There are few things in life that require more skill and wisdom than peacemaking. We might hope that peacemaking among people of deep religious faith would be easier, but often, it’s harder, as prejudices and misconceptions are held as a matter of faith. Jeff Burns demonstrates extraordinary skill and wisdom as a peacemaker, especially among people of faith – bringing them together not to hide or minimize their differences, but to find common ground and common values that can turn differences into gifts. — Brian D. McLaren, author/speaker/activist (brianmclaren.net)
There are few people who can connect with an audience or a community like Dr. Jeff Burns. While many may have a wealth of knowledge on the subject of interfaith dialogue, Dr. Burns’ personal experience, relationships and ability to communicate in ways that bridges what divides is a much needed gift in a polarizing world. — Porter Speakman, Jr. – Director/Producer “With God On Our Side”
Power, passion and brilliance are but a few words that describe Dr. Jeff Burns’ successful work forging unique common ground among diverse faiths. Jeff is undaunted in offering a fresh paradigm in “true” peace and presenting practical steps to his spellbound audiences how to practically realize it in our individual and corporate lives. He epitomizes the notion of a “peace maker” and the world is blessed to have a man of his caliber at its service. — Mark Siljander, former Congressman, President of Bridges To Common Ground, Author/ International Peacemaker
Dr. Burns is a true son of God. Jesus said that the peacemakers would be called the sons of God. What Jeff does is unique, incredible and unfortunately quite rare. He gets Muslims and Christians together. Even the most conservative of both groups – in the same room. Eating together. Thinking, laughing even praying together. Amazing. I can’t think of anything, or anyone, more important in our post 9/11 world than this!
Dr. Burns is an incredible communicator of the ways of Jesus. He shares stories of bringing Muslims, Christians and Jews together in ways you can’t imagine that will inspire the heart and challenge the mind. If you have the opportunity to bring Jeff in to speak – do it. — Carl Medearis, Author/Peacemaker
I witnessed first-hand how Dr. Jeff Burns built coalitions among so many diverse constituencies here in Raleigh, North Carolina – between Christians and Muslims, these communities and Jewish people, house church folks and ‘steeple-church’ congregations…in short, Jeff is a true minister of reconciliation of whose ilk I’ve rarely witnessed. His disarming friendliness and passion for creating unlikely friendships is hard to ignore. You just might find yourself joining in! — Mike Morrell, Journalist/ Futurist; http://mikemorrell.org; http://buzzseminar.com
A sense of divine calling permeates the life and ministry of Dr. Jeff Burns. Jeff is a master storyteller and a creative thinker. His passion for peace between Christians, Muslims and Jews is contagious. It was an honor having him in the Peace Catalyst community family and a joy to call him friend. — Rick Love, Author, President of Peace Catalyst International, Arvada, CO
My name is Senad Agic. I am the Imam of American Islamic Center – Chicago, former Imam of Islamic Cultural Center of Greater Chicago for over 20 years, the founder and former Head Imam of the Bosnian’s National Islamic Organization in N. America, and Professor of Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Foundation.
I met Jeffrey Burns about five years ago when he actively helped the members of the Village Presbyterian Church of Northbrook to reach out to the Islamic Cultural Center of Greater Chicago in order to open dialogue and establish friendly ties with its members. For the last five years, thanks to Jeffrey, we have developed deep and lasting relationship with the members of the Church. Jeffrey Burns was an outstanding leader in this endeavor.
In recent years on the suggestion of Jeffrey Burns, a member of the Village Presbyterian Church of Northbrook and I have attended the Presidential Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC with President Obama and other political and religious leaders in our country.
If everyone in the communities of God’s religion understood our common ground like Jeffrey, and tried to establish peace, tolerance, and patience, that alone would bring peace to the world. — Imam Senad Nadira Agic, American Islamic Center, Chicago, IL
I once spoke with some representatives of the American Muslim community about the relationship between them and Evangelicals. One said, “We do not know any Evangelicals that love us.” Another even said, “We only know that they hate us.”
