PPF Announces Seven Peace Communities
As the PPF works to strengthen our witness to Jesus Christ in the PC(USA), we begin a new and exciting partnership with seven intentional peace communities. Because there are many ways across the church to live in Christian community outside of traditional congregational life, we desire to connect with and support intentional peace communities involved in inspiring peace work across the country. Therefore, we will fund up to eight grants of $500 per month for one year to the following communities. After receiving over 35 applications and discerning and praying over which communities to support and who we could best learn from and partner with, we introduce to you our seven peace community grant recipients! In the coming year, join with us in learning from these communities' faithful work and commitments. May they inspire us as a church to better follow Christ's call!
Albany Catholic Worker: Albany, NY
The Albany Catholic Worker is an intentional Christian community located in a low-income neighborhood in Albany, N.Y. Ministries include vacant lot urban gardening, a food pantry, healthcare assistance, a sister community in rural South Africa, and nonviolent protest. In 2007, they formed New Sanctuary for Immigrants (NSI), which serves vulnerable immigrants with practical and legal support. NSI is an all-volunteer, grass-roots group serving all immigrants -- especially persons who lack legal documentation. NSI offers jail visits, court accompaniment, emotional support, public demonstrations, lobbying, and free legal consultations by linking faith communities.
Alianza2638: Chicago, IL
Together our peacemaking work emanates from our specific address of 2638 W. Cullerton Street in Chicago, but it spans dimensions and time zones. Diana has a ministry of sincere and ardent prayer, which she cultivates through multiple services a week at a storefront church in the commercial heart of our neighborhood, as well as at the lavandería. Sarah lives in the apartment below Diana and her family, and being a part of Alianza2638 assists her formation of roots in Chicago as she administrates the global justice work of Christian Peacemaker Teams. We are grateful for this moment to have a grant which will give us a huge boost in solidifying our community, building alliances (which means "alianzas" in Spanish, which is the primary language of our community) across historic lines of division.
Cana Community: South Bend, IN
The Cana Community is comprised of four households of intentional neighbors. We live within a block of each other in the urban core of South Bend, Indiana. Our life together consists of regular meals, small group fellowship, prayer and discernment, and sharing the details of daily life. We seek to root ourselves in Jesus by working for justice in the path of nonviolence. After years of building informal relationships with neighbors, we have recently begun a humble community organizing effort. Our community members are also active in national and international justice work.
Cherith Brook: Kansas City, MO
Cherith Brook Catholic Worker of Kansas City, MO is a community made up of four adults, two teenagers and an amazing group of volunteers. Our name comes from the story of Elijah in I Kings 17, who was called to a life of trust amidst scarcity. Through a communal covenant we hold our resources, skills and gifts in common. We practice hospitality by offering showers and clothing for the homeless and hosting fellowship meals. Our urban homestead provides vegetables, fruit, honey and eggs for our neighbors and guest. Expressions of our commitment to nonviolent Gospel obedience include street activism and resistance work at the Nuclear Weapons parts plant in KC. The Sermon on the Mount is our manifesto.
Hands and Feet of Asheville: Asheville, NC
Hands and Feet of Asheville (HFA) is an intentional Christian community focused on love, peace, and justice both within its own community and through service to the larger community. As a year-long service program for young adults, HFA has 3 core focus areas: direct service, intentional community, and theological reflection. HFA is committed to developing, training, and supporting peace-builders. We believe that relationships developed through direct service with populations in the margins are what transforms individuals and communities. Through service, community, and reflection, we aim to follow Christ's call to break down the power structures and build up the Kingdom here on Earth.
Mercy Junction: Chattanooga, TN
Founded by the Rev. Brian Merritt in conjunction with the Presbytery of East Tennessee and Northminster Presbyterian Church, Mercy Junction is a "community of faith, rooted in social justice, devoted to addressing systemic food and housing inequalities. We are guided by the Holy Spirit to express God's unbiased love to all people through action in our community." Mercy Junction seeks to challenge and change systemic conditions that create the violence called poverty. Our work has included foreclosure defense, community gardening, giving away food, supporting living wage and labor campaigns, and extending our commitment to non-violence to include non-human animals.
Underground Seminary: Colombia Heights, MN
Underground Seminary is an alternative form of theological education designed to train leaders equipped to understand the underlying forces at work in the world. Our mission is first to identify and root out the logic and impulses of empire from our person, and then to make disciples who will respond to the desperation of the present world with passion and compassion, intelligence and resolve. We believe that Jesus modeled a way for all people to live on this earth in peace. Our aim is to train leaders who can generate reconciling community as a hopeful response to imperial dehumanization.
BeLoved: Asheville, NC
BeLoved is a community of people from all walks of life who live, move, and have our being on the margins of our city and are working to transform ourselves and our community/world in line with Dr. King’s vision of the Beloved Community where we take our name. Together, we offer safe space and the basic necessities of life for over 600 people a year. Last year, we gleaned and distributed over 5,000 pounds of locally grown organic produce. We shared 2,600 meals and supplied folks with clothes, haircuts, camping supplies, and clean laundry. We shared food and positive activities with senior citizens. We hosted summer programs and gave away back-to-school supplies to kids living in public housing. We housed and helped 18 folks through our transitional housing program. We led and/or participated in many social justice campaigns speaking out against homelessness (unfair treatment of campers and homeless rights), racial equity, dealing with food insecurity, discrimination of immigrants and gay/lesbian couples, leading Moral Monday actions in our state capital, and speaking out about city’s proposed business improvement district that left out many in our city and sought to entrench in policy economic segregation to name a few.