Karen Armstrong, religious researcher, spurs compassion at Elizabethtown College April 11
April 9, 2018   //   By:   //   Campus & Community, Campus and Community

“Compassion and treating others with kindness is needed now more than ever before,” said David Kenley, director for the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking (CGUP), which is co-sponsor of the annual Ware Lecture on Peacemaking at Elizabethtown College. The Ware Lecture showcases a general positive message, delivered by professionals of their respective fields. From former presidents to Nobel Peace prize winners, the lecture gives a diverse range of topics, which have a broad appeal.

Karen Armstrong, a renown British author, known for her work on the importance of compassion and The Golden Rule, was selected to be the 11th-annual Ware Lecture speaker. Armstrong’s message focuses on “Leading a Compassionate Life.” Her work, such as the Charter for Compassion, focuses on topics of commonalities within major religions. “I think Karen’s research fits in very well with what we try to accomplish with the Ware Lecture. Her work on the Charter for Compassion, interfaith dialogue, her work on empathy is all very much in line with what we do for the Ware Lecture,” said Kenley.

Armstrong, while an author, is also a commentator of Irish catholic descent. She is known for her books on comparative religion. These include “A History of God: The 4,000 – Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam” and “The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism.” Once a Roman Catholic religious sister, she converted to a more liberal Christian denomination. Armstrong attended St. Anne’s College in Oxford, majoring in English, while still part of the convent and left in 1969.

The Ware Lecture will be held in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center on April 11, 2018. The lecture is open to the public and tickets are free, but must be reserved by calling 717-361-4757 or emailing lecturetickets@etown.edu.

“The goal of the lecture is to grow and gain a better understanding of peace—to invite speakers that talk on the subject of peacemaking to fit the mission of the center,” said Kay Wolf, program manager for CGUP. Since 2007, speakers of many mediums have offered the students and campus community knowledge and a significant lesson of peace. Leading up to the event, CGUP has created multiple resources and events to prepare for Armstrong’s arrival to campus, including a a 21-day web series, the purpose of which  is to inspire people to live more compassionately.

“I think we have a nurturing and supportive campus and that needs to be sustained. Regardless of how diverse or different people are from one another,” said Joey Kobus, junior political science major at Elizabethtown. He describes the lecture as “calming and full of knowledge. No matter what you come in thinking, everyone is thoughtful as they leave.  If you are going to attend any lecture, the Ware Lecture is the one.”

“We encourage students to request those tickets, which are available on our website. If the night of the lecture you realize you don’t have a ticket, come to the chapel anyway.”

Author Bio: Cam Wirth is a junior mass communications major with a creative writing minor. He is a member of JayFirm, the student lead public relations firm on campus. He enjoys reading and writing creative fiction in his free time.

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