Advoz is committed to helping those in challenging life situations–whether involved in conflict or impacted by violence. Our skilled staff and volunteers offer conflict resolution and restorative justice services based out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania that have been recommended again and again by thousands who have participated since 1980. Advoz is overseen by a dedicated staff including:
Chris Wenden, Executive Director
Chris Wenden was originally born in Sydney Australia. He has headed up a number of non-profits in Lancaster County and holds an MBA in Non-profit and Executive Leadership. Chris is married to Michelle, a Lancaster County native, and they have four children through adoption and have been foster parents for two others. Chris has developed a unique perspective on reconciliation as he has journeyed through the process of building relationships between his adopted children and their birth families. Chris is passionate about helping individuals and organizations break through the barriers of negative conflict to help breed healthy conversation and community.
Addrienne Whitfield, Office Manager
Addrienne, is the friendly voice of Advoz, working in the organization since 2019 as administrative assistant and now office manager. She joins Advoz from the travel and service industry with extensive customer service and organizational skills. On any given day, you’ll find Addrienne directing inquiries for mediating disputes, inviting volunteers to work an event or getting fair deals with our vendors. Addrienne enjoys spending time with family and friends, where she already has achieved peacemaker status. In her free time, you’ll find her at music concerts or escaping to the beach. We’re excited to have Addrienne contribute to Advoz’s present and future as she keeps our office humming — with an extra-friendly voice.
Chris Fitz, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Training
Chris worked and studied in conflict resolution, program management, and fund development for 25 years and now leads strategic partnerships, training and business development for Advoz. He began with the organization in 2014 as the Center for Community Peacemaking’s executive director before its merger with Conflict Resolution Services (formerly Lancaster Mediation Center) in 2017. Previously, he founded two campus-based mediation programs and has studied and worked in community-based conflict transformation efforts in the US, Northern Ireland and Croatia, earning his M.A. at the Universitat Jaume I (Castellon, Spain). More recently he nurtured interest in arts-based approaches to transforming conflict with improvisation and applied theatre. Chris shares a bustling bilingual and musical household in Marietta, PA with his wife and two teenagers.
Krista Rittenhouse, Director of Restorative Practices
Krista got involved with Advoz training and volunteering in Restorative Justice Conferencing in 2019. But she went beyond the call of duty by successfully reaching dozens of case participants on the phone. Now the director for restorative conferencing, she coordinates and coaches facilitators on 150+ cases of harm each year. Krista graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in 2014, studying peacebuilding, development and Spanish, with an interest in restorative justice. She comes to Advoz with a range of experience in social services, mission work and retail management. Krista is excited to help people heal relationships and invest in Lancaster city youth. She is an avid runner and loves rock climbing, board games, and sharing food with friends.
Ben Rush, Program Delivery Coordinator
Ben grew up in Quakertown, PA, and has lived in the Lancaster area since 2020. In 2019, he graduated from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, where he studied restorative justice. Ben is especially passionate about the potential of restorative justice to disrupt and transform situations of harm, both for individuals, and on the societal level. He is excited to put his unique skills, gifts, and knowledge into practice at Advoz. In his free time, Ben is interested in reading, quilt making, playing volleyball, disc golf, or ultimate frisbee, cooking, and spending time with nature. When he gets the chance, Ben loves catching up with friends over a cup of tea or some homemade food, or simply being by himself.
Lydia Tamrat, Restorative Practices Case Manager
Lydia was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She recently graduated from Messiah University as a Peace and Conflict Studies major. She got involved with Advoz through a year of service program called the Shalom Project. Lydia is passionate about restorative justice, peace and creating bridges between people. Some other passions include history, interfaith dialogue, and theology. In her free time, she likes to knit, paint, upscale clothes/furniture, and watch cartoons.
Juji Woodring, Circle Process and Social Worker Intern
Juji Woodring attended the circle training in early 2021, and returned in the fall to help manage the circle program as an masters in social work intern through Millersville University. After 20 years of living in intentional communities, she now lives in Lancaster with her husband of 29 years She leads improvisation movement and storytelling through InterPlay, bakes no-knead bread, and delights in watching her native plants take over the backyard.
Matthew van Heesewijk, Operations Intern
Matthew was born in Arnhem, Netherlands, and has also lived in India, Indonesia, and Tanzania, before moving to the U.S. at the age of six. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Sociology-Anthropology with a concentration in Criminology at Elizabethtown College. He became interested in restorative justice and Advoz through a class at the college taught by Chris Fitz. He is passionate about helping others and creating positive change in the community. He loves to play soccer, spend time with friends and family, watch documentaries and do photography and drawing in his free time.
Board of Directors
James Landis, Chair
Ling Dinse, Vice-Chair
Assistant Professor in Counseling & Social Work Lancaster Bible College
John Bomberger, Treasurer
Former CEO, Choice Books, Retired
John Huber, Secretary
Attorney at Gibbel Kraybill & Hess, Retired
Director of Operations
Vice President Credit Union Operations
Former Program Director,
Mennonite Central Committee
Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Messiah College
Attorney, Barley Snyder LLP
Real Estate Professional, Retired
Education Administrator, Trainer, Retired
Director of Development
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology