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Peace Center to present annual
 Peacemaker Awards

(4/24)  The Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice (ICPJ) will present awards to four area Peacemakers on Monday, April 30, at 7 p.m., at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Valentine Hall, Room 206. All are welcome to attend and celebrate the accomplishments of the honorees. Refreshments will be served.

Since 1995, ICPJ has presented annual Peacemaker Awards to local residents who have made a significant contribution to the pursuit of peace, justice, or environmental sustainability. This year, Gail Hull will receive ICPJ’s Lifetime of Peacemaking Award. The 2012 Peacemaker of the Year Award will be given to Athar Rafiq and Dr. Rukhsana Rahman. Also, the peace center will present the William J. Collinge Award to Mary Gemmill.

Gail Hull is being honored especially for her work on the Adams County Human Relations Council, of which she has been a member since it’s founding in 1991. The Council originated in a community response to a Ku Klux Klan presence in the area. Since then, it has helped coordinate the community’s response to incidents of alleged discrimination as well as to promote harmony among different groups. Hull served on the Gettysburg Area School Board from 1997 to 2005, where she defended the Martin Luther King holiday against challenges. Through Gettysburg Presbyterian Church, she has been active in the resettlement of Vietnamese and Bosnian refugees in this community. From this experience above all she learned, she says, “that the whole key to peacemaking is getting to know people as people.”

Athar Rafiq and Dr. Rukhsana Rahman, who are husband and wife, will receive the Peacemaker of the Year Award for their efforts to promote understanding of Islam in our community. Their 2008 pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) inspired the couple to begin speaking to school and community groups to further their understanding of Islam. At Hajj, they renewed their submission (Islam, related to salam, “peace”) to God and their commitment to service of others. They quote the Prophet Muhammad, “None of you is a true believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

In 2010, the ICPJ board of directors established the William J. Collinge Award, named for its original recipient, as a way of expressing deep appreciation for board secretary, Bill Collinge’s leadership and dedicated service to the causes of peace and social justice. The Collinge Award is not presented annually but rather is presented on occasions when ICPJ board members especially wish to recognize extraordinary service.

ICPJ has chosen to present this award for the first time since it’s origination to Mary Gemmill, one of ICPJ’s founding mothers. A registered nurse, Gemmill has done noteworthy community service through the American Red Cross and Menallen Friends Meeting. She is known as “the storytime lady” at the Harbaugh-Thomas Library in Biglerville. Her principal service through ICPJ has been with Peace Camp, a weeklong summer event, sponsored by ICPJ, for children aged 6-12. Gemmill began volunteering with Peace Camp in 2005 and served as co-director or director for three years. Themes of her camps include “Drums, Dances, Drama, and Dreams of Peace” in 2009, “The Color of Peace” in 2010, and “The Lion and the Lamb” in 2011. Her message, she says, is, “Whatever your gift is, you can share it.”

Each Peacemaker Award and the William J. Collinge Award consists of a plaque and a donation of $150 worth of books or other materials in the recipient’s name to the Adams County Library. The donation in honor of Mary Gemmill will be designated for the Biglerville branch.

In 2011, ICPJ’s 25th anniversary, the group presented Peacemaker Awards to Dave Crowner and to Ron and Jill Baird. In addition, the group recognized Elaine Jones, ICPJ’s first President. Nominations for next year’s awards are invited and may be submitted to ICPJ at 334-0752 (message line only) or

ICPJ is a non-profit group based in Gettysburg, working to encourage thinking and action related to peace, social justice and environmental balance. ICPJ is a member organization of Adams Unity Coalition. In addition to the Peacemaker Awards, ICPJ activities include Peace Camp and the Heritage Festival.

For more information about ICPJ activities, visit or contact ICPJ at 334-0752 (message line only) or

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