Bren Hardt: Trailblazer for Peace
Bren Butler Hardt was one of three leaders to receive a Peacemaker Award from Houston Peace & Justice Center.
The Houston Peace & Justice Center (HPJC) describes Brenham UMC member Bren Butler Hardt as “a long-time peace activist with Fellowship of Reconciliation, Creating a Culture of Peace, Board of Church and Society – Peace with Justice Program of the United Methodist Church, and Houston Nonviolent Communication (HNVC).”
Cherry Steinwender, founder and director of The Center for the Healing of Racism presented Bren with her award in mid November at the University of Houston Hilton. HPJC President Constance Gray, a member of Bering UMC, points to the organization’s website for the reasons Bren was selected for this notable honor. According to HPJC, Bren has a very long history in following her passion for peace and encouraging others along the way. She has initiated and organized training and informational programs for other activists to help them facilitate the skills and understanding needed to build a peaceful and just world.
Bren has served 37 years as an advocate for peace and as a member or chair of the Peace with Justice Program of the Conference Board of Church and Society.
Her award citation was personalized to read, "The Houston Peace and Justice Center is proud to recognize and honor Bren Hardt, beloved and favored friend to many and all, for using this one precious life to find and spread peace in every form possible; for trailblazing through the lives of so many to spread good cheer and uplift us to our highest calling; for the courage to create organizations to support peace; and enrolling others in your mission and for your loving, generous, compassionate presence in our lives.”
For Bren, the most rewarding part of this passion for peace is being a part of a transformative relationship. She adds, “I have found great joy advocating beside the courageous local peace advocates in our conference. “I lead workshops on the Art of Empathy, for the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, for example,” she says, “and enjoy helping people choose empathy over criticism for a more powerful and collaborative connection.” She reflects fondly on multiple decades of service as a volunteer coordinator with other Peace Advocates that met regularly in Washington and locally, and enjoyed being mentored as a peacemaker under Judge Woodrow Seals at St. Stephen’s UMC when she was instrumental in the launch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. “I am also glad I could become certified as a Nonviolent Communicator so I can share those tangible skills that anyone can use to facilitate better relationships with others, regardless of their own personal journeys.”