At the time of their retirement from ministry with Lamar, Indiana congregations of Trinity UCC and St. Peter UCC, the congregations, communities, family and friends of Rev. Paul “Chip” and Mrs. Gayle Morley Jahn wish to honor them with a gift to Eden Theological Seminary to establish:
The Chip and Gayle Morley Jahn Endowment Fund for Just Peace
Rev. Paul “Chip” and Gayle Morely Jahn served with Trinity and St. Peter’s United Church of Christ since Chip’s graduation from Eden Theological Seminary in 1979 until retirement at the end of 2021. Early in that 42-year-ministry, Chip and Gayle developed a ministry working with the community’s domestic batterers program. They learned how violence has a pervasive impact that reaches far into the community and across generations. Through the local program, Crisis Connection, the church parsonage was, for years, a safe house for women and children leaving a violent partner.
In 1989, the Indiana Kentucky Conference UCC (IKC UCC) entered a partnership with a church in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was embroiled in a civil war between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. On behalf of the conference, Chip travelled to Sri Lanka to meet with church partners. Those partners asked the IKC UCC to be an international voice of justice and peace around this conflict that had drawn little attention beyond their borders. Conversations began with Susan Thistlethwaite and Glenn Stassen, two leading figures creating a new paradigm of Just Peacemaking. With Chip’s leadership, the IKC UCC organized advocacy around the just peace practices laid out in their writings. These practices eventually formed the content of a training program for the Liberation Tigers’ peace negotiation team. The IKC UCC wrote the Sri Lanka peace resolution passed by the United States Senate in 2002. The conference continued as a conduit of communication between the warring parties and the U.S. State Department. In 2009, as the war was coming to an end, President Obama used materials developed by the IKC UCC to call the Tigers and Government to minimize civilian casualties.
Chip and Gayle led Trinity and St. Peter’s in using Just Peace for a wide range of mission and ministries, both local and global. Just Peace practices of engagement were used to overcome suspicions and prejudices of a Latin American community brought to Southern Indiana by a poultry factory. The congregation drew upon Just Peace in responding to 9/11 (2001), working with a Muslim community in Niger to dig wells. The churches’ sewing group, Sew-Be-It, has made over a thousand washable feminine hygiene kits that make it possible for girls and women in Kenya to stay in school and work outside their homes.
Through Chip and Gayle’s leadership, the churches partnered with an international graduate of Eden Seminary who creates economic opportunities in Christian and Muslim villages in Nigeria, lessening tensions between the two religious communities. The churches’ grade school youth group, the Young Disciples, talk about Just Peace as they partner with Southern Indiana homeless programs. All ages and groups in the churches have engaged just peace practices in their ministries in one form or another.
The Chip and Gayle Morley Jahn Endowment Fund for Just Peace recognizes the interest of the Jahn family to establish an academic home for Just Peace at Eden Seminary.