Building Dialogue: Stories, Scripture, and Liturgy in International Peacebuilding

edited by Robert S. Heaney and John Y.H. Yieh with Jean A. Cotting

“Building Dialogue is a welcome and significant resource for peacebuilders and people of faith…”

-The Most Revd. Dr. Hosam E. Naoum
Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem and Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

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About the Book

Building Dialogue is intended as an aide to inter-contextual analysis of conflict and practices of peace. This book emerges from inter-cultural relationships and discernment. Based on a three-year effort by a community of scholars and practitioners from across the Anglican Communion who reflected on the nature of conflict in relation to Christian visions of peace.


“If ever there was a time to reflect on peacemaking and ways to accomplish it, it is in our day of political, cultural polarization, and a new threat of Empire expansion and global destruction. Richly theological and wonderfully practical, Building Dialogue offers the wisdom of grassroots peacebuilders who not only share their peacemaking experiences but provide concrete models for reconciliation in other situations of conflict.”

— Stephen B. Bevans, SVD, Louis J. Luzbetak, SVD Professor of Mission and Culture, Emeritus, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago.

Building Dialogue is an embodied analysis and reflection on conflict and peacebuilding, with a particular emphasis on Africa and Palestine. Each of the contributors writes from within a specific context, of specific forms of conflict, and about specific processes of peacebuilding. However, their common Anglican identity, their shared embrace of scripture, and their commitment to inter-contextual, inter-cultural, and inter-textual dialogue – profoundly racticed in the book’s “Conclusion” – demonstrate that dialogue is indeed possible across particularity. The book is rich in biblical, theological, and practical resources for the many others of us who yearn to build peace through building dialogue.

— Gerald West, Professor Emeritus, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

“This is a compelling read that provides not only a Scriptural basis but also narrates the painful realities of the lived experience of the need for reconciliation. This collection of accessible articles from varied contexts around the Anglican Communion presents theological insights and practical suggestions to help any individual or community wanting to work towards peace and reconciliation.”

— Canon Dr. Cathy Ross Ph.D, Pioneer Mission Training Lead, Church Mission Society, Oxford.

Building Dialogue provides readers with a basic course in peacebuilding, showing why doing this work in places of conflict is theologically necessary, demonstrating how it has led to change where that seemed impossible, and providing instruction for individuals and groups seeking to take up this work in their own contexts. Even more, it actually performs the kind of dialogue it advocates, being the result of years of active dialogue across difference and bringing together voices expressing numerous perspectives from regions throughout the globe. Anyone wishing to bring about a more peaceful world through dialogue will learn something helpful from this highly readable volume—and will be inspired by it, too.

— Scott MacDougall, Associate Professor of Theology, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and author of The Shape of Anglican Theology: Faith Seeking Wisdom.

By thoughtfully weaving in scripture, experience, and practice in peacebuilding, Building Dialogue offers a fresh Christian perspective on the significance of pursuing reconciliation, restoration of trust and healing of broken communities. Offering powerful practical insights, Building Dialogue not only captures the challenges and frustrations of peacebuilding in complex conflict situations, but takes us on a hope-filled pilgrimage towards Shalom.

— The Rev. Canon Dr. Anderson H.M. Jeremiah, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University.

Publication Details 

Seabury Books
(July 19, 2022)
248 pages
ISBN-13: ‎

About the Author

R-Heaney staff headshot photo

The Rev. Robert S. Heaney, Ph.D., D.Phil., is Professor of Theology and Mission, Virginia Theological Seminary. He is author of Post-Colonial Theology: Finding God and Each Other Amidst the Hate (2019) and, with William L. Sachs, The Promise of Anglicanism (2019).

yieh staff headshot photo

Prof. Yieh earned his PhD in Religious Studies specializing in New Testament from Yale University, and his research focuses on the Gospel of Matthew and the Johannine Literature from the vantage of sociological and history-of-effects approaches. He is also interested in the history and hermeneutics of Chinese biblical interpretation.

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Faculty Scholarship at VTS

Virginia Theological Seminary is the flagship seminary of the Episcopal Church. Founded in 1823, VTS faculty prepare leaders from around the world for both ordained and lay service in the Church. Our faculty are a diverse community of scholars who are committed to excellence in teaching and research. Through publications, public speaking, and travel, faculty engage with the wider Church and world, while shaping the next generation of leaders.

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