Wednesday, January 31, 2007

WASH, DC -- Christian Peace Witness, March 16

Dear friends,

Please put March 15-17 on your calendar as a time to consider traveling to Washington, DC, to join in a Christian peace witness against the war and in favor of a just rebuilding for Iraq.   As the invitation reads, "We believe that until the Christian community is willing to take risks for peace, to put its words into action, to publicly witness that the war in Iraq is wrong, more people will die, more violence will shatter more lives, and we will all be less secure."

Please note that both On Earth Peace and the Brethren Witness/Washington Office are partners for this event. 

Whether or not you come to DC that weekend, you are invited to join in prayers and preparation for nonviolent resistance in your context (see suggestions for participation at home, below).

You will be receiving more information about what to expect March 15-17 in the coming days, both from On Earth Peace and the Brethren Witness/Washington Office.

Peace and grace,
Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace

Christian PEACE Witness for Iraq
March 16, 2007 Your Community and Washington, D.C.
For more information and resources:

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

We invite you to join thousands in a "Christian Peace Witness for Iraq." As followers of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace,
our faith compels us to make our voice heard to repent of our complicity with the invasion and occupation of Iraq and to renew our commitment to peacemaking.
We ask you to join us in praying for peace, studying the scriptures, learning nonviolence, lighting candles of hope, and gathering together for an ecumenical public witness on March 16, 2007, the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq.  We stand in solidarity with sisters and brothers in other faith traditions and ask their prayers and support for our witness.

Just as Jesus wept over Jerusalem because it did not know the things that make for peace, we weep over Washington, D.C., because of the tremendous human suffering and loss of life that have resulted from our government's policies toward Iraq.  We are convinced that peace in Iraq cannot be won militarily.  It is time to bring the troops home and to support a comprehensive peace process there.
We believe, with Martin Luther King, Jr., that "the ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.  Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.  … Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.  … The chain reaction of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars-- must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."

Peace Witness Focus
1.  End the U.S.  Occupation.  Like Isaiah, we are called to raise our prophetic voice, saying that security cannot be achieved through military domination of one people over another.  We call on one another to find genuine security in God, who insists that we build just relationships with all people.  We call on the President and Congress to bring our troops home from Iraq, to remove our military bases and to stop threatening Iran and other nations.
2.  Support Our Troops.  Like Jesus, who healed the sick and preached good news to the poor, we are called to be a pastoral presence to our country.  We call on one another to care for soldiers and their families who give so much of themselves in times of conflict.
We call on the President and Congress to provide generous support for veterans and active-duty soldiers and their families as they seek to rebuild their lives.
3.  Rebuild Iraq.  Like Paul, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves and to care even for our enemies. The lives of our sisters and brothers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and across the Middle East have been turned upside down by the war.  We call on one another to financially support relief efforts in Iraq through our denominations.  We call on the President and Congress to lead the way in funding international reconstruction of Iraq and providing humanitarian aid for shattered Iraqi families, for our experience in other conflicts has taught us that such assistance is the most effective path to real security for all people around the world.
4.  Say NO to Torture.  Like the disciple who learned to put away the sword, we are called to treat others as we want to be treated.  We call on one another to learn and practice the discipline of active nonviolence: to resist violence and injustice and to construct the culture of peace and reconciliation that we all desire.  We insist that our government treat all enemy combatants humanely and take decisive action to ensure that torture is banned by all agencies of the United States government.
5.  Say YES to Justice.  Like Mary, who praised God for lifting up the lowly and filling the hungry with good things, we long for a world free from hunger, homelessness, environmental destruction, injustice, and oppression.  We call on one another to do justice and show mercy to make our vision plain.  We call on the President and Congress to create a federal budget that puts priority on meeting basic human needs instead of on making war.  Let us together begin to fashion a just peace dividend that is both renewable and lasting.

We invite you to join in a Christian witness against the war in Iraq, taking at least one of these forms:
• praying daily for the end of the war and occupation • studying the Bible and its implications for U.S.  foreign policy • learning about and practicing active nonviolence • fasting toward grounding our security in God • forming groups for prayer, study and action • inviting your neighbors to join in public witness against the war • lighting candles in the windows of your home and house of worship • participating in a weekly peace witness in your town center

Public Witness, March 16, 2007
These preparations will culminate in public Christian witnesses for peace on March 16 in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. 
We will share in an evening ecumenical worship service at the Washington National Cathedral, a candlelight procession to the White House, and a late night peace vigil, during which some participants may engage in "divine obedience" (civil disobedience) and risk possible arrest.  We invite you to come to Washington, D.C.  or to join similar public witness events in your community.

