History of TFI

The Forgiveness Institute is an established nonprofit, nondenominational Jesus centered organization. Dr. Mack Harnden founded The Forgiveness Institute in 1995 having sown the seeds in the two-day Forgiveness Seminar at St. Mary’s College in Leavenworth, Kansas in 1985 for 100 ministers and mental health professionals.


During the spring of April 21-25, 1993, The National Conference on Forgiveness sponsored by the Christian Association for Psychological Studies was held in Kansas City, Missouri. This was the first-ever gathering for educators, researchers, theologians, mental health professionals and lay people to focus on this reconciling process in the spirit of Jesus.

The 1993 National Convention on Forgiveness was a direct or indirect catalyst for the following subsequent conventions, all of which continued the initiative begun in Kansas City. Presenters at the conference were as follows:

• Alvin Brooks, President, Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, Kansas City, MO
• Keith Miller, author, Taste of New Wine: A Hunger for Healing
• Elisabeth Elliot, “Gateway to Joy” radio program
• Tony Campolo, Ph.D, Wake Up, America, Eastern College, PA
• Grace Ketterman, M.D., Depression Hits Every Family
• Capt. Charlie Plumb, former Vietnam War POW, author, I’m no Hero
• Bryan Stevenson, J.D., Defender of Indigent Inmates, Alabama Capital Representation Resource Center
• Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn, authors, Healing Life’s Hurts: Healing Memories Through the Five Stages of Forgiveness
• Bruce Narramore, Ph.D., Freedom from Guilt, No Condemnation, Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University, Rosemead, CA
• Lewis Smedes, Ph.D., Forgive and Forget, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA
• Gregory Jesson, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iowa


The 1999 Conference

A  Gathering of Friends, The Holy Land in Amman, Jordan, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Israel, December 21, 1999 – December 26, 1999 (direct catalyst)

Speakers for the gathering:

• United States: Congressman Tony Hall, twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
• United States: Former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III
• United States: John Perkins, Southern Baptist minister
• Germany: Prince and Princess Albrecht Castell, leading reconciler between Germany and over 20 countries regarding Germany’s atrocities in World War II
• Jordan: King Abdullah
• Israel: Leah Rabin, wife of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
• Israel: Shimon Perez, former Prime Minister of Israel and Nobel Peace Laureate
• Israel: Ehud Omert, former Mayor of Jerusalem and former Prime Minister of Israel
• Israel: Yehuda Wachsman
• South Korea: Kim De Jung, Former President of South Korea and Nobel Prize Laureate (via videotape)
• India: Rajmohan Gandhi (grandson of Mahatma Gandhi)