, educates and equips by…
- teaching and educating both children and adults on how to personally deal with conflict;
- training and skilling people on how to help others through conflict situations;
- helping denominations, churches, Christian schools and other Christian organisations develop communities of peace that foster healthy responses to conflict;
- training people in how to mediate using Christian principles and a biblical framework
We do this on the basis of the extensive resources in the Bible that guide us in how to approach conflict.
And we look to the example of Christ as the greatest teacher about peace and the greatest example of someone willing to give all in order to bring peace.
Photo: Sarah Wickham
PeaceWise also assists in actual conflict situations by..
- providing conflict coaching to people who seek assistance in responding biblically to conflicted situations or relationships that they are in
- providing a mediation referral service to mediators who have done PeaceWise mediation training and will apply a biblically based mediation process in helping parties address a conflict situation
- providing an adjudication referral service to persons who will adjudicate on disputed matters where the parties seek to have Christians determine a disputed substantive matter rather than pursue other avenues such as civil litigation (see 1 Corinthians 6:1-8)
what we believe
our core values
We seek to be vehicles for God’s peace
We will be encouragers to the discouraged
As the church has been granted the ministry of reconciliation, we promote mutual accountability within the body of believers
Christ is our hope and motivation for helping others with conflict
We strive to live out what we teach about peacemaking
As the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, we ground all that we do in prayer as we seek God leading and direction
We are open, honest and honour our commitments
The Bible is our fully sufficient guidebook for all matters of faith and human behaviour
God’s Holy Spirit empowers us as we seek to serve others
our statement of faith
This statement reflects a contemporary summary of the central doctrines in the Bible, which are also presented in the historic creeds of the Christian church:
The Bible is God’s unique revelation to people. It is the inspired, infallible Word of God, and the supreme and final authority on all matters upon which it teaches. No other writings are vested with such divine authority
There is only one God, creator of heaven and earth, who exists eternally as three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each fully God yet each personally distinct from the other
All people are created in God’s image and matter deeply to Him. Central to the message of the Bible is that God loves people, and invites them to live in communion with Himself and in community with each other
Apart from Jesus Christ, all people are spiritually lost and, because of sin, deserve the judgment of God. However, God gives salvation and eternal life to anyone who trusts in Jesus Christ and in His sacrifice on his or her behalf. Salvation cannot be earned through personal goodness or human effort. It is a gift that must be received by humble repentance and faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross.
Jesus Christ, second Person of the Trinity, was born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless human life, willingly took upon Himself all of our sins, died and rose again bodily, and is at the right hand of the Father as our advocate and mediator. Some day, He will return to consummate history and to fulfill the eternal plan of God
The Holy Spirit, third Person of the Trinity, convicts the world of sin and draws people to Christ. He also indwells all believers. He is available to empower them to lead Christ-like lives, and gives them spiritual gifts with which to serve the church and reach out to a lost and needy world
Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. At the final judgment, unbelievers will be separated from God into condemnation. Believers will be received into God’s loving presence and rewarded for their faithfulness to Him in this life
All believers are members of the body of Christ, the one true church universal. Spiritual unity is to be expressed among Christians by acceptance and love of one another across ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, national, generational, gender, and denominational lines
The local church is a congregation of believers who gather for worship, prayer, instruction, encouragement, mutual accountability, and community with each other. Through it, believers invest time, energy, and resources to fulfill the Great Commission — reaching lost people and growing them into fully devoted followers of Christ.
our relational commitments
PeaceWise staff and volunteers commit to the principles of Christian relationship found in the Bible in all our relationships.
In particular, we commit, with the help of the Holy Spirit:
to walk together in Christian love with all people who work within or for PeaceWise;
to seek to support the work of PeaceWise and Christian peacemaking as we are able;
to address matters of conflict in a biblical and godly manner consistent with the principles for peacemaking that are promoted by PeaceWise; and
if it is possible, as far as it depends on us, to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).
PeaceWise spent many years as a seed in the hearts of a number of people around Australia who saw the potential for creating a national peacemaking organisation dedicated to using biblical principles to help people find healthier ways for responding to conflict. We were dreaming of what “Christian conflict resolution” could look like in a uniquely Australian context.
2002-2003: Peacemaker Ministries connection
In 2002, Ken Sande from Peacemaker Ministries (USA) was the featured speaker at the Australasian Christian Legal Convention held in the Gold Coast, Queensland. Many of the people who attended this training were inspired then to attend a three day mediation course in 2003 conducted by Clayton Kimpton from Resolve (NZ) and Chip Zimmer, the International Director of Peacemaker Ministries.
After this, a number of the current PeaceWise Board members became increasingly drawn to the materials and training offered by Peacemaker Ministries, and travelled to America to attend further training.
2006- 2007: the ministry is born
Then, in 2006, the seed sprang to life as work began in earnest to bring the potential of a cross-denominational peacemaking organisation to fruition.