We will provide resources for this invitation on our website We invite you to register your participation on the website.  We believe that until the Christian community is willing to take risks for peace, to put its words into action, to publicly witness that the war in Iraq is wrong, more people will die, more violence will shatter more lives, and we will all be less secure.  Let us commit to the fullness of the Gospel vision of justice, peace, inclusive community and wholeness.  Let us choose life that we and our children and the people of Iraq may live!

Scriptural references: Luke 19:41-42, Isaiah 31, Luke 7:22, Galatians 5:13-15; Romans 12:19-21, Matthew 26:51-52, Matthew 7:12, Deuteronomy 30:19, Luke
1:46-55, Micah 6:8

American Friends Service Committee • Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America • Catholic Peace Fellowship • Christian Alliance for Progress • Disciples Peace Fellowship • Episcopal Peace Fellowship • Every Church a Peace Church • Kairos: A Time to Speak • A Time to Act • Kirkridge Retreat & Study Center • Leadership Conference of Women Religious • Lutheran Peace Fellowship • Methodist Federation for Social Action • Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns • Mennonite Church USA Peace and Justice Support Network • No2Torture • On Earth Peace • Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service • Pax Christi USA • Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship • Presbyterian Peace Fellowship • Sojourners/Call to Renewal • United Church of Christ (Justice and Witness Ministries).

For more information and resources:

Walk to End the Wars: Coming to a Town Near You?


I received this from list member Anne Herman.  She writes:
I have attached an article about someone who is
walking across the country to end war.  He would like
to be in contact with people along the way.  Would
there be folks along his route who would be willing to
be his contacts?  His trip information is posted on
the website mentioned in the article.  Then should
contact him directly by phone or e-mail. 
               Thanks, Anne

Please read the attached article, visit the website, and check out the towns listed on his route. 

Would you be willing to host him somewhere along the way, or set up a speaking engagement?

This kind of an itinerant speaker is a great reason for you to get your local folks together and get them excited about doing something!

~Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace


How strongly do you feel about this war and about policies that promise you a greater sense of security in exchange for your civil rights? Strongly enough to sell your home and nearly everything you own and embark on a three thousand mile journey – on foot – in the hope that our nation's leadership will finally hear your voice and take you seriously? That's precisely what one man has done – and he is now almost eight hundred miles into his trek from San Diego to Washington D.C. carrying a petition to Congress and the President asking for an immediate end to the wars and the restoration of the balance of powers between the branches of our government.

"I still have faith that one person can make a difference, and I am putting that faith to the test," says Bill McDannell, Vietnam era veteran, former United Methodist pastor and grandfather.

But he knows he cannot end the war all by himself. "That's why I'm walking," he says. "I'm hoping people who hear about what I'm doing will think, 'If that ol' geezer can walk clear across the country, maybe I can do something too.'"

Even so, if you happen to see him walking along the streets and highways – and thousands already have – you might think he's just a man out for a pleasant stroll. He wears no signs, carries no banners, and neither belongs to, nor has funding or logistic support from any group or organization. Through the early part of his journey he has relied on assistance from people who have heard about what he is doing. He has spent many nights in the homes of strangers sympathetic to his cause. Sometimes he has stayed at an inexpensive hotel along the way. And when all else fails, he has slept under the stars in the sleeping bag he carries in his backpack. Somewhere in Texas, his wife, Jonna O'Dell (also a former United Methodist pastor), will catch up to him in the 23 year-old camper they purchased when they sold their home to finance his walk, and she and their two dogs will serve as support crew for the balance of his journey. But for now, he is completely on his own.

McDannell calls his effort the Walk to End the Wars and maintains a website at which features his petition, the rationale behind it, and offers those who are so inclined the opportunity to sign the petition online. As he is able to acquire internet time along the way, he updates the site with a day-to-day journal of his thoughts and experiences as well as detailed descriptions of his route and progress. He invites others to join him and walk with him if they like and often stops to talk with individuals or groups interested in listening to what he has to say.

He welcomes the opportunity to speak to anyone who wants to hear his story. McDannell can be reached directly at (619) 792-5292 – the number of the cell phone he carries with him as he walks.

Will he make a difference? That's a question McDannell will tell you he will not be able to answer until he reaches Washington D.C. But he is putting his time, his effort, his health, his strength, his fortune and his life on the line to find out.

