Honoring the founder

By wayne.steffen on October 15, 2013 @ 3:41am

Claassen, D. Min., professor of peacemaking and conflict studies/leadership studies, received the Charles W. Colson Justice That Restores Award from Justice Fellowship. Claassen founded VORP (Victim Offender Reconciliation Program) of the Central Valley in 1982, and co-founded the Fresno Pacific University Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies in 1990.

The award was presented by Joe Avila, West Coast and Hawaii regional director for Prison Fellowship Ministries, which Colson founded. The Justice Fellowship, an outgrowth of Prison Fellowship Ministries, is dedicated to reforming the criminal justice system "so communities are safer, victims are respected, and offenders are transformed." (justicefellowship.org/)

VORP of the Central Valley has handled more than 44,000 cases through the Fresno County criminal justice system and served more than 11,000 people. VORP brings victims and offenders together to permit the offenders to take responsibility for their actions and make things as right as possible with victims through binding agreements.Tim Nightingale is the current executive director. (vorp.org/)

About 130 people attended the celebration dinner September 26, 2013, in Ashley Auditorium on the main FPU campus. Also recognized for their contributions were VORP volunteers Ed Barton and Gabriel Hernandez, Noelle Nightingale (VORP director 2007-2012) and Fresno County Superior Court Judge David Gottlieb.

Main photo (left to right): Classen, Avila