In this year, Bruce Burgess, our National Director, attended the Peacemaker Ministries international conference in America, and was touched by God’s spirit in a special way. Returning to Australia and sharing what had happened, the founders of PeaceWise shared a deep and collective conviction that this was God’s sovereign time for a similar peacemaking ministry to grow and flourish in Australia.
This culminated with the formal incorporation of PeaceWise as a ministry on 29 May 2007.
The original directors and founders of PeaceWise were:
- Bruce Burgess – NSW and National Director
- Elenne Ford – Queensland
- Li Ai Gamble – Western Australia
- Sharon Moore – Victoria
- Mark Mudri – South Australia
- Ken Stanton – Tasmania
The next thing was the national launch of PeaceWise in October and November 2007. This coincided with the visit of the internationally renowned speaker and trainer Lynn Pace from Peacemaker Ministries, who conducted PeaceWise training events in four Australian States together with Bruce Burgess.
2010 – 2014: the training expands and hubs begin
Following on this foundation, from 2010, PeaceWise expanded its national training programme to all six States plus the Northern Territory for the first time, and in 2014, national training was offered for the first time in Canberra in the ACT.
PeaceWise has now trained thousands of people across Australia as well as administering many successful mediations and conflict coaching sessions.
In 2013, the first PeaceWise hub was established at Village Church in Annandale as a way of building connections and skills and encouraging the peacemaking community across the nation.
2016 – 2021: PeaceWiseKids and PeaceWiseYouth is created
The next big step was in 2016, when PeaceWise began its ground-breaking work to develop a comprehensive curriculum of biblical peacemaking courses for children of all ages. In 2021, this major project was completed, with four different PeaceWiseKids courses for Primary School and three different PeaceWiseYouth courses for High School and beyond.
2021 and beyond: new logo and tagline, inaugural national peacemaker gathering takes place and PeaceWiseVoice begins
In 2021, PeaceWise held its first ever live and live-streamed gathering of peacemakers – to build community, share vision and embrace God’s call on us to be peacemakers in this world.
We launched our new logo, tagline “building peacemakers for life”, six identifiable ministry arms and new website.
We also began our gentle exploration of what it means to speak hope and peace into the public conversation, under the PeaceWiseVoice ministry arm.
We give enormous thanks to God, as well as all those who have helped us on the journey so far. We feel called to keep pressing in to what he has in store for the ministry going forward – it’s a profoundly humbling and at the same time exhilarating journey!
Why did you name your organisation PeaceWise?
We wanted a name that was evocative of the kind of benefits and blessings that can flow from dealing with conflict in a biblical way, and which encouraged wisdom in conflict situations as a pathway to peace.
In the book of Proverbs, wisdom is talked about as being highly valued and there is a beautiful section that talks about wisdom in this way:
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand, in her left hand are riches and honour.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace. (Proverbs 3:13-17)
Reflecting on this passage, we wanted to bring the connection between wisdom and peace into the ministry’s name.
The “-wise” part of the name also suggests the idea of heading in a particular direction.
And so the name also suggests heading towards peace through applying the wisdom found in God’s word and the example of his son Jesus.
Is PeaceWise part of Peacemaker Ministries?
No – we are our own fully independent Australian ministry. We give thanks for the historical mentoring support which Peacemaker Ministries provided in our early years. Our legal structure is that we are a company limited by guarantee.
How is PeaceWise funded?
PeaceWise’s key funding comes from:
* training events
* partnerships with organisations seeking to build communities of peace
* generous giving from a range of supporters
* PeaceWiseKids and PeaceWiseYouth sales
* resource sales
* fees associated with mediations we administer
PeaceWise is a registered charity with the ATO. We receive no government funding. We are a not for profit Christian ministry.
We are also Standards Council accredited by CMA, so you can be confident in our strong governance structures that any financial support provided will be used wisely.
If we make a specific purpose appeal and some or all of the money raised cannot be applied to the original purpose for reasons beyond our control (for example the appeal is oversubscribed or undersubscribed), it is our policy that the money unable to be used for the original purpose will be used for the general objects of PeaceWise at the discretion of the Board.
How many paid staff does PeaceWise have?
Everyone within PeaceWise does so with a strong servant heart for the ministry of reconciliation in people’s lives. There is an element of sacrificial service involved in being part of the PeaceWise ministry team.
As such, we have only one full time member of staff, which is Catherine Locke, our Office Manager.
Our National Director (Bruce Burgess – 3 days), Chief Operating Officer (Allen Sibley – 3 days), Administration and Finance Officer (Jenny Metcalfe – 2 days), PeaceWiseKids Content and Relationships Manager (Angie Conroy – 2 days) and National Relationships Manager (Wayne Forward – 1 day) all work in other paid roles which support their ability to work for PeaceWise.
All Board members and our Company Secretary donate their time on Board work for no fee.
PeaceWise has many volunteers who give their time across the country, including most notably Li Ai Gamble, who acts in the role of National Training and Conciliations Manager.
Can I book PeaceWise to come and do a training event for my organisation, or is the national training programme the only option?