Van Horn, TX
Abilene, TX
Fort Worth, TX
Emporia, KS
Osage City, KS
Ottawa, KS
Harrisonville, MO
Holden, MO
Sedalia, MO
Boonville, MO
Fayette, MO
Centralia, MO
Mexico, MO
Louisiana, MO
Pittsfield, IL
Havana, IL
Heyworth, IL
Rantoul, IL
Watseka, IL
Monticello, IN
Markle, IN
Decatur, IN
Ottawa, OH
Findlay, OH
Willard, OH
Ashland, OH
Millersburg, OH
Carrollton, OH
Cadiz, OH
Wheeling, WV
Washington, PA
Uniontown, PA
Frostburg, MD
Fort Ashby, WV
Romney, WV
Winchester, VA
Paris, VA
Middleburg, VA
Gilberts Corner, VA
Chantilly, VA
Merrifield, VA
Washington, DC

AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: Clowns and soldiers

Hello friends,

Here's a reflection from Church of the Brethren member Art Gish, who is currently working with CPT in Palestine. 

It's a strong contrast, isn't it: Soldiers vs. clowns? 

"Fools for Christ," anyone?

May we invoke wonder and delight!

Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace

31 January 2007
AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: Clowns and soldiers

by Art Gish

On 18 January, Israeli peace activists brought four clowns to the
Palestinian village of At-Tuwani to give a performance at the school.  Just
before the performance began, Israeli soldiers also entered the village.
They had accompanied Palestinian school children past the Ma'on settlement
the previous few days.  The soldiers seemed angry about a van parked in the

The soldiers arrested the driver of the van and tied his wrists behind his
back.  Soon a dozen village women, including an elderly woman who lectured
them in Arabic, surrounded them. felt sorry for the poor soldiers.  They
seemed frightened.  They ordered everyone to move away, but the villagers
only moved closer.  Not one person obeyed any of the soldiers' commands.
What can one do, even if armed with an M-16, when no one will comply with
one's orders and someone is filming?  They moved the handcuffed young man to
the other side of the jeep, but the women also moved to the other side of
the jeep.

After about ten minutes, the soldiers put the man into the back of the jeep
and drove away.  They drove to below the village, stopped, and released the
man.  I was upset with the whole scene, but realized the Palestinians were
calm.  Their faith (is it faith or experience?) is deeper than mine.  They
were not surprised by how the soldiers acted.

I headed toward the school to watch the four clowns do their acts for the
children, who loved every minute of it.  These Israeli clowns came in
friendship, without guns, and received a positive response.  I wondered,
"Are the people who sent the young soldiers here really that ignorant and
naïve, that clueless about what makes for peace?"  The clowns may have
been silly, but their actions were profound.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

COLOMBIA REFLECTION: We are here to listen


Welcome to the those who joined the Peace Witness Action list over the weekend!  We are now 630 strong!

Here is an item from Christian Peacemaker Teams, a reflection about work in Colombia. This story provokes: How might you be led to speak up about the military's presence or influence in your own community?  What might you accomplish with gentle presence, committed listening and direct speech?

Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace


CPTnet ~
24 January 2007
COLOMBIA REFLECTION: We are here to listen
by Shirley Way

We do not come to spread the good news of Christ through words.  We do not preach.  We do not proselytize.  We go where we are invited--where communities believe our joining with them may be helpful in their quest for peace, for recognition of their basic human rights, for the right to live without threat of violence or death and the right to organize

On a recent visit to the mining zone in southern Bolivar, Julian Gutierrez and I listened as a priest spoke of the threat he feels from the military occupation of his village.  The priest works closely with the small-scale gold miners of the region who are threatened by the Colombian military.  At his request, we walked with the priest through the village--demonstrating to the armed forces that an international peace organization is concerned about him and the miners.

During the previous week, soldiers camped on the soccer court on parish grounds.  The priest and others spoke of soldiers seeking to seduce or coerce young women and girls and of the resulting trauma and abortions.

The Colombian armed forces are at war with the guerrilla groups--also present in the region.  Two units have set up encampments in the village.
We spoke with the lieutenant and soldiers from the temporary unit.

"You understand that your presence here--camping between civilian homes, walking the streets--puts the people of the town at risk?" I asked.  The lieutenant said he understood but they would remain there until a unit to replace them arrived.  Others said they needed to be close to a water source, which the town provided, that camping outside the town was not practical.  The lieutenant asked when we would be leaving.

Colombian armed forces have similarly occupied a neighboring village is similarly occupied.  Before dawn, Julian and I climbed into the cab of a privately operated transport pick-up truck.  Just outside of town, about twenty national police lined the road and flagged the driver.  He stopped, complaining that this unit does this everyday.  They stopped him, climbed in the back of his truck and rode for about half an hour, putting his life and those of his other civilian passengers at risk.

We explained to the driver who we were and described the work of CPT.  We asked if he would like us to speak with the police.  He nodded.  The commander of the unit was surprised that an international organization cared about the violation of international humanitarian law he and his unit had committed by riding in a civilian vehicle and that we were concerned for the driver's safety and those of his passengers.  He said the driver chose to allow them to ride with him.  We pointed out that twenty armed men climbing in the back of one's truck did not seem to allow space for "no."