They certainly have never met Jeffrey Burns! Jeff is a bright light in the Evangelical world who not only takes Jesus’ words to “Love your neighbor as yourself” seriously, but also “Love your enemies”. He is a living example of what happens when these commands of Jesus are obeyed. He is a blessing to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian community. He shows a balance in being loving and speaking the truth in love to all three. It is my wish that his example will inspire many Evangelicals as he inspired me. — Abraham Meulenberg, People of Peace Incorporated, Lake Forest, CA
I have known Jeff Burns for over five years. We are kindred spirits in peacemaking and reconciliation. I consider him a close brother and friend for life. He is one of my interfaith and prayer partners.
Jeff is committed to bridge building, peacemaking and genuine friendship between Muslims and Christians. He has been to Chicago many times to facilitate and encourage progressive interfaith dialogue and partnerships for the common good of all between Muslims and Christians.
I invited Jeff to speak at the Muslim American Society annual convention in Chicago in 2009. He shared the story of how God used a little Muslim boy named Omar to change his heart from hating Muslims to loving them as brothers and sisters. This story of Omar and how God changed his Jeff’s heart through this little child has endeared him to many Muslims I associate with in the Chicago area.
I recommend Jeff as a speaker and consultant to any synagogue, church or mosque that is serious about beginning the journey of progressive dialogues, peacemaking, reconciliation, and partnering together for the common good of all between Muslims, Christians, Jews and all people of faith and/or good will who want to create a better world of peace and understanding.” — Imam Abdel Azim M. Elsiddig, President of Bridges Program, Chicago, IL
It is with great pleasure that I recommend Dr. Jeffrey Burns. I have known him for over 8 years.
Jeff has always displayed a high degree of integrity, responsibility, and ambition. He is definitely a leader rather than a follower. In addition to his excellent scholastic accomplishments, he has proven his leadership ability as a person of faith, bridge builder between Muslims and Christians. I personally worked with him and participated in various interfaith activities and find him most dependable, trustworthy and a team player. His good judgment and mature outlook ensure a logical and practical approach to his endeavors.
Jeff helped the Muslim Community in general and particularly the Islamic Association of Raleigh (IAR) and worked closely with myself and others in MAPAC (Muslim American Public Affairs Council). For instance he championed the MAPAC publications IQRAA and he wrote valuable articles in each of its proceedings. His published articles helped significantly in bridging the gap and in increasing the mutual understanding between the people of Faiths.
Dr. Burns would be an asset to any organization, and I am happy to give him my wholehearted endorsement. — Mohamed M. Elgamal, MBA, PhD/ President of MAPAC (Muslim American Public Affairs Council)
Jeff Burns is a true servant of God, a brilliant orator, and a person who I am grateful to call my friend. We met in the course of his work with Peace Catalyst International, an organization committed to building bridges between Christians and those of other faiths. A few months ago, he preached eloquently and inspiringly to my congregation, receiving rave reviews and numerous requests for a return engagement. He also worked hand-in-hand with interfaith leaders to successfully build a home for a struggling family under the auspices of Habitat for Humanity. Jeff has consistently been a loving, open-hearted person, deeply invested in building connections with all of God’s people. In short, Jeff is changing the world through his work. May he continue to be blessed! — Rabbi Eric M. Solomon, Beth Meyer Synagogue, Raleigh, NC
I have known Jeff as a friend and as a visionary leader whom I worked with for several years in Raleigh, NC.
Jeff’s vision for peacemaking was not only theoretical, but also practical. He was able to translate his vision, and his passion for peacemaking into actual programs that brought people of different faith traditions together, discussing what they have in common, as opposed to what separates them.
Jeff was the brain, and the muscle behind dialogue programs like the Community of Reconciliation that brought together people of different faiths for a period of almost a year, discussing their lives and what unites them. His model of dialogue was actually replicated 4 or 5 times with different groups in the Triangle area in the past two years.
