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About Samuel Sarpiya
Samuel Kefas Sarpiya is the lead pastor and church planter of Rockford Community Church (IL/WI District) and the co-founder Center for Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation, Rockford Illinois. As a church planter and community organizer, Samuel is passionate about the intersection between peacemaking and the gospels as taught by Jesus Christ. He also has training in the principles of Kingian nonviolence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s which inspires Samuel’s continued conviction for practical peacemaking.
Drawing from Jesus’ teaching on nonviolence and peace; as a pastor, Samuel is making his pastoral presence by impacting the Rockford school systems, by training the local Rockford police department’s command staff and management in nonviolent principles. With several community partners, Samuel has developed The Mobile Tech Lab and the Mobile Art Lab in Rockford IL was also first established as educational community hub with a modern twist for at-risk youths in Rockford IL to provide mentorship, teach nonviolence and productive skill sets for the future. These Mobile Labs naturally tap into a child’s curiosity to explore their potential passions and plant seeds of greatness in them. These skills are important to open opportunities for socioeconomic development in communities that have long trends of violence by breaking the chains of poverty and hopelessness. The Mobile Tech Lab has recently launched a Coding Boot Camp in it proving once again what has morphed into something much bigger than once imagined.
Samuel has developed this idea to include the International Mobile Libraries Project with the Nigerian Brethren. The International Mobile Library Project was first established to help children as an educational community hub in impoverished areas of Nigeria. It has become much more and is now being utilized in several Internally Displaced camps in Nigeria to provide some comfort to the countless displaced victims affected by Boko Haram’s atrocities. This builds on Samuel’s experiences working with Urban Frontiers Mission (UFM), Youth with a Mission (YWAM) serving as a missionary around the world since 1994.
For his local and international work, Samuel received the 2016 Jane Addams Peace award from the Rockford Housing Authority in 2016. Samuel is a graduate of the University of Jos, Nigeria with a Diploma in Social Work and holds a Master's of Divinity in Conflict Transformation from Bethany Theological Seminary. Samuel is currently a Doctoral candidate in Semiotics and Future Studies at George Fox University, in Portland Oregon. Samuel is married to Gretchen Sarpiya and they are blessed with three beautiful girls, Anna 14, Ella Joy 12, and Deborah 10. Their multicultural family has roots in Nigeria and South Africa, has lived in Hawaii.
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