Background

STAR began as a response to the events of September 11th. Church World Service (CWS) partnered with Eastern Mennonite University’s (EMU) internationally-known Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) to support religious caregivers in the aftermath. STAR conducted its first five-day seminar at EMU in February of 2002.

Eastern Mennonite University

STAR is housed in Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP). Formerly the Conflict Transformation Program, CJP was established in 1994 and is designed to support the personal and professional development of individuals as peacebuilders and to strengthen the peacebuilding capacities of the institutions they serve. CJP houses academic, training, practice and research programs.

The Practice & Training Institute (PTI) of CJP provides direct services, some of which include training, consulting, process design, conciliation, mediation, and action-oriented research. PTI consultants include faculty, staff and others with ties to CJP who, as practitioners and scholars, have broad experience as educators and trainers in conflict transformation and as practitioners of justice and peacebuilding.

Church World Service

Church World Service (CWS), founded in 1946, is the relief, development and refugee assistance ministry of 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican Denominations within the United States. Working in partnership with local organizations in more than 80 countries, CWS supports sustainable self-help development, meets emergency needs, aids refugees and helps address root causes of poverty and powerlessness. CWS provides assistance without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation or gender.

Through assistance comprising technical support, material aid and cash awards, CWS assists partners with a history of accountability, integrity and long-term presence in the countries in which they work. CWS works with indigenous community-based organizations and national and international non-governmental organizations to ensure positive, sustainable changes through development and emergency response systems.


We count poverty of spirit no less important than poverty of riches.
September 11th attacked the spirit;
the STAR Program is a means towards healing that spirit -
building strength both above and beneath the surface.

— Rev. John L. McCullough,
Executive Director and CEO of
Church World Service