Peacemaker Congress

Prayers for Peacemakers, July 16, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, July 16, 2015

Pray for the participants and speakers at the Peacemaker Congress 2015 this weekend.  Ask for God to undergird the proceedings, so that the people present may find creative new ways to address the Powers who shut off water to the poor in Detroit, and abuse the marginalized in all the locations where Christian Peacemaker Teams works.


DETROIT, USA: International Social Movement Gathering, Peacemaker Congress stand for people’s right to water, housing

 

CPT Executive Director Shares Thompson shares
 about the potential for intentional communities
 to foster a more sustainable future.  Also pictured, 
Monica Lewis Patrick of We the People of Detroit.

Have you ever paused before turning on the faucet and thought, “Wow I can’t believe how incredible it is that I have running water?”  Probably not.  Most of us have never known life without running water in our homes.  Though we each use gallons of water each day for cooking, drinking and hygiene, seldom, if ever, do we think about how dependent our lives are on having access to clean water.  

Until we don’t have access… 

On 29-31 May, CPT Executive Director Sarah Thompson, Intern Hayden Abene, and CPT Palestine team member Cody O’Rourke attended the International Social Movement Gathering on Affordable Housing in Detroit, MI to see firsthand how the city of Detroit is systematically denying thousands of people the human right to clean water and housing.  Hosted by the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO)and the Detroit People’s Water Board, they joined over 300 people from forty-seven states and ten countries to share stories of injustice, resilience and generosity, and to strategize actionable ways to defend the human right to water, sanitation and affordable housing. 

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Christian Peacemaker Teams, movement building and the Detroit Peacemaker Congress

Sarah Thompson
CPT Executive Director

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) began with these questions: 

What if pacifist Christians trained as hard for peace as militaries (including militant Christians) trained for war?  What if pacifist Christians (such as the Mennonites, Brethren, and Quakers) were willing to sacrifice as much for peace as a soldier is willing to sacrifice for war?  What could happen? 

Christian Peacemaker Teams is part of the answer to that question. Having begun in 1986, in the crucible of Latin American solidarity movements, CPT has continued to thrive within various social movements as a creative, faith-inspired organization committed to undoing oppressions and to strategic peacemaking interventions in situations of violent conflict.  Joining with you all—people who belong to social movements, have risked a lot, sacrificed much, and experimented with healthier ways of sharing this planet—enlivens our work.  It is one reason we hold a Peacemaker Congress every other year—this year it will take place in Detroit—so that our workers in the field can engage with you, our supporters. and new people interested in movement building. 

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Next Chicago CPT training October 2015; Applications due by 1 March 2015

 

 
 

CPT trainees participate
 in public witness at
Israeli consulate in
Chicago during
 Gaza War, July 2014

Due to an exciting opportunity to partner with groups in Detroit, Michigan USA for a Peacemaker Congress in July 2015, Christian Peacemaker Teams has set the dates of 2 October – 2 November 2015 for the next training to in Chicago.  The deadline for applications has moved to 1 March 2015.  This shift will allow more time between issuing invitations and starting training for applicants who may need to secure visas in order to participate.

Stay tuned for more information about the July Peacemaker Congress!

CPT is committed to anti-oppression work both within and outside of CPT, and we seek others interested in this work.  We are seeking applicants to train as part of our Reserve Corps.  At this time, no stipended (half to full time) openings are available in the Corps.  All CPT Reservists are eligible to apply for stipended positions as they become available.  For answers to more specific questions, contact Adriana Cabrera Velasquez, Personnel Coordinator, at personnel@cpt.org <mailto:personnel@cpt.org>. 

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Sacred power infuses CPT Americas Convergence, Giving Tuesday

During the well-attended CPT workshop at the School of the Americas vigil 22-24 November 2013, we mingled sharing from teams and undoing oppressions with moments of song and silence.  We sought to make the workshop more than just informational.  We wanted to embody in the workshop the presence and power of the sacred, because acknowledging that sacred power is what makes this life-work sustainable for us. 

Sarah Thompson facilitated invitationally, and Chris Knestrick wrote the following prayer, interspersing sections with stories CPTers shared (Sandra Milena RincĂłn Vidal about Colombia and Iraqi Kurdistan, Peter Haresnape about Aboriginal Justice, Tim Nafziger about Undoing Oppressions, and Jonathan Brenneman about Palestine):

 
 CPTers at conclusion of 24 November SOA Watch vigil

PRAYER

We must commit:

               We can only move out as far as we have moved in.

May we commit to the work of undoing oppression in ourselves, organizations, and communities.

                Only in doing so can we build right relationships.

…

The workshop was a part of the larger CPT Americas Convergence, a gathering that brought together new and seasoned CPTers and our supporters, to join the mass mobilization for de-militarization 22-24 November.  We accompanied events happening at the gates of Ft. Benning US military training base, and witnessed to the conditions and stories of the immigrants detained at Stewart Detention Center.  Former Steering Committee member Anton Flores and the Alterna Community organization he leads hosted us with much love and integrity.

Soon after everyone returned home CPT participated for the first time in #Givingtuesday.  CPT organizers set a one-day goal of raising $1,100 (1% of the Plowing and Planting Major Donor Campaign goal) and we accomplished it!  Both the spirit of togetherness present at the CPT Americas Convergence, and working collectively to raise the funds needed are deep encouragements for the long haul of building partnerships to transform violence and oppression.

CPT INTERNATIONAL: CPT Americas Convergence to participate in School of the Americas witness at Fort Benning, 20-24 November

 

Join us this November for the first ever CPT Americas Convergence in Georgia, USA.   CPTers and supporters from Turtle Island (North America) to the Southern Cone will gather for five days of formative events including worship, public protest, fellowship, accompaniment, and the opportunity for nonviolent direct action Wednesday, 20 November through Sunday, 24 November 2013.  

CPT will partner with the Alterna Community and former Steering Committee member Anton Flores-Maisonet, based in LaGrange, GA to participate in an annual public witness and civil disobedience action at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin.   Stewart, a privately run prison, is the largest immigrant detention center in the United States. Alterna and Georgia Detention Watch have long monitored this facility, documenting violations of human rights and detention standards and organizing vigils to remember the detainees trapped there as well as Roberto MartĂ­nez Medina who died while in detention at Stewart.

Following the witness in Lumpkin, CPT will join thousands gathered at the gates of Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA to call for the closure of the infamous U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA).  Since 1946, this “School of Assassins” has trained over 64,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, psychological warfare, military intelligence, and interrogation tactics.  SOA graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people, targeting educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor.   They have tortured, raped, “disappeared,” assassinated, and massacred hundreds and thousands of Latin Americans.   Although the official name changed in 2001 from SOA to WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), the school under any name is synonymous with torture and impunity.

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Elce Redmond on Bringing International