Rev. Jennifer Brooks, Lead Facilitator
and “Virtues of Peace” Curriculum Co-Author
I’m a Unitarian Universalist minister currently serving the UU Church at Washington Crossing in Hopewell Township, New Jersey, and co-author (with Maximus Freeman) of the Virtues of Peace practice-and-reflection curriculum.
I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay, and raised by parents who love both water and wilderness. My ancestors were voyageurs, freethinkers, immigrants, revolutionaries. My spirituality is grounded in the beauty of the natural world and a feeling of connection to all that is. With a background in law and international development, I’ve had the opportunity to work with diverse people in multicultural settings to create positive change. The greatest adventures of my life have happened when I was open to new experiences.
My two children and I are, together, a “United Nations family” (Asian-American, African-American, and European-American) (they are both adopted). From the time they were very young, our dinner-table conversations reflected my children’s personal experience with racism and racial identity, leading to talk about morality, ethics, rights, responsibilities, and the risks of making assumptions. Their perspectives have reinforced my commitment to creating justice in the world.
The colorful tapestry of my life informs and energizes my work as a parish minister. I’ve learned the importance of treating people with respect, listening carefully, and trying to spot the way that different “perception filters” create misunderstanding. The most satisfying moment is when people who see things differently begin to understand one another. It may not cause them to agree, but it keeps them working together, keeps them moving toward compassion. Life is a journey, and we’re all traveling in the same “blue boat home.”
Developing ourselves as peaceful beings is an important first step toward a peaceful world. The practice-and-reflection approach of Nantucket Peaceworks leads participants on a voyage of self-discovery and spiritual development. The practice of peace is its own reward.