Melanie Atha - Advocating for Peace (Part 2)

In part 2 of this two-part interview recorded on MLK day 2019, Melanie Atha told us about her other role as the Executive Director of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF).

In this second episode of the two-part series, we discussed:

  • How Melanie (and EPF) advocate for peace

  • A discussion from varying viewpoints on policymaking responses to gun violence

  • What it’s like to live a “nomadic” life touring multiple states in “Miranda” (their van)

  • How advocating for peace needs to start by making peace with yourself

I hope you enjoy this episode on the purpose in the process of advocating for peace!


Episodes are also available on Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts!

Melanie Atha received her J.D. from Vanderbilt University and her B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science from Birmingham-Southern College.  Since 2011, she has been practicing Collaborative Law. She is the Past President and Current Executive Director of the Board of Directors of the Global Collaborative Law Council, ( which is an international collaborative practice group dedicated to expanding the use of Collaborative Law to areas of the law other than domestic relations.  She also recently served as Co-Chairman of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution’s Collaborative Law Committee.  She is Immediate Past President of Birmingham Collaborative Alliance (BCA), Alabama’s first and only Collaborative Law Practice Group (, of which she is a founding member.  She is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), (, the international consortium of lawyers, financial professionals and mental health professionals who are committed to helping clients resolve family disputes outside of traditional legal forums.

She founded the Birmingham Bar Association Collaborative Law Committee in 2016, and served as its inaugural chairman.  She has extensive training in Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice.  She served on the Alabama Law Institute’s Committee on Collaborative Law and the Collaborative Law Rules Committee, and was part of the group which vetted the Uniform Collaborative Law Act (“UCLA”), enacted by Alabama’s legislature in May, 2013.  (The UCLA went into effect on January 1, 2014.)  A veteran trial lawyer, Melanie was elected by her peers as a Charter Fellow in The Litigation Counsel of America, a national trial lawyer honorary society.  She was recognized by Super Lawyers as one of the top 25 women lawyers in Alabama for 2013, and is regularly listed in The Best Lawyers in America.  She often writes about and lectures on Collaborative Law.

Melanie is recently retired from the private practice of law after 30 years to assume the Executive Directorship of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. (  In her positions as ED of EPF and GCLC, she has recently started a tour of the country with her husband, Steven, in their Unity Leisure Travel Van (“Miranda”), stopping in cities and towns along the way to talk about peacemaking and collaborating in churches, bar associations, and civic groups.   Austin is their second stop.

You can follow Melanie and Steven on their year-long journey for peace at at, on Facebook (Episcopal Peace Fellowship), soon also on Twitter (@episcopalpeace) and Instagram. Also at, on Facebook (Global Collaborative Law Council), Twitter (@law_collab), LinkedIn (Global Collaborative Law Council) and soon Instagram. Finally, be sure to check-out Steven’s photographic record of their trip at and on Instagram (missingpersonsrv) (a personal website for the Melanie and Steven – they will be blogging and Steven will be posting beautiful photographs!).

The book Melanie mentioned: Christianity the first 3,000 years by Diarmaid MacCulloch

Ways to Support Melanie and Steven:

  1. Give to EPF

  2. Offers of hospitality always welcome!

  3. Suggestions of icons of social justice, landmarks or museums she must see.

  4. Driveway for parking “Miranda”, her home on wheels. (Home or church parking lot welcome)

  5. Offer of laundry facilities.

  6. Suggestions of coffee shops, eateries, and sports bars she should visit.

  7. Identify best walks and hikes in your neighborhood.

  8. Invite her to church!

  9. Prayers for safe travel.

  10. Favorite camp sites (with dump station, preferred).

  11. Visits with your pets — she is feeling deprived!

  12. Home baked goodies (only if you are baking, anyway).

  13. Make time to see her and introduce her around!

  14. Favorite sites for photo ops.