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James Hoch, President of Al Amana International, Viji George, and Others Work with Local Churches to Help End Conflicts in Arabian Peninsula PDF Print Email


By Staff

Jun. 28, 2017:  On Thursday, June 22, former Concordia president Viji George and his wife, Janet George, hosted a dinner party at their home for approximately 40 guests. 

One of the purposes of the dinner was to introduce guests to an international organization called Al Amana International, founded in part in 2015 by The Reformed Church of Bronxville. Its mission is to train United States and United Nations personnel on peace mediation practices in the Arabian Peninsula.  

Bronxville resident James Hoch is president of the organization. Also involved in seeking to implement Al Amana’s mission are Christ Church of Bronxville and Concordia College.


The Reformed Church of America has for more than 100 years been working in the Arabian Peninsula, where it has a training facility in Oman. “Current conflicts have become more complex and harder to stop,” said Antti Pentikäinen, who works as a peace mediator in the area and is also a member of The Reformed Church. “Besides the usual state-to-state conflicts," he added, “there are a variety of religious extremist organizations now holding power over a considerable amount of territory.”

Al Amana International aims ambitiously to become involved in fixing the root causes of the conflicts in the Arabian Peninsula.


Mr. Pentikäinen travels frequently into war zones such as Somalia and Libya. He believes in dialogue and mediating conflicts. “I have worked in Somalia for more than 10 years and Libya now more than two years. There is a lot of progress. War is not a solution, it is reconciliation. Faith groups understand the potential of healing and forgiveness,” he noted. "That has been the missing piece."

"If Bronxville wants," he added, "it can make a very significant contribution to how the current conflicts will be ended. There is something unique in this village. People here are not just focused on themselves but also on those who suffer.”  


The Reformed Church of Bronxville is organizing a trip to Oman in November of 2017. It is also holding various events in the fall where one can learn more about the work of Al Amana International and how to become involved. 

Pictured here (from top):  Dr. Viji George hosting dinner party (photo by Carol Mittlestadt); tables on patio at Janet and Viji George's dinner party for Al Amana International (photo by Carol Mittlestadt); Antti Pentikäinen, peace mediator in the Middle East (photo courtesy Antii Pentikäinen)dinner guests on patio near swimming pool.  



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Houses of Worship Directory

Houses of Worship Directory

Christ Church Bronxville

Christ Church Bronxville, or "CCBNY" as it's known in the community, is the village's Episcopal church, whose beginnings date back to 1898. The current church, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was completed in 1926 and was designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, who also designed St. Bartholomew's in New York City and the Chapel at West Point.

CCBNY offers a wide array of programs to its parishioners, who live throughout southern Westchester. The acclaimed music program boasts five choirs; international outreach efforts to Cuba; and education and service programs for family members of all ages. CCBNY is also home to the renowned children's music program Young at Arts (, and Eliza Corwin Frost (, a nursery school for children ages 1 to 5.

Our services are as follows:
8:00AM Rite I Spoken Eucharist
10:00AM Family Choral Eucharist
5:00PM Informal Eucharist

"No matter where you are on your spiritual journey there is a home for you at Christ Church. Our worship, music, education and outreach challenge us to embrace holiness and fearlessly share Christ's love."

The Rev. Michael A. Bird, Rector
17 Sagamore Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

First Baptist Church

The First Baptist Church was organized in 1854. Its mission is “to reach out as a caring and Christ centered Church to people of all culture and races, helping them to know God and find fellowship with each other through Jesus Christ to the glory of God.”

407 New Rochelle Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

Reformed Church of Bronxville

The Reformed Church of Bronxville is the community church in the heart of the village. We welcome people of all faiths and persuasions to be a part of our church family. We have exciting programs to meet your interests including music and the arts, service and outreach, children's ministry and a wonderful Nursery School.

Starting Sept. 7th, we have three Sunday services held at 8:30 am, 10:30 am and 5:00 pm. A Fellowship Coffee Hour is offered after the 10:30 am service. Childcare is available during our 10:30 am service along with Church School classes for children from 2 years old through the 8th grade.

The Reformed Church
180 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

St. Joseph’s Church

St. Joseph Church, which opened its doors in 1925, is the Catholic Church in Bronxville. It offers services on Saturday, Sunday, weekdays and Holy Days. It offers a religious education program for K - 8th grade which takes place on Wednesday during the school year. It also offers a myriad of opportunities for parishioners to meet, share ideas and experiences and help others. The St. Joseph’s School offers classes for K – 8th grade.

15 Cedar Street
Bronxville, New York 10708

Village Lutheran Church

The Village Lutheran Church “is a ministry of word and sacraments. This ministry gives opportunities for witness, nurture, fellowship, stewardship and service.” The Chapel School, which goes from pre-school three-year olds through 8th grade, is an integral part of the Church’s ministry for children.

172 White Plains Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

West Center Congregational Church

West Center Congregational Church is a member of The United Church of Christ. It welcomes “all who seek to find, know and serve the living God better in all they are and do.”

101 Pondfield Road West
Bronxville, New York 10708

Sinai Free Synagogue

Sinai Free Synagogue is Westchester`s "newest" Reform congregation but its roots go back almost 100 years. Formed in 1999 by a merger of Mount Vernon`s Sinai Temple (founded in 1906 and the first Reform congregation in Westchester County) and the Free Synagogue of Westchester (founded in 1927), the 250-member congregation has a long, distinguished history.

Please check the Calendar for dates and times.

550 North Columbus Avenue

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