Jim Forest is an Orthodox author and, together with his wife Nancy, is co-Secretary of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship of the Protection of the Mother of God. He is also editor of the journal In Communion.
Jim Forest became interested in writing and publications at an early age as he involved himself in newspaper printing and distribution. He became interested in Christianity at the age of twelve and was baptized at an Episcopal parish in Shrewsbury, New Jersey.
It wasn't until he had joined the U. S. Navy that he began to see his life in religious terms. In 1960, he joined the Roman Catholic Church while working in a Navy component of the U. S. Weather Service in Washington, D. C. Soon, he asked for an early discharge from the Navy as a conscientious objector, After his discharge in 1961, he joined the Catholic Worker community in New York City and became managing editor of the The Catholic Worker.
His interest continued in media work, including working for the Religious News Service. At the same time he developed an interest in peace advocacy. In 1965, he founded the Catholic Peace Fellowship that made known the option of conscientious objection during the Vietnam War. Forest was imprisoned during a thirteen month period in 1969 and 1970 due to his involvement with the "Milwaukee Fourteen".
In 1973, he was editor of Fellowship the magazine of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Then, in 1977, he headed the staff of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and was General Secretary of the IFOR for twelve years.
During the 1980s, he traveled widely throughout the Soviet Union, witnessing the final days of the USSR. His experiences in the Soviet Union influenced his views greatly resulting in his becoming an Orthodox Christian in 1988, after which he took the position of international secretary of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship.
In October 2007, Forest received a kidney transplant, with a kidney donated by his wife Nancy. Since 1977, he has lived in Alkmaar, Netherlands. His family includes six children and five grandchildren.
His writings include:
- Confession: Doorway to Forgiveness. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002. (ISBN 1570753865)
- The Ladder of the Beatitudes. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1999. (ISBN 1570752451)
- Living with Wisdom: A Life of Thomas Merton. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1991. (ISBN 088344755X)
- Love is the Measure: A Biography of Dorothy Day. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1994. (ISBN 0883449420)
- "Introduction," Mother Maria Skobtsova: Essential Writings. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2003. (ISBN 1570754365)
- Praying with Icons. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1997. (ISBN 1570751129)
- The Resurrection of the Church in Albania. World Council of Churches, 2002. (ISBN 2825413593)
- Road to Emmaus: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2007. (ISBN 1570757313)
- The Wormwood File: E-Mail from Hell. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2004. (ISBN 157075554X)
During the 1979s, he taught at the New York Theological Seminary and the College of New Rochelle. In 1985, he taught at the Ecumenical Institute at Tantur, near Jerusalem. Forest has led retreats in the United States and England as well as lectured extensively at parishes, theological schools, colleges, and universities.
In 1989, he received the Peacemaker Award from Notre Dame University's Institute for International Peace Studies.