Hold onto Hope

A white candle burns against a green linen background.
A Message from unRival Network Co-Founder,
Suzanne Ross

Preparing for Christmas by lighting candles on an Advent wreath has been part of my tradition since I was a child. In the hush of a crowded church, we light one candle and then another each Sunday until, days before Christmas (this year it is only a matter of hours) four small candles burn, promising us the world’s growing darkness will not overcome the light of hope. 

2023 has been a dark year. Violence dominates headlines and demolishes towns, destroying lives and traumatizing a generation. We may wonder whether hope for peace is naïve or futile. But each candle lit reminds me that the greater naivete is putting faith in violence to solve our problems or keep us safe. Each headline bears witness to the futility of violence, for those with eyes to see.

UnRival has been accompanying peacebuilders in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the US.  Each has witnessed the futility of violence firsthand, in their own context and communities. Their experience has taught them that peace requires us to seek another, better way to settle differences.

But none of us can do it on our own. 

There is so much more to the human story than violence and suffering. There is friendship and love and courage and a burning desire for peace against which darkness hasn’t a chance.

Leaders in peacebuilding know how important it is to reach across divides for strength, but when they refuse the narratives of rival camps, they often risk isolation and self-doubt. Peacebuilders openly admit to us and each other that they are not immune to fear, rivalry, and deep discouragement. 

But they have also experienced that there is so much more to the human story than violence and suffering. There is friendship and love and courage and a burning desire for peace against which darkness hasn’t a chance. This is what keeps them going.

UnRival is dedicated to the well-being of these peacebuilders. Our programs provide community, renewal, and the hope they need to continue working for peace and justice in the heart of conflict. Doing our part to resist rivalry in our own lives and hearts is one way we hold on to hope with them.

In 2024, with your help, we will launch 3 new year-long programs and shorter form events to reach 50 peacebuilders working in 50 different communities around the world. The impact they can have is staggering. 

Your contribution is like an Advent candle: when lit beside others, it is powerful enough to withstand the darkness. Peace is possible when we hold on to hope together.

Suzanne Ross 

Co-founder & Executive Director

Hold onto hope with us.


When we resist rivalry together, there is hope for peace.

By contributing as little as $25, you join us in supporting peacebuilders who are bringing creative solutions to the world’s toughest problems. Your donation funds leadership formation programs, research, and resources for those resisting rivalry with you.
Your contribution is like an Advent candle: when lit beside others, it is powerful enough to withstand the darkness. Peace is possible when we hold on to hope together.
A white candle burns against a green linen background.