Moreover, Jeff helped with volunteer programs across multiple faiths, like the Abraham Build of Habitat for Humanity of Wake County. In fact the effort that Jeff started remained as a working legacy after he left the area to pursue his studies. His work and legacy was continued by other committed people of the same organization that Jeff belongs to and shares his vision with, Peace Catalyst International, PCI. I am still engaged with PCI’s staff and volunteers in Raleigh expanding on the vision that Jeff started and we are now starting different volunteer programs led by a group of Muslims, Christians and Jews. — Iyad Hindi, Muslim leader, Apex Mosque, Apex, NC
Jeff Burns has the unique combination of intellect and relational intelligence to engage people from Christian, Muslim and Jewish backgrounds while using the principles and teachings of Jesus, Isa and Yeshua. He uses a combination of story, humor and thought provoking questions to reach into people’s hearts and minds. God is using his knowledge of both the complexities and nuances of the political and religious divides to bridge the three Abrahamic faiths in a Jesus honoring and loving way. — Dr. Hythem Shadid, peacemaker and Orthopedic Surgeon, Wheaton, IL
I have the pleasure of knowing Jeff Burns for the past 10 years and it has been a beautiful friendship of understanding and strong ties. I found him to be an outright, straightforward, honest “broker of peace” with an outstanding character and easy mannerism.
I have always been very intrigued by the story of his turning point from hatred to love and respect for Islam and Muslims following his sincere prayers for guidance. Going from the most recent activities to all the way back such as the Community of Reconciliation for the past 2 years, in which small groups of people from Christian and Islamic faiths meet in a very cordial and respectful manner following the guidelines given by Jeff Burns. These guidelines have taught the two communities a way to dialogue for a better understanding of the two faiths and more importantly how these two large communities can learn to co-exist in peace and harmony. These groups have come together not only sharing ideas but meals in each other’s homes and also working together for common good.
Jeff Burns was our first choice when we needed a balanced perspective on Islam and Muslims in important events such as the “Timbuktu Exhibition”, “IAR – Open house”, etc. He has authored many articles in Muslim magazines especially focusing on the historical commonalities and traditions in the scriptures.
We look forward to working with him to advance our mutual understanding and cooperation to give his program a global perspective. I wish him success in his current and future endeavors. — Fiaz Fareed, The Chair Person for the Outreach Committee at the Islamic Association of Raleigh, NC
In every way, Jeff is the real deal… a man of integrity and faith who, through his passion and humility, is making a true difference in our world today. Centuries of theological, cultural and political misunderstandings have caused a vast chasm of distrust and war between Muslims, Christians and Jews. Dr. Jeff Burns has been sent by The One True God for such a time as this.
Jeff stands in the gape between the descendants of Abraham and
without compromise proclaims the message of Jesus the Messiah. The Message
of peace, mutual respect and joyful brotherhood which has the power to
revolutionize the world. I am honored to call Dr. Jeff my brother and
friend as we strive together, through the very strength of the God of
Abraham, Isaac, Ismael and Jacob to bring love, joy and peace into a torn
and needy world. We can and must stand as one! Jeff Burns is the man who
is leading the way for all of us. — Dr. David M. McCullum, Peacemaker in Middle East
Jeff is winsome, sincere, and a team player. He is truly a Christian who exemplifies truth and love in his relationships with Muslims. — Jeff Hayes, Common Ground Consultants
Dr. Burns excels as both a scholar and ministry practitioner. He exemplifies the best of a practical theologian—a person who merges theology and practice to be a living witness of God’s compassion and love for humanity. His outreach knows no borders or limits. He has imagined a world where love without limits is freed to draw all people to Christ, and lives his life to make it so. As such, his life and ministry are examples of what can happen when the Gospel is lived out in its simplicity from the heart each day—lives are changed, people are restored, and there is peace where there was once division. — James T. Flynn, D.Min., Associate Professor of Practical Theology; Director, Doctor of Ministry Program, Regent University School of Divinity
Of the thousands of professional coaches that I have had the privilege to train over the last fifteen years, Dr. Jeff Burns is one of the best. His Relational Quotient is off the charts and his character expressed in his heart and conversations is winning many from vastly different backgrounds into his circle of influence. — Dr. Joseph Umidi Professor Regent University; Founder of Lifeforming Leadership Coaching
Dr. Jeff Burns is a rare, welcome mixture of a visionary theorist and an activist. It is also no coincidence that he worked with an organization with “catalyst” in the title, for that is exactly what he is, a catalyst. In my experience, everywhere Jeff goes he ignites a passion for following Jesus and inspires Kingdom living.
