Social Action Office

Please note: As of 16 June 2008 this site will not be updated again until February 2009 as the SAO web manager is on sabbatical. To stay up to date with events and information, please subscribe to SAO Bytes (if you haven't done so already) by going to the Publications page.


Pace E Bene Australia Gathering 2008

Pace e Bene logoThe Pace E Bene Australia Gathering 2008 with the theme Engaging Nonviolence – Deep Listening to the Spirit will be held in Adelaide from Thursday 6 November to Sunday 9 November. For details contact Carole Powell, National Committee Member, Pace e Bene Australia on (07) 5498 5247 or


John Dear SJProphetic Voices
The Wisdom of Nonviolence:
Developing a Culture of Peace

Fr John Dear SJ in conversation
in Brisbane

On Wednesday 28 February 2007 Fr John Dear spoke on Jesus and the Way of Nonviolence and then joined in conversation with Professor Toh Swee-Hin
and Dr Anne Hickling-Hudson. The conversation was facilitated by David Busch.

To be a peace-maker means placing the God of peace at the centre of our lives, as the goal of our journey, as the measure of all we do. Nonviolence becomes a way of life, a journey of peace to the God of peace.

Fr John Dear and others

Pictured after the Jesus and the Way of Nonviolence Conversation are (back):
David Busch, Angela Ballard (SAO), John Dear SJ,
and (front): Toh Swee-Hin, Anne Hickling-Hudson, Carole Powell (Pace e Bene)

On Thursday 1 March 2007 a day retreat and workshop was held with Fr John and others exploring The Road to Peace: the Way of Nonviolence, Jesus and Interfaith Dimension.

Following in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, John invited the group to consider nonviolence as a way of life as described in the teachings and life of Jesus. In the morning John offered presentations, lead discussions and facilitated time for prayerful reflection and community building. The afternoon program included a creative participatory activity designed by Toh Swee-Hin and Virginia Cawagas on peace education which integrated interfaith perspectives on issues of local/global justice and sustainability. This was co-facilitated by John, Swee-Hin, Virginia and staff from the SAO. The day concluded with synthesis and reflection from John. Below are some photos from the day:

Peace Workshop Peace Workshop
Peace Workshop Peace Workshop
Peace Workshop Peace Workshop

John Dear is a Jesuit priest, peace activist and the author of 25 books including Living Peace, Jesus the Rebel, The God of Peace, Mohandas Gandhi, Mary of Nazareth - Prophet of Peace, The Questions of Jesus, and Disarming the Heart. He served as director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the US; led a delegation of Nobel Peace Prize winners to Iraq; served as Red Cross coordinator of Chaplains in New York City after September 11; and has been arrested over 75 times in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience to protest US warmaking. He currently lives in New Mexico where he leads a campaign to close Los Alamos where they build all US nuclear weapons. For further information, see

John’s visit to Brisbane was sponsored by Pace e Bene Australia
and supported by the Social Action Office
(Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes Qld)

Roads to Peace

When so much suffering caused through violence is broadcast into our homes from around the globe (and massive conflicts in places like the Congo go unreported) I am reminded of something that Mother Theresa and Jean Vanier once exhorted an audience to do with regards to peace – it must start with each of you, in your own hearts and homes. This is the challenge of our times, to begin the path to peace within ourselves and our small communities so that such conflict does not take hold of our hearts.

The SAO Peace Circle came together to see what practical initiatives we could support to facilitate the growth of peace in our communities and some wonderful opportunities have presented themselves to us in the forms of Brendan McKeague and Fr John Dear. In collaboration with partners Pace e Bene and the Toowoomba CJPC and with the kind support of the Mercy Foundation, the SAO was able to put on two workshops in October 2006 in Brisbane and Toowoomba exploring non-violence and paths to peace. Facilitator Brendan McKeague is well known in Australia and the Engage program is designed to build understandings in ourselves and capacities to build peace in our communities.

In late February 2007 Fr John Dear, renowned Jesuit peace activist and writer, was in Brisbane for a couple of public events (see above).

Angela Ballard
for the SAO Peace Circle


Landmines Campaign

ICBL LogoIn late 2004 the Social Action Office once again took on the southern Queensland coordination of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines - Australian Network. In 2006 Brian and Kate Garrone became the new contact people for the Landmine Campaign in SEQ: Phone (07) 3327 2202; Email

Click here for a Landmine Fact Sheet (pdf document) produced by the Social Action Office.

Landmines Campaign Links:


Peace Resources

On the Pax Christi News website there are good Resources for Prayer, Study and Action on the issue of Peacemaking.

Other good resources on the issue of peacemaking include:

Other websites worth checking out:

Click here to read why Pope John Paul II said NO TO WAR.


Please email us with suggested good resources that you know of
around the issue of peace.


Click here to go to the Peace Archived Page


Go to Home PageSocial Action OfficeGo to top of page
Social Action Office
© Social Action Office - CLRIQ, Brisbane Australia