Yes – you can book us to come to you! Learn more about what’s involved in the PeaceWiseUs section of the website.
Is it cheaper to go to the national training or to organise a dedicated training event?
There are normally significant per individual savings if you book PeaceWise to come to you. Learn more about what’s involved in the PeaceWiseUs section of the website.
I’ve done other training in conflict resolution. Why do I need to do PeaceWise’s courses from the beginning before I can move on?
The short answer…
Many people have found what they have learnt just from the one day Everyday Peacemaking training to be both new and life-changing. It’s simply not to be missed if you truly want to learn how to respond to conflict differently using a genuinely Christian and biblical approach.
The long answer…
The biblical peacemaking principles taught in our introductory training courses are unlike those which appear in secular training, and also differ from those found in most other Christian training as well.
All courses from conflict coaching and above build very specifically upon, and depend on a knowledge of, the principles and skills taught in each prior course. This applies both in terms of the biblical and theological framework supporting what is taught, but ALSO acquiring the skills to use in higher training (eg. for conflict coaching it is vital to understand the concept of ‘idols of the heart’, for mediation it is vital to know how to conflict coach parties in preparation for the joint mediation session etc).
I can’t attend a training session that I registered for – can I obtain a refund?
You can transfer your registration free of charge to another person at anytime before the commencement of the training, as long as the replacement delegate is of the same registration fee level or lower than yourself, they have done any prerequisites for the course which you are registered and full details of the replacement delegate are provided before the training.
Cancellations must be notified in writing to PeaceWise by email or phone. If you send an email, you must confirm by phone with PeaceWise that the email has been received in order for the cancellation to be valid.
Cancellation fees will apply as follows:
• Up to 1 month before the first day of training booked, no charge applies.
• Between 1 month and 1 week before the first day of training booked, 50% of fees will be refunded.
• Unfortunately, if you cancel within 1 week of the first day of training booked we are not able to provide any refund unless exceptional circumstances apply (eg. family bereavement).
Is GST included in your training fees and resource prices and can I get a GST-compliant tax invoice?
I’m interested in becoming a volunteer…
Fantastic, – let’s talk!
There are so many different ways in which people serve within PeaceWise – so let’s explore how we may use your gifts and skills.
Our intention is that we bless our volunteers as much as they bless us – so that it is a mutually beneficial relationship.
If you are interested in volunteering with us, you will need to embrace our Purpose, Core Values, Statement of Faith and Relational Commitments on this page.
If I’ve done mediation training with PeaceWise, can I call myself a “PeaceWise mediator”?
If you do our mediation training, you will be able to use what you have learned immediately in helping others in informal mediation contexts – eg. church, work, family, friends. For certain people who do our training who we see as having particular gifts and aptitude, we may raise with you the possibility of being involved in actual PeaceWise cases either to observe or ultimately to mediate.
However, if you have simply attended our training, you cannot say you are “PeaceWise trained” or “I’m a PeaceWise mediator”. The reason is that this has can give people the impression that you are in some way accredited by PeaceWise, or that a mediation is being administered by PeaceWise, when this is not the case. An analogy might be to attend St John’s first aid training and then to say you were a St John’s aid officer.
We have had some rare cases where parties thought that they had “official” mediators provided by PeaceWise when this wasn’t true, the case went badly, and we were unaware the case was taking place. This damaged our reputation and left the parties badly served by someone without the necessary experience or skills for the case in question. It typically damages the mediator too – because taking a serious case without proper experience and backup can leave a mediator badly affected as well.
So, we want to avoid this outcome for everyone.
If you have only attended training, then the best way is to tell people your actual background and experience. This may include saying you have done a PeaceWise mediation training course, however please do be clear about whether you are operating privately or whether the case is an official case operating under PeaceWise’s supervision.
Can PeaceWise refer me to a Christian mediator?
The PeaceWise mediation referral service that we operate is administered by us and includes us:
* locating (typically) two available mediators we believe will be suitable for the case in question (who have done PeaceWise mediation training and who will therefore apply a biblically based mediation process in helping parties address a conflict situation); and
* administering the mediation process.
In order for us to assess our suitability to assist you for any particular situation, an intake form must be completed. On assessment of the information provided, we prayerfully consider and then decide whether we are able to serve the parties in conflict. Sometimes the cases may be outside our areas of expertise or mediator availability, or we may also consider the case is not suitable for mediation for a variety of reasons.
PeaceWise is integrally involved in the administration of the process commencing from the initial intake, and as part of that a case administration fee and referral fee is provided to PeaceWise, which also supports our ability to continue to run PeaceWise as a not for profit Christian ministry.
Unfortunately, we do not provide a general referral service to Christian mediators working outside of our PeaceWise-administered mediation referral service. This is because we do not have the resources to evaluate the experience or competence of those who are not part of our PeaceWise mediation referral service, or the administrative or mediation processes that they use.
On those occasions where after assessing information provided in the initial enquiry, PeaceWise is not able to assist those in conflict, we will endeavour to suggest alternative sources of support and assistance to you.
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