Training in Nonviolent Activism and Conflict Intervention

Nonviolence and Dr Martin Luther King

When Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968 he left a legacy of Nonviolent activism and writing that represented the heart of the Civil Rights movement. His clearly structured philosophy of nonviolence was developed into a curriculum for training in the models and methods of Kingian nonviolence by two of his co-workers, Dr Bernard Lafayette and David Jehnsen.  Lafayette was with King the night before he died, after he had made his famous “I’ve been to the mountain, I’ve seen the promised land” speech. Talking to Lafayette, King said his next priority was to internationalise and institutionalise nonviolence.  Following Dr King’s death Lafayette was left with a sense of mandate which he carries to this day. He was the founding director of the Centre for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island, and still imparts his considerable experience at the Community Organisers training in nonviolence each year at URI’s Nonviolence Summer Institute.


Training in Nonviolence

The ten hour Introductory Seminar in Kingian Nonviolent Conflict Reconciliation looks at the philosophy and methodology used by Dr King, at lessons from the movement he led from 1954 to 1968; and opens up the possibility of their application to current conflict.

The material includes:   What is nonviolence?    Historical context of Dr Martin Luther Kings leadership in the US Civil Rights movement. Conflict analysis.  Characteristics of Kingian thinking. Six principles of Kings model of nonviolence. The six steps of a Kingian nonviolence campaign. Developing non violence as a life commitment

The course involves reading and reviewing together two of Kings works:  Pilgrimage to nonviolence and Letter from Birmingham Jail

Practical Application:  King’s first principle of nonviolence says it all: ‘Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.’ Kingian nonviolence is not an approach to be taken lightly and those seeking to be involved should both count the cost and ensure they are properly prepared. The Introductory Seminar lays the groundwork for such an evaluation   On Sunday morning we will explore together the realities of nonviolent intervention in the face of aggression &violence, and practicalities of developing nonviolent action.

The course is offered by St Marys Centre for Peace and Reconciliation. The centre seeks to promote peace and reconciliation, while empowering people to live positively in multicultural and diverse communities. We respond to needs in communities by developing creative and innovative programmes that build peace, develop understanding and train people in the required skills and the aptitudes to live a peaceable life. The centre is based at St Mary’s Church, the 900 year old parish church in Luton’s town centre. It works closely with churches of all denominations across Luton, with the Muslim community and mosques as well as other faith groups in Luton, with Luton Borough Council and Bedfordshire Police.  The Centre has evolved out of our experience of the past eight years working for the peace of Luton, as well as work in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world.     Twitter:  @stmaryspeace


Your trainers:

Peter Adams has worked in community peacebuilding based at St Mary’s, Luton’s town centre parish church, for the past twelve years. His focus during that time has been working to understand the narrative and challenge the influence of extremist groups in the town, especially on the far right; to build cross community resilience especially between Muslims and Christians; and intervene with those drawn to extremist groups. He brings this experience to his interaction with the work of Dr King. He was trained to deliver training in nonviolence and community organising by Dr Lafayette and David Jehnsen at the University of Rhode Island. He is the founding Director of St Marys Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.

Twitter:   @petergmadams


Lisa Cummings.    Lisa works as Programme Manager with Turning The Tide, a Quaker programme working alongside people to explore hopes, ideas and collective power to undertake imaginative, nonviolent action for positive social change.  From 2003 until 2016 she developed and coordinated the PPC PeaceHub, a peace network rooted in Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. The  work included facilitating public conversations, ‘difficult’ dialogues & supporting community led peacebuilding. She then spent a brief spell at the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation before moving to TTT.

Twitter:  @lisadialogue


We hope to have short video links with David Jehnsen, associate of Dr King and one of the founders of the training programme, and Dr Samuel Sarpiya, a Nigerian pastor who has worked extensively training police in nonviolence in the USA.  



Date:   8.00pm on Friday 25th October to 12.00noon on Sunday 27th October 2019

Location:  St Marys Church in Luton town centre.  St Marys is a ten minute walk from Luton Railway station, and 5-10 minutes from the M1 junction 10.   St Marys Church, Church Street, Luton LU1 3JF

Cost: The cost, including course materials, lunch and dinner Saturday, and refreshments is £50.00 per person.

Accomodation: We recommend staying at the Premiere Inn Luton Airport on Osborne Rd LU1 3HJ, about 10 minutes walk from the church. 

For further information or to book please contact:

Peter Adams