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Jim Forest (born 2 November 1941) is a writer, lay theologian, educator, peace activist. Since 1989, a year after his reception into the Orthodox Church, he has been international secretary of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship as well as editor of its quarterly journal, In Communion. In 1964, while still a Roman Catholic, he was a founder of the Catholic Peace Fellowship. In the late sixties and mid-seventies, he also worked with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, first as Vietnam Program coordinator and later as editor of Fellowship magazine. From 1977 through 1988, he was Secretary General of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, work which brought him to the Netherlands. He received the Peacemaker Award from Notre Dame University’s Institute for International Peace Studies and the St. Marcellus Award from the Catholic Peace Fellowship.
As a young man, Jim served in the U.S. Navy, working with a meteorology unit at the U.S. Weather Bureau headquarters near Washington, D.C.. It was during this period that he became a Roman Catholic. His military service ended with an early discharge on grounds of conscientious objection. 1.
After leaving the Navy, Jim joined the staff of the Catholic Worker community in Manhattan, working close with the founder, Dorothy Day, and for a time serving as managing editor of the journal she edited, The Catholic Worker.
In 1964, while working as a journalist for The Staten Island Advance, in his spare time he began the Catholic Peace Fellowship, working closely with Tom Cornell. This became a full-time job for both of them in 1965, a time that coincided with deepening U.S. military engagement in Vietnam. The main focus of their work was counseling conscientious objectors. 2.
In 1968, while Jim working as Vietnam Program Coordinator of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Jim and thirteen others, mainly Catholic clergy, broke into nine Milwaukee draft boards, removing and burning some of the files in a nearby park while holding a prayer service. Most members of the "Milwaukee Fourteen" served thirteen months in prison for their action. 3.
Jim had a long-term friendship with Thomas Merton, who dedicated a book to him. 4 . Jim also accompanied the famed Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. 5.6.
A journalist and writer, his books include Praying with Icons, Ladder of the Beatitudes, The Road to Emmaus: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life, biographies of Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day, and several children's books, including Silent as a Stone: Mother Maria of Paris and the Trash Can Rescue.
He and his wife Nancy, a translator and writer, live in Alkmaar, Netherlands, parents of six children and grandparents of five.
- Confession: Doorway to Forgiveness. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002. (ISBN 1570753865)
- The Ladder of the Beatitudes. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1999. (ISBN 1570752451)
- Living with Wisdom: A Life of Thomas Merton. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1991. (ISBN 088344755X)
- Love is the Measure: A Biography of Dorothy Day. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1994. (ISBN 0883449420)
- "Introduction," Mother Maria Skobtsova: Essential Writings. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2003. (ISBN 1570754365)
- Praying with Icons. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1997. (ISBN 1570751129)
- The Resurrection of the Church in Albania. World Council of Churches, 2002. (ISBN 2825413593)
- Road to Emmaus: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2007. (ISBN 1570757313)
- The Wormwood File: E-Mail from Hell. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2004. (ISBN 157075554X)
- A Short Biography of Jim Forest http://incommunion.org/articles/conferences-lectures/jim-forest-bio
- "Getting From there to Here," an autobiographical biographical essay by Jim Forest