The 50th Anniversary of Action Reconciliation Service of Peace in the United States


1968 was a year that gave its name to a generation.  On both sides of the Atlantic, events unfolded which resonate to this day.  Leaders like Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. still spoke to the hopes of millions for peace and justice.  Their violent deaths fed a despair that these things remained beyond our grasp. In Eastern Europe, the Prague Spring sent the first shoots of hope for freedom there, and in Germany, young men and women confronted their parents and grandparents about their roles in a Nazi Germany that was barely 20 years in the past.

Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) was 10 years old and had already developed its unique blend of confronting the past, serving the victims of German fascism, and taking action in the present.  In 1968, this meant accepting the invitation of American Peace Churches to serve with them in the United States and fight the poverty, racism, and a legacy of war. In 1983, it meant serving in the Jewish community, building bridges, fighting anti-Semitism, and serving the survivors of the Holocaust.

In 2018, the world and ARSP has come a long way.  And yet, new problems emerge even as we confront at the polling place and in the streets echoes from a past we had hoped was gone forever.

We want to welcome you – friends and partners, current and former volunteers to this, our 50th Anniversary Celebration.  We hope that this will be a weekend to celebrate the past, but more importantly to consider where we are going on both sides of the Atlantic as friends, involved citizens, and as part of an organization committed to setting a sign for justice and peace today. 

Dr. Dagmar Pruin, Thomas Heldt, Mark McGuigan

Summary of Final Program

Friday, October 5, 2018

  • 6:00pm – Opening Reception and Welcome // with support of the German Consulate General, New York

Saturday, October 6, 2018

  • 9:00am – Registration for the Anniversary Gathering
  • 9:00am – 5:00pm – Anniversary Gathering - Main Speakers, Lunch, and Breakouts Sessions // Venue: Jewish Community Center Manhattan (334 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023) Speakers, short films and interactive discussion and about the past, present and future of ARSP, the meaning of service to its volunteers and partners and the issues we face today as we move forward in building a society that celebrates diversity.
  • 7:00pm – Dinner and Anniversary Party // Venue: German Lutheran Church of St. Paul’s (315 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10011)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

  • 10:30am - Church Service followed by Coffee and Cake // Venue: German Lutheran Church of St. Paul’s (315 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10011)
  • 2:00pm – Witness Theater: A New Documentary Film // Venue: Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (130 W 30th St, New York, NY 10001) Screening of a new film from ARSP partner Selfhelp Community Services about surviving the Holocaust and teaching the youngest generation about the past through the innovative “Witness Theater” program.