Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Metro-Urban Institute will host a two-part discussion “Purpose, Power & Peace: Strategies for Change,” March 19 and 21. Keynote speakers are Valerie Dixon, Center for Victims of Violence and Crime and Tim Stevens, Black Political Empowerment Project. The discussions run at 6:00-8:00 p.m. Thurs., March 19 and 8:30 a.m.-noon Sat., March 21.

Many organizations and agencies are working on initiatives to reduce violence, including the faith-based community. All are invited to share details about their efforts to challenge and reclaim the community by any peaceful means necessary in addition to reviewing existing strategies proposed for use.

Valerie Dixon, a native of Pittsburgh, became involved in the critical issues of crime and violence after the tragic death of her son in 2001. She is currently the Restorative Justice Program Coordinator for the Center for Victims of Violence and Crime, co-founder of Divine Intervention Ministries and the executive director of The P.A.C.T. Initiative (Prevent Another Crime Today), an organization she founded. Valerie is a committee member of Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP), the co-convener for the Coalition Against Violence.

Tim Stevens began his journey as a community organizer and leader in the 1970s. He is presently the chairperson of Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP), non-partisan community collaborative launched in 1986. B-PEP and One HOOD hosted a press conference on violence in 2007 which led to the creation of the Coalition Against Violence. The Coalition is credited with writing what many believe to be the most comprehensive set of anti-violence strategies ever identified to impact violence within metropolitan Pittsburgh and beyond. Tim served as the president of the NAACP Pittsburgh Branch for a decade from 1994-2004. In 2003, Tim was the primary author of the NAACP Pittsburgh Unit’s “Plan for Fairness & Equity for Women and Minority Contractors”, which became the basis for the Allegheny County “Executive Action”.

Registration is free for this event. To sign up, call 412-924-1393 or 412-924-1362, e-mail mui@testsite.pts.edu, or visit www.mui-pts.org.

The conversation continues Thurs., April 2 as MUI further explores how those who stand on Holy Ground have the power to help make our communities safer and stronger. Other upcoming MUI events include April 5 “Praise the Presence: a Palm Sunday Celebration (through song or music)” at 3:30 p.m. and May 22 “Celebration of Education” at 6:00 p.m.

Trusting in God as revealed in Jesus Christ of the Holy Spirit, the Metro-Urban Institute encourages inter-disciplinary and inter-faith approaches to solving social problems and reconciling human beings to God and to one another.

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is a graduate professional institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Founded in 1794, the Seminary is located in Pittsburgh, Pa. and approximately 380 students are enrolled yearly in the degree programs. The Seminary prepares leaders who proclaim with great joy God’s message of good news in both word and deed. PTS is rooted in the Reformed history of faithfulness to Scripture and commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.