A CPT delegation will visit these villages again very soon.  May the listening and dialogue continue.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"I saw my dad at a checkpoint this morning."


This reflection comes from Krista Dutt of the First Chicago Church of the Brethren.   Krista is part of the On Earth Peace - Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation that is currently traveling in the West Bank/Israel. The delegation continues until the 22nd of January. 

If you are so moved, would you pray for them and for the Israeli/Palestinian situation, either privately or while with others, and perhaps in any worship services you attend this week?


Matt Guynn

p.s. You can find all the delegation's blog postings at,
and more information on their itinerary and activities at

Reflection from Krista Dutt -- January 17, 2007

I saw my dad at a checkpoint this morning.

I have heard about CPT's school patrol for many years so I was looking forward to being a part. This morning I got my chance. We went out along the major routes to several schools to watch over the checkpoint while the children went through. It was our job to make sure they weren't harassed as they went by. The red hat uniform of CPT allows us to show up as a respected member of the international community. I was glad to help – sorry for the kids having to go through this occupation and being asked if they have permission to attend school, have bags checked, just to walk on the road to school. These kids, even very small, go through somewhat dangerous situations to get to school.

Then John, a long term CPTer, that I was stationed with pointed out the teachers coming down the street all together like they do each morning. All men, I noticed, they seemed to in a collective good mood. They walked by the Israeli security station. The soldier pulled one of the teachers from the middle of the group to be questioned. John narrated the situation to me, pointing out the head teacher who had started to try to come to the aid of the teacher. After a bit the head teacher came over to John and asked for us to come over and be with the teacher while the rest headed to school.

As I walked closer I could see this man, the teacher, but as my father, the teacher. What if my father, the dedicated teacher he is had to travel through a security check and might be held every time he got a block from his school? What if my mother and sister, also teachers, were put through that same process? What if my all my family that are teachers had to go through that?

I have no idea what my peacemaking role in this place is but I can start by standing up for my family, my sister, my mom and dad.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Here's a reflection from Peggy Gish on the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq.

Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace

5 January 2006

IRAQ REFLECTION: Christmas and New Years in Suleimaniya

by Peggy Gish

Shoppers swarmed into downtown Suleimaniya over the past two weeks.

Shops displayed artificial Christmas trees and decorations, as well as felt Santa hats with flashing lights. Here Santa in known as "Papa Noel" and is also connected with the New Years Day celebration. Such trappings are for the small local population of Christians, as well as for many Muslims.

Shoppers bought gifts for New Years Day and the Muslim feast days (Eid) on 30 & 31 December that celebrate the Hajj pilgrimages to Mecca.

Many friends here wished us a Merry Christmas. One brought us a card and another, a cake. On Christmas Eve, a Kurdish family living in Florida, but spending time reconnecting with family and friends here, invited us to their home. On Christmas Day, we went to a supper party with European members of an NGO that works with street children.

Earlier that morning we attended Christmas services at one of the two Christian churches in Suleimaniya. Peace was the major theme of the sermon - peace for Iraq and other troubled areas of the world. The priest spoke of the promised one, Emanuel, which means "God with us."

Most of us have a hard time keeping continual awareness of the presence of God. Many have a hard time believing that it has much meaning, considering the escalation of violence and the way that corrupt governments and leaders are able to maintain their power. So many things here (and elsewhere) have not turned out the way I have thought God would have wanted them to. Yet, I have also experienced many times when I knew that God was with me and others, strengthening and caring for us, bringing good news of reconciliation and hope.

As I write, it is approaching midnight on New Year's Eve. Since Christmas Day, we made a trip to Erbil to work on registering as an NGO and meeting with a Kurdish Parliamentarian concerning prison issues. It snowed on the day we moved from the hotel to an apartment. We woke up yesterday, the first day of Eid, to see the news that Saddam Hussein had been executed early that morning. Tonight we talk and write by candlelight since we have only about 1-2 hours of electricity a day here. Our New Year's treat is some Fair Trade chocolate that Doug Pritchard, who just arrived today, brought as a gift for us.

Tonight I think about what the new year may bring. Iraqis, as well as other peoples experiencing the brunt of war, cry out for some new breakthrough for peace. I don't believe that killing Saddam, or more U.S. troops in Iraq, will bring that. But we must hope for new beginnings in our own lives just as we dare to hope that those seeking to exploit the people of Iraq, Sudan, or Colombia can turn around and chart new and just policies.
When we dare to hope, we can dare to act.