At the Activist Council Fall Meeting this past weekend we said a huge “Thank You” to Fritz Gutwein, who has been part of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship staff for over five years. He was hired as the Associate Director and became a Co-Director with Rick Ufford-Chase and then Emily Brewer. Fritz brought his wisdom and knowledge of development and communications to PPF, overseeing a doubling of the operating budget and more regular and frequent communications.
“This is my church,” wrote one person at the end of the PPF Activist Council Fall Meeting at Stony Point Center this past weekend where close to 50 Peace-seekers gathered. Another person posted on Facebook: “These are my people, yes they are."
I have become convinced that much of the work that we, as Christians, as peace seekers, and as the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, have to do around all issues related to the Middle East and to Gun Violence in our own country is in countering Islamophobia.
Are there any more words that can be written or spoken after the violence of the past ten days? Certainly none that can bring back Anton Sterling or Philando Castile or Delrawn Small or Sandra Bland; none that can crumble this violent system of white supremacy to its foundations overnight; none that can heal the physical, emotional, and mental wounds caused by the systemic and systematic violence that we have seen and remembered in the last week. There are no words that can right these injustices, yet words that change minds and actions that challenge systems are the effective and nonviolent tools we have to dismantle the system of white supremacy upon which the United States is built, the system that denies that Black Lives Matter.
The 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) was one of the most positive church experiences I’ve had in a long time. There were moments of disappointment and frustration, as always, but I sit several days after closing worship with a sense of hope and deep gratitude for the people and the work of the PC(USA). I also sit ready to get back to work (after a brief rest, which I hope you all are taking as well), because we as PPF have a special role after this GA that could have just changed the way our denomination engages with peace and nonviolence.