Christian Peacemaker Teams activities in Europe.

EUROPE: A bold new step for CPT in Europe


Alihas made the perilous journey to Europe twice. After the first time, when he was only in his teens, he was deported back to Afghanistan – where he knew nobody, since he grew up as a refugee in Iran. He resolved to come back to Europe, and this time to stand up for his human right to stay.

During the third annual European CPT Convergence in Malmö, Sweden, in May 2013, Ali, now in his mid-twenties, invited CPTers and supporters to join him in solidarity. He announced that refugees in Sweden were organizing a one-month protest march to demand fair treatment and the right to build their lives without the threat of deportation. He invited CPT to accompany the march. Although it was short notice, several reservists were able to respond to this call.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE REFLECTION: Finding the Church’s place 250 years after the Royal Proclamation.

Three years ago in Algonquin territory, an elder of Barriere Lake taught me about the Three Figure Agreement wampum belt.  It displays a trio of human figures; French, English and Algonquin, standing hand-in-hand beside the unmistakable form of the cross. “Some folks get angry when they see that cross” said the elder through his translator. “But I tell them why it’s there: because the Church promised to make sure that the Europeans kept their promises.”

As a Christian aiming to live and work in solidarity with the First Peoples of this land, I find it hard to ignore the Church’s history of abuse and betrayal as it collaborated with the colonial project.  Discerning how to be a faithful Christian given that knowledge is a challenge.  

Recently I accompanied a delegation of First Nation chiefs, elders & veterans to London, capital of my UK homeland, a city built on the spoils of Empire and cluttered with colonial mementos and monuments. A number of other Christians of both native and non-native heritage joined the delegation to mark 250 years since the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that set the stage for treaty-making.  In discussions, the role of the Church in these treaties became clearer to me.

Indigenous nations had long-established forms and traditions for international treaty-making, but the British government did not adopt a consistent policy regarding treaties until the Royal Proclamation.

 The Church’s significance for Indigenous negotiators can be emphasised by considering different interpretations of “treaty”—the European understanding of them as surrender of land, and the Indigenous conception as a relationship for mutual sharing of lands, technology and gifts. If a treaty is covenant, not land surrender, the spiritual dimension is central, and the Church’s presence must have reassured negotiators that these newcomers understood what they were committing to.

SWEDEN: CPTers participate in asylum seekers/refugee rights march from Malmö to Stockholm, Sweden

[The following  is a letter that Christopher Hatton wrote to his fellow members in CPT Europe about his experience participating in the march for refugee rights beginning in Malmö, Sweden, where some ugly anti-immigrant violence has occurred.  The increasingly military character of European Union immigration and asylum policy has caused the deaths of thousands of migrants in recent years and poses a grave threat to refugees' human rights.]

21 July 2013

Dear all,

Just would like to say it was an interesting, and at times wonderful, experience to be on the March from Malmö to Stockholm.

"Asylum Relay 2013 - from Malmö to Stockholm for a
humane refugee policy

The asylum seekers/refugee rights march started from Malmö in southern Sweden and was very well attended (ca. 500 people including our fellow CPTer, Linus Bengtsson) with excellent and positive media coverage.  Approximately 300 people then walked onto Lund—really good mix of people, including a strong faith-based support group, which most of the marchers appreciated.

  Myself and my brother joined the group on Day 2 for the final three kilometres into Landskrona.  We were clearly the second (43) and third (35)  oldest people there.  The spirit of the march was young and dynamic with plenty of humour.

We walked in solidarity, sharing stories; lots of listening and eye opening moments for me along the way. I spoke to all of the organisers (mainly young male Dari/Farsi speakers from Afghanistan/Iran) and several other walkers and supporters. One of  my favourite discussions was with a wonderful spiritual Iraqi Kurd, not just because of the subjects but because of his calming presence. He already knows of CPT and is currently reading about Anglicans and Quakers who helped abolish the slave trade. As a mystic friend of Jesus, he was very interested in attending a Quaker meeting.  I also mentioned that CPT has a presence in Sweden he might be interested in contacting.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 24 July 2013


Prayers for Peacemakers, 24 July July 2013

Epixel* for 28 July 2013
Love and faithfulness meet together;
    righteousness and peace kiss each
Psalm 85:10
     *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches
related to andappearing with a text from the
upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary

Give thanks for the nearly 500 participants from all over the world who took part in the asylum seekers / refugee rights march started from Malmö to Lund Sweden.  Several representatives of CPT Europe were among the marchers.

MALMÖ, SWEDEN: CPTers “welcome refugees” during annual Europe meeting

About thirty people musically “welcomed” refugees to the European Union  (EU) during a public witness Saturday, 11 May, in Malmö, Sweden.  They also held a public litany to commemorate more than 16,000 refugees who have died since 1990 as a result of the EU militarizing its borders.

Only a week later, Malmö hosted the Eurovision Song Contest with the slogan “We are one.”  “We want people to take notice that it is hypocritical to have such a declaration when Europe's borders are highly fortified and militarised,” said Laura Ciaghi, one of the participants.

BERLIN: CPT Europe public witness supports Las Pavas community’s return to its land

 On 25 March 2011, under an overcast sky, a group of CPTers walk slowly with heads bowed from the Wittenbergplatz U-Bahn station towards the Colombian embassy in Berlin, Germany. At the embassy, the group divided, with most of participants remaining in the entrance hall, performing a Beatitudes-based Lenten litany with the theme of embracing justice and hope amid the circumstances of land displacement and corporate greed.  Meanwhile, a smaller group walked upstairs to deliver a letter to the ambassadress. This letter, composed by CPT Colombia, highlights the history and current situation of the Las Pavas community.

GERMANY: First CPT-Europe Convergence to take place 25-27 March 2011.

March 25-27, 2011, the first Christian Peacemaker Teams’ “European Regional Convergence” will be hosted by the Berlin Mennonite congregation.  For two days, CPT Corps members and supporters from several European countries will pray together, exchange thoughts and views, and participate in a public witness.  CPT Corps members will arrive one day earlier to discuss issues of oppression, outreach opportunities, and strategies in an expanding CPT.

SWEDEN: CPTer Martin Smedjeback wins FOR nonviolence award

On 2 October 2010, Gandhi’s birthday, CPTer Martin Smedjeback received the non-violence award of the Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation (SweFOR). He has worked as secretary of non-violence for SweFOR and is now non-violence facilitator and a peace activist.

AT-TUWANI/ABORIGINAL JUSTICE REFLECTION: Seeking the peace of Palestine by engaging our own settler reality

A life-changing thought came to mind this past week while I was serving in the village of at-Tuwani.  I was out with Palestinian shepherds, watching the Jewish settlers of Ma'on construct another large chicken barn on stolen Palestinian land.  As I watched, all of a sudden, the armed Jewish settlers and their bulldozers vanished from sight, only to be replaced by other white settlers—persons of European origin, carrying Bibles, guns, and Christian civilization.  Then the Palestinian shepherds next to me, a couple of young Muslim teenagers, also disappeared, and in their place stood two men of First Nations origin.  And before I knew it, the desert land beneath my feet began to tremble, and thousands of huge Douglas Firs erupted from the hillsides, while a raging river full of salmon and steelhead burst forth from the rocky valley below.

SWEDEN: A disarmer’s letter from prison

A Swedish CPTer, in prison for disabling weapons of war, and his fellow inmates introduce each other to new worlds and convictions.