Sychar Well Group is a new kind of peace-sharing group.

 

Theological Commitment

We believe that God’s shalom requires that His thoughts influence human thought, words and actions, through the changes He brings in the human heart. Both relational and substantive results are critical to godly outcomes to conflicts.

Sharing Resources

We strive to raise awareness among Christians of available resources, such as articles, books, people and organizations, videos and case studies. Through thoughtful annotations, we focus on the redemptive elements in these resources, whether they are Christ-centered or not.

Networking With Others

We are non-proprietary and play the role of brokers by helping align you with the people and resources that best fit your needs. Our desire is to help equip peacemakers to become who God is calling them to be.

Globally-Focused

We believe that all creation is God’s Creation and that His truths are not limited by boundaries, languages, ethnicities, or other superficial barriers. Our name, Sychar Well, embodies our desire to break through barriers in the same way Jesus broke through barriers at Sychar, as recorded in John 4.

 

“I have become a resource person to my people; peacemaking has become my life and ministry.”
— a bishop of over 400 churches in Zambia

Working together for redemptive change in broken communities.

 
 

Our Mission

To facilitate conversation, partner in education programs, and develop innovative projects that promote, restore, and maintain godly relationships in place of brokenness and conflict.

Our Vision

A global network of effective and innovative Christian peacemakers whose families, churches and communities know and enjoy God's presence in their relationships with Him, His creation and one another.
 

Sychar Well Group began as an idea.

For many years, Molly Friesen, Karl Dortzbach and Chip Zimmer were colleagues in the International Division of Peacemaker Ministries. After leaving Peacemakers in 2015, Karl and Chip continued to discuss their international work and ways they could stay involved. They brought Molly into the mix, and the conversation soon focused on what they saw as an unmet opportunity to support global peacemakers by providing access to high-quality Christian resources. 

With the encouragement of friends and support from Rocky Mountain Community Church in Billings, Montana, Molly, Karl and Chip launched a nonprofit whose purposes would be to make existing peacemaking resources more accessible, create and share new resources, and support peace-related projects that showed promise of filling a resources gap. 

Encouraging and empowering Christians to pursue the peace of Christ, to know and enjoy God’s presence in all their relationships, is the core idea behind Sychar Well Group. This website is among the first of what we hope will be many endeavors. 

Why are we called "Sychar Well Group"?

Our name has its source in chapter 4 of John’s gospel, the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. It was near the town of Sychar, not far from the modern-day city of Nablus. It is a story of peacemaking. 

the Bible story

Jesus and his companions were traveling north through Samaria to Nazareth. They arrived at Sychar around mid-day and, weary from travel, stopped to rest at the local well. The disciples went into town in search of food, but Jesus stayed behind.

A woman came to the well to draw water and Jesus asked her to give him a drink. His request surprised her – “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” Jesus did not answer her question, but instead engaged her in conversation, telling her he could give her “living water.” He revealed details from her life that no one outside her community could have known.

When she surmised that he must be a prophet, he revealed that he was the long-awaited Messiah. Astonished, the woman returned to town to tell others. “Could this be the Christ?” she asked. Other townspeople made their way to the well. They urged Jesus to stay, and he and his disciples remained another two days. By the end, the townspeople confirmed for themselves “we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” 

the significance

The story is remarkable on many levels. Samaritans and Jews had long been at odds, and Jewish travelers heading north typically avoided Samaria altogether. Yet Jesus chose to go through Samaria rather than around it. He risked becoming ceremonially unclean by asking a Samaritan woman to give him a drink. He exposed her checkered past, but rather than condemn her, he engaged her deeply in conversation. In the end, he took her into his confidence, confirming that he was the Messiah, the only recorded time before his trial that he revealed his identity. In the process, he brought an entire community to faith.

Peacemaking is all about relationships, and the conversation at Sychar demonstrates Jesus’ radical take on relationships. He did not merely reach across boundaries, he demolished them. His decision to travel through Samaria, to intentionally engage a woman who was likely an outcast in her own community, remind us what it looks like to love others redemptively. It is the same love God showed when he entered his creation to redeem it. As Romans 5:8 says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 

our group

Our name is “Sychar Well Group” because our desire is to serve and encourage others the same way Jesus served and encouraged the Samaritans of Sychar. Our goal is to see people and communities built up, so that godly relationships flourish. Our vehicles for doing so include curriculum and course development and project consultation.

Most of all, Sychar Well Group is about connecting people around the shared activity of peacemaking. Whether you have decades of experience or are just starting out, if your heart’s desire is to be an instrument of Christ’s peace, we hope you will become part of the Sychar Well community.

Come back often, and bring a cup.     

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Karl Dortzbach

Karl Dortzbach is a co-founder of Sychar Well group and focuses on assisting educational programs with biblical peacemaking. 

Early in his marriage to Debbie, God brought them through the experience of Debbie being kidnapped by a liberation front in Ethiopia and Karl negotiating her release. This experience shaped their subsequent 40 years of ministry as church planters and pastoral trainers, 26 in Africa and the past 13 in Asia.

Karl has been engaged in helping pastors and churches deal with the pain of conflict – often violent ethnic conflict – since 1991. Sychar Well allows him to encourage academic research that moves off library shelves and becomes real in the lives of churches around the world.

Karl and Debbie now have three grown children and ten grandchildren.

Email kdortzbach@gmail.com

Skype kdortzbach


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Molly Friesen

Molly Friesen is a board member for the Sychar Well Group. Molly is currently a stay-at-home mom, but she cut her teeth in the peacemaking world working with Chip and Karl in the International Division of Peacemaker Ministries. Molly holds an M.Div. degree and also works part-time with an organization that promotes healthy marriage and families at the grassroots level.

Molly’s commitment to both organizations stems from an ever-increasing conviction that God designed people to thrive in the context of community. Molly believes that both the Bible and social sciences teach that we can cure a variety of individual and cultural ills by embracing the people around us and actively cultivating healthy relationships. She sees SWG as an important vehicle for healing personal and cultural brokenness and bringing societies into long-lasting shalom.
 
Molly is married to Jay, and they have three small children.

EMAIL jr.molly@gmail.com

SKYPE molly.friesen


Chip Zimmer    Director of Global Ministries, a position he has held since 2001.  In this role, he oversees the services and training that Peacemaker Ministries provides globally.  Chip is the former Executive Director of the Christian Conciliation Service of Puget Sound and has broad experience as a mediator and a trainer.  From 1990-2001 he served with the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Officer in Latin America and Africa, as well as in Washington, D.C.  Chip is a lawyer by training and began his international work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal in the 1970s.  He is married to Cindy and has two children.  He and his family worship at Rocky Mountain Community Church in Billings, Montana, where he is a small group leader and serves on the Missions Committee.

Chip Zimmer

Chip Zimmer is co-founder of Sychar Well Group and Managing Director. 

A lawyer by training, Chip has spent more than 20 years in peacemaking roles, including mediator, trainer, and program leader. He has been active in international work, first in Nepal with the Peace Corps, later as a Foreign Service Officer, and most recently as head of the International Division of Peacemaker Ministries. He is currently Vice President of Relational Wisdom 360.

“Sychar Well brings together two loves – Christ-focused peacemaking and connecting with colleagues from a variety of different cultures. We hope that Sychar Well becomes a resource for people everywhere who desire Christ’s peace for themselves and for their communities.” 

Chip is married to Cindy. They have two grown children and live in Billings, Montana. 

EMAIL chipzimmer54@gmail.com

SKYPE chip.zimmer1