I and many in the congregation I serve as a pastor are deeply committed to peacemaking in the way of Jesus thanks to the work that Jeff pioneered, over the course of many years, in the Raleigh, NC area. I count Jeff as an inspiration and a mentor, and I am most honored to call him my friend. — Gary McGhee, Associate Pastor, Fellowship of Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Cary, NC
Like few other people on planet earth, Dr. Jeff Burns knows how to break down barriers of fear and misunderstanding when it comes to building constructive dialogue and authentic friendships with local Muslims within the United States. Emulating the life of Jesus, Jeff says to members of local churches, ‘Come follow me’, as he walks right through the front doors of American mosques and demonstrates how to initiate redemptive, peace-filled conversations with local Muslims. Jeff is not in a hurry. He takes the necessary time to teach churches the peacemaking principles of our Lord. He helped open many such doors and new ways of thinking for our congregation, and other churches, too , in the Chicagoland area , for which we will always be grateful. — Rev. Dan McNerney, Presbyterian Frontiers Fellowship, Chicago, IL
I have known Jeff Burns for over five years both as a good friend and active peacemaker in the Raleigh area. We have participated together in several activities that are aiming at bridging the gap between religious communities in the area, especially the Muslim and Christian communities, and serving the larger community. One of the activities that brought us together was the Jesus Dialogue in which both the Muslim and Christian perspectives on Jesus were offered in a respectful environment.
Our cooperation was not just educational but was also humanitarian. I have seen Jeff actively participating in different humanitarian causes such as Abraham Builds through Habitat For Humanity where religious leaders from different faith communities cooperated in building houses for poor people in our community.
I do recommend Jeff Burns as a speaker, peacemaker and bridge builder to Muslim and Christian communities not only in the Raleigh area but also in other cities nationwide. It is my conviction that he is an invaluable asset to any interfaith program that he would join and he would bring a distinguished flavor to the activities that he participates in.
In his talks, Jeff always showed respect to the beliefs of the Muslims and he was fully aware and sensitive to the belief differences. He and those associated with him were very active in peacemaking in the Raleigh area. They were an indispensable part of most of the interfaith activities held in the Triangle. — Imam Sameh Asal, Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC
When I first heard Jeff Burns speak at a conference five years ago, I was immediately taken, not only by the rich content of his message, but by the love, compassion, and humor behind his words. Since then I have heard him speak a number of times to both Muslims and Christian audiences. And every time, his ability to help people see things through a new peace-making paradigm left me amazed. His disarming personality almost hides his incredible thoughtfulness and intellect as he builds bridges between people who could previously only see their differences. In every way, Jeff is the real deal… a man of integrity and faith who, through his passion and humility, is making a true difference in our world today. — Craig Simonian, Senior Pastor, The Vineyard Community Church, Morris Plains, NJ
I am writing this letter to thank you for your efforts to initiate the Community of Reconciliation group at Divan Center at Cary, North Carolina. Divan Center has the tradition of extending dialogue activities to any cultural and faith group. With your help, we have formed one such group of around 20-25 people from Muslim and Christian backgrounds coming together once a month during the last year. We have initiated our dialogue following the guidelines you recommended where we started by sharing our personal stories and backgrounds as ice breakers.
As the dialogue continued, we have started to ask each other different questions buried deep in dark corners of our brains that we are hesitant to ask thinking that we may offend the other side. As we have become friends already, we were open to be asked any kind of questions. These not only helped us to have stronger relation with our friends, but also helped us to understand our own religions and spiritual experiences better. In the meantime, we also strengthened our connections by visiting each other’s houses and even going to the beach together. We had Ramadan and Thanksgiving dinners together and presentations about the spiritual meaning of certain practices and beliefs.
As the year ended, we also did a community project together where we arranged a dinner for kids with cancer at Ronald McDonald House in Chapel Hill. We are planning for more as well. We have also decided to come together during next year to continue with the conversation.
As you know, I am a Muslim chaplain, was trained at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, interned at Cornell University as a college chaplain, received my Clinical Pastoral Education at State University of New York Upstate Medical Center and recently taught Islam 101 classes under OLLI program in the Spring semester at Duke University. I am going to give another class next winter semester at Duke again. It is one of my goals to help build peace islands where people of different backgrounds can get together, focus on common points and dream together.
Thank you very much for helping us to start the conversations and build this community, which is one of the manifestations of these goals. Your friendship and personal touch helped a lot to smooth the rough edges occurring naturally when bringing two communities together. We are hoping and praying that the other communities, such as Jesus Dialogue, and humanitarian projects such as Abraham Builds initiated/encouraged by Peace Catalyst International will all nourish the peace efforts all around the world and flourish from a seed to big trees under the shadow of which people can have harmony and peace. — Fatma Kaya, Muslim Chaplain and Volunteer at the Divan Turkish Center, Cary, NC
I have only known Jeff Burns for about two years but with the amount of things I have accomplished with his help it seems like a lot more. I am currently the president of the Muslim Student Association at North Carolina State University. We have a fairly big MSA chapter and do a lot of outreach work. I only started with MSA last year and with the help of Jeff Burns was able to excel in my position as the outreach coordinator to become President.
Jeff brought up the idea of making a “Friends of Faith” group at NC State and though it was our first year we had many people join and were able to go through the whole year and ended up learning much about each other’s faiths. He was also actively involved within our mosque, the Islamic Association of Raleigh. We held a Community of Reconciliation group there which Jeff lead the effort to start, as well as a Jesus Dialogue between older community members. Inspired by Jeff’s work, we decided to hold a similar dialogue at NC State, which attracted a high number of college students. Jeff spoke at the event and everyone continues to rave about how successful the event was and how much he or she learned.
I would definitely suggest him as a speaker to any age group because he is an amazing speaker who really has a profound effect on you. Honestly, hearing Jeff talk about things within his religion made me want to learn more about my religion. Peace Catalyst International is a great organization that he leads and it is actively involved within the community.
Jeff has been an amazing help to me these past years. Anytime I needed help with anything or had questions with something, he was there to help me get through it regardless of his busy schedule. He is the perfect bridge between Muslim and Christian communities. He knows how to talk to everyone and his past experiences make him a great leader and peacemaker. — Zainab Baloch, President of Muslim Student Association (MSA), NC State University, Raleigh, NC
Jesus told us “how blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” Jeff Burns fulfills that description perfectly. By focusing on the commonality of the words and work of Jesus as understood by both Christians and Muslims, Jeff has been able to help both groups to understand and appreciate each other in new and transformative ways. Jesus is the great peacemaker, and Jeff is following closely in His steps. — Dr. Tony Dale, Founder of the Health Co-Op and Cofounder of House2House Magazine
I have known Jeff for over five years and know him as an honest, competent, empathetic, sincere and peace-loving, God-fearing human being. Jeffrey Burns and I became acquainted while I served as Faith & Community Relations Manager with Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, North Carolina. Jeff expressed interest in an Interfaith Relations project I was responsible for creating, Abraham Build. Jeff and Peace Catalyst International were instrumental in assisting and supporting me in the cultivation and fundraising efforts of the project. Our goal included cultivating and engaging local citizens of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths, raising $75,000 as sponsorship for one home for one family, and training and sustaining volunteers who would provide the necessary labor to build the home in a five month period.
Jeff committed himself and his staff to over nine months of volunteering and support of the process. Not only did he assist in building relationships and introducing others to the project and committee, Jeff himself participated in interfaith ceremonies, raised funds and contributed so much to the project, including technical assistance.
I have also attended services, seminars and workshops where Jeff served as a speaker, at local churches, synagogues and mosques. He not only provided engaging speeches that were informative, but did so in a non-threatening, non-judgmental and effective manner. Jeff was warmly received by diverse audiences, and often invited to speak and present during other interfaith events and services.
I serve as a member of the board of directors with Triangle Interfaith Alliance. Jeffrey Burns is often suggested as a source of information, advice and resources. I often reference and suggest Jeffrey Burns as a resource for information in many forums and to others seeking to learn and acquire information related to interfaith relations, especially related to building bridges with our Muslim brothers and sisters.
In closing, I am proud to call Jeffrey Burns my friend, and highly recommend him as a qualified and reputable resource and bridge builder in communities of faith. If additional information related to my relationship with Jeffrey Burns is desired, I will be honored to more details on the many attributes of the organization and Jeff Burns as a loving and sincere human being. — Veronica L. Bitting, Former Abraham Builds Project Coordinator for Habitat For Humanity, Raleigh, NC