Europe

Christian Peacemaker Teams activities in Europe.

Prayers for Peacemakers, July 27, 2016 Europe

Prayers for Peacemakers, July 27, 2016    Europe

Pray for the refugees currently trapped on the Greek island of Chios.  They have waited four months for their asylum reviews in unsanitary conditions.  Pray also for the member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams-Europe team member who just found out that his cousin was among the refugees who died trying to reach Europe in a forest along the Turkish/Bulgarian border.  He had to communicate the news of the death to his family.

 

MEDITERRANEAN REFLECTION: The children along the city walls of Chios

 

Syrian refugee children waiting to get the boat to Athens

We are a CPT team of three persons. We are walking along the city walls of the Greek island of Chios, with the border-polluted sea stretching before us. The refugees reside in tents, organised in two lines. Kids are playing. Nothing can make children stop playing. Even under the midday sun; even though the great powers of the world, through their agreements, prevent these families from moving on.  But they play. They run up to the top of garbage hills and then run down, laughing and shouting. “Kids!” my friend says, to show that he is delighted but not surprised.

The twelve-year-old Me walks on small paths up the hill, passing alongside landmines, walking over the skeletons of the Iraqi and Iranian soldiers who died here in 1980s. He jumps out of me. He does not even look back at me. He goes to the kids of Chios and starts playing with them. I look back and wait for him to come back, to jump back into this grown-up self.  He does not seem to care. My teammates tell me that we should move on. So I move on with them and leave the little Me behind.

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 22, 2016 Europe

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 22, 2016  Europe

Give thanks for members of the new CPT-Mediterranean Team, which has just finished its first week together on Lesvos, Greece.  Pray for ongoing encouragement in their work, as Western governments try to avoid taking responsibility for refugees fleeing unbearable conditions in their homelands.

*Epixel for Peacemakers  June 25, 2016  
 
For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:14
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

CPT MEDITERRANEAN BLOG: Deep and violent connections


It’s a profound day today.

The celebration of Juneteenth (when Africans enslaved in the United States learned of their freedom, declared by the Emancipation Proclamation almost two years earlier). 

The one-year anniversary of the massacre of the church at Mother Emanuel AME folks in Charleston, SC.

The one-week anniversary of the Pulse Orlando club shooting. 

It’s also Father’s Day, so blessings to the Dads out there…especially those redefining traditional masculinity and providing open-minded and gentle ways of nurturing children (or ideas!) into wholeness. 

Tomorrow continues the meaningful days (of course every day we’re alive it’s meaningful!) It’s solstice, and the middle of Ramadan. It only comes around in the summer every 33 years.  Given global weirding, this is a hot one! 

It’s also World Refugee Day. Being here, working with refugees…this day now means more to me than ever before.  I knew theoretically the difficulty of being a refugee: the bureaucracy of paperwork and sometimes arbitrariness of official decisions, long lines, inadequate resources, the fast friendships, the cramped camps, the waiting, oh the waiting. 

Our Christian Peacemaker Team is accompanying refugees in Mytilene, Lesbos, Greece. As Executive Director I have a chance to do a two-week team visit. I sat across the table from a man from Afghanistan yesterday. Neither he nor I are from Greece or speak Greek. I don’t speak Dari yet, and he just began the English classes offered to refugees. We don’t know each other’s names and yet we are deeply and violently connected. My village paid for his village to be bombed (through the US-led war in Afghanistan).

We kind of smile at each other to acknowledge a greeting, but neither of us are happy about the situation so we exchange a glance of agreement that there is no use pretending we are. I can hope that through our work he and I can feel that there is another way to connect as well, through nonviolent interaction. But if it ends there it is not enough, in a way. I want to exchange the real smile that comes after a day of joint action to bring change to global functioning. Tomorrow is World Refugee Day and we will do a public witness action that reminds the public that refugees are not invisible, and mourns the loss of over 1,600 people that have died in crossing by boat from Turkey to Greece. We will thank the Lesbians for being so welcoming to those who made it, and together with them brainstorm ways to insure safe passage for all and challenge EU and US and local policies that lead to so many people being frighteningly expelled from their homes. 

Prayers for Peacemakers, May 18, 2016

Prayers for Peacemakers, May 18, 2016

Give thanks for the decision that Christian Peacemaker Teams – Europe made to hold its convergence and public witness at the Eurovision song contest in Malmö, Sweden three years ago last week.  Out of that meeting arose its decision to accompany and partner with refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers and their allies on the Greek island of Lesvos.

*Epixel for Peacemakers May 22, 2016 Trinity Sunday
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5
 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming  Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 6, 2016 Europe

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 6, 2016  Europe 

Pray for the refugees and migrants in Greece facing deportation this week because of the European Union’s agreement with Turkey.  Pray for CPT-Europe’s partners on Lesvos, who are facing the shutdown of their collaborative, humane camp at Pipka by the local authorities.  The mayor of Lesvos plans to ship all the residents from Pipka to detention camps, including some of the most vulnerable refugees: those with disabilities, lone women and children, survivors of shipwrecks.  Please prayerfully sign this petition to keep Pipka open.

 

April 10, 2016  Third Sunday of Easter
Frontex Corporation officials guard migrants they are deporting for the European Union.
Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
He asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Acts 9:3-5
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

CPT-EUROPE: "Sinking in the Sea and Walking for a Better World"

CPTnet
March 17, 2016
CPT-Europe: "Sinking in the Sea and Walking for a Better World"
By Ronbir Mohammad

(This article is the first in a new series of reflections: "The Border is Everywhere.")

 

In the summer of 2013, I walked with a group of refugees and allies from Malmö in the South of Sweden to Stockholm, the Swedish capital, as part of what we called “Aylstafetten.” We wished to transform Sweden to a country where refugees would be treated as human beings. Many of the refugees walking with us had no legal status and were “without papers.” For many of them, it was the first time experiencing solidarity from so many white Europeans.

As we moved in the capital amidst its power dynamics, some of those same dynamics were reproduced among the walkers, whether we wanted it or not. Some of us were white Swedes, others non-white Swedes born in Sweden, some non-white Swedes born outside Sweden who had acquired citizenship, others refugees with residence permits, and some refugees lacking residence permits but present in the country legally. The most vulnerable were refugees without papers who could be captured at any time and deported to “their countries”.

But during the walk we were equals. Whether we were swimming in the blue lakes of Sweden, walking past the small red houses in the countryside, or handing out leaflets and shouting slogans, we were equals. We were equals when we enjoyed the tasty Afghan food our fellow comrades made, or when we were singing, reciting poetry, and giving each other massages. We were comrades. During the month we walked, conflicts broke out and were solved. Stories of love, jealousy, tears, and laughter. The solidarity between the walkers was so strong that sometimes, as I was simply walking along and smoking, my heart was so filled with joy I wanted to shed tears.

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 24, 2016

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 24, 2016

Pray for the European Convergence currently taking place in Hamburg.  Pray for the participants as they come up with strategies for a CPT training in Europe this year and for continuing CPT-Europe’s ministry to refugees and asylum-seekers crossing the Mediterranean.

February 28, 2016  Third Sunday in Lent
Photo from last year's European Convergence in London
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk
 without money and without price.  Isaiah 55:1
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

CPT trainees demand independent investigation into Afghan hospital bombing

“The U.S. cannot investigate itself.”

“While you’re shopping, bombs are dropping.”

These were some the core messages Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) conveyed through signs and chants on 9 October 2015 when it marched through the streets of Chicago, demanding an independent investigation into the hospital bombing in Kunduz, Afghanistan by the United States armed forces. On 3 October, the U.S. military carried out a bombing raid on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, resulting in twenty-two deaths, including ten hospital staff and twelve patients.  Doctors Without Borders is requesting an independent investigation into the bombing from the International Humanitarian Fact-finding Commission (IHFFC).

Members of CPT gathered on Friday outside of the British Consulate in downtown Chicago dressed in blood-spattered hospital attire and carrying a black coffin to symbolize the deaths at the hospital in Kunduz.   Alicia R from London delivered a letter to the British Consulate urging the British government to request an investigation by the IHFFC.  Only a member country can request such an investigation.

As the march started, chants of “while you’re shopping, bombs are dropping” and “bombing hospitals is a war crime,” echoed through the streets.  At several intersections, members of the group dramatized the bombing by falling in the middle of the street as another marcher hit them with a sign shaped as a bomb that had the letters, “USA,” on it.

The procession stopped at the Canadian Consulate where two Canadian citizen trainees had a meeting to urge the Canadian government to also request an investigation by the IHFFC. During the meeting, other members held vigil outside. They sang and handed out information about the bombing to passers-by.

The march concluded at the US Federal Building where Kody Hersh from Philadelphia, PA and Douglas Johnson Hatlem from Chicago, IL knelt in front of the main doors preventing access as they prayed. Federal security locked the doors and rerouted pedestrian traffic, while CPT members and other supporters held a prayer vigil in memory of the innocent lives lost in Kunduz, Afghanistan. 

As of Sunday 11 October, no member country has yet requested an investigation from the IHFFC and Doctors Without Borders continues to speak out against the hospital bombing.


.http://www.msf.org/article/msf-kunduz-attack-ihffc-awaits-us-afghanistan-consent-proceed-independent-investigation

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 23, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 23, 2015

Pray for the refugees and asylum seekers who continue to land on the Greek island of Lesvos.  Pray for the CPT Europe workers and all the international workers, Greeks and tourists who reach out in compassion to ease their suffering.

 

 *Epixel for Sunday,September 27, 2015 
 Guardian video featuring CPT Europe workers helping refugees     
We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have
    escaped.

Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124:7-8 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.