Coming Up in 2016: Activist Council, GA, A Delegation, and So Much More!
Happy New Year! What a year 2015 was. It would be easy to reflect on the past year and think it was a year of new and big changes for PPF--and it was, with a transition in staff and volunteer leadership and our change in structure, among many other changes. But even amid these changes, 2015 was also a year of deepening our foundational commitments to peacemaking and nonviolence--work that we will continue in this new year and for many years to come.
In bringing in new staff and volunteers in leadership we have deepened our commitment to being an inter-generational organization, with opportunities for mentorship and new ideas and collaboration, which is essential to the continuation of the movement. Through the creation of the Activist Council we have seen that there is always room at the table for new people to be involved in the life of PPF, and we will continue to model and learn that activism takes many forms--marching and protesting, writing letters to legislators, mentoring, preaching, attending community meetings, writing blogs and articles. We carry these changes with us into 2016 as new chapters and pages will be written in the history of PPF this year.
2016 also promises to be a crucial year for the PC(USA), and PPF seeks to help guide our denomination, our communities, and ourselves always toward peace through:
- our witness and work at General Assembly by advocating for a Gospel-Vision Church, affirming the Peace Discernment Process, and supporting fossil fuel divestment as well as several overtures that seek to end the Occupation of Palestine;
- continuing the decade-long accompaniment program in Colombia;
- discerning new approaches to end gun violence in the United States;
- traveling on a delegation to Iraqi Kurdistan with Christian Peacemaker Teams;
- seeking new models of stewardship as we move to a virtual office by the second half of 2016;
- continuing our almost two-decades-long witness with SOA Watch as they move the vigil to the US/Mexico border;
- two Activist Council gatherings: the first in Asheville, NC March 31-April 2 and another in the fall (more details to come)
- deepening and widening our relationships with intentional Christian communities through our PPF Peace Communities Grants;
- a new eBook that Rick Ufford-Chase is writing with support from Aric Clark and many other friends of PPF about a vision for the Church
- reflecting on the reality of racism and white supremacy in our own lives, organization, and denominiation as we seek to become anti-racist
- prayerfully discerning and collaborating with other peace groups for a Christian response to the crisis of ISIS
- listening to our partners in Palestine as we work to do our part to end the Occupation and work toward peace for Palestinians and Israelis, including promoting the PC(USA) boycott of Israeli settlement products
Through all of this work (and much more), members of the PPF Activist Council will learn from and support one another, as we model for ourselves and the wider Church that our faith is built on nothing less than the stories and teachings of a peacemaker who sought liberation from oppression through community-building and faith-based direct action. As we close the books on 2015 and turn toward this new year, we root ourselves in this nonviolence of Jesus Christ, drawing upon the rich PPF history of resisting militarism and violence, and looking with hope and energy toward 2016.