Table of Contents

Jaye Starr, Ann Arbor, Michigan (English)

Greetings of Peace,

The sticker I am holding here says it all: standing on the side of love. This is what I try to do in my daily life. (Photo credit: Jaye Starr - it involved a mirror and some acrobatics)

My name is Jaye and I’ve come to Indonesia from America for four months to study at the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies. This is an inter-faith graduate program supported by three schools in Jogjakarta: Universitas Gadjah Mada, the State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga and Duta Wacana Christian University. My studies here are a part of my Master’s degree from Hartford Seminary in Islamic Studies/Christian-Muslim Relations and a Graduate Certificate in Chaplaincy. After I graduate I hope to bring my knowledge of Islam and the skills of chaplaincy into my work with communities impacted by disaster and armed conflict living in the United States.

I was drawn to Indonesia for the opportunity to learn about the Muslim women’s movement here, different approaches to building peace between Christians and Muslims, and some of the Islamic tools used for healing individuals and communities in the aftermath of disasters and violence.

My family is a multi-religious and multi-cultural one. Growing up I learned to appreciate our differences as well as our common ground. Home for me will always be on the family farm I grew up on surrounded by my cousins in Upstate New York, but when I return to the United States, I will be building a new home-away-from-home with my husband, a federal prison chaplain, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There we will look to build a new community of friends who share our ethic of care for one another and we hope that this group, like those we leave behind, will be a diverse one of many faiths that we might learn from one another.

This displays the transformative power of a closely connected family. There is much we do not agree about but we commit to loving each other though all of it. This is a portion of my maternal and paternal cousins who were able to come for my wedding held on our a family farm in Upstate NY. (Photo credit: Kim Lockwood)

Having taken a break for graduate school, I look forward to resuming my Red Cross volunteer activities in Ann Arbor teaching youth and adults about International Humanitarian Law and helping maintain communications between families separated from armed conflict and disaster. I also hope to volunteer with programing at the local refugee resettlement center and get involved with local interfaith relations work. After many years living in many places, I am excited to grow a garden again and invite some chickens to live in it.

When I am not studying I love to teach juggling, read, walk down unknown roads and make

These are three extraordinary peace-builders who have inspired me since the day we met years ago at a capacity building training for young activists in Romania. Not present is our friend Vicky, an Indonesian Catholic who first taught me about the field of trauma healing and instilled an early love for this beautiful country - she was having a baby! (Photo credit: Kim Lockwood)

art. Right now I am trying to learn Indonesia and Arabic but when I return home I will be focusing on Turkish and Kurdish, my husband’s first languages. I am thirty one so we are hoping to start a family soon – my goal is to be able to speak enough of each language so that I’ll know what my kids, should we be blessed with them, are talking about. I also look forward to talking to my in-laws with more than just smiles and hugs (though we do that very well).

I am blessed to have met Nadine back in Upstate New York and delighted to find that she will be back in Indonesia facilitating workshops while I am here. I look forward to leaning from her and the rest of the team – both the facilitators and the participants.

Blessings,

Jaye Starr

 

Jan 2014