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.
With the combat restriction for women in the US Armed Forces now lifted, discussion of draft registration is back in the news, the courts, and the halls of congress. But the problems with Selective Service System (SSS) Registration go much deeper than gender equality. There is little political interest in bringing back the draft. Yet draft registration remains a burden upon our nation’s young men – and now, potentially our young women, as well.
For 25 years, the SOA Watch has been a consistent and powerful movement calling for a close of the School of the Americas and an end to the training of Latin American soldiers by the US Army. They organize around a common vision of an end to militarism and empire by focusing specifically on closing the School of the Americas through nonviolence.
When I was treasurer of PPF during the ‘70’s and ‘80’s we had a shoestring budget and a narrow focus of support for a narrow Peace agenda. I’m pleased and excited to be a continuing part of a Peace Fellowship today that is pressing forward for a more comprehensive vision of Peace and Justice today. I’m glad to work alongside the emerging leadership of our organization as they motivate us to even more participation in the agenda for a Just and Peaceful future.
[Guest Post] The Center on Conscience & War is busier than we have been in recent memory. Thanks in no small part to the steadfast and generous support of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, we have been working steadily to increase our outreach efforts, making it possible for so many soldiers of conscience to find us and get the technical support they need to succeed in achieving discharge from the military.
Late last week we received an urgent communication from the Rev. Jairo Barriga of the Presbytery of the North Coast in Colombia concerning the murder on April 12, 2013, of a young man, Narciso Enrique Teherán Mejia. His murder followed a series of death threats and paramilitary operations in an area called El Tamarindo in the municipality of Galapa, near the city of Barranquilla. Please read the background, and then take the action described below.
It was on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month in the year nineteen hundred and eighteen that the guns fell silent on the Western Front in Europe. Many people have described this moment; one of the most poignant is by Kurt Vonnegut in his book Breakfast of Champions: “It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God.”
Christian Peace Witness is committed to making "Conscience in War" the major theme for our work in 2011. We seek to foster a serious nationwide discussion on following Jesus in matters of conscience and duty, violence and nonviolence, war and peace.
To accomplish this vision, we will partner with Christian and multifaith peace fellowships and other organizations to host local and regional programs with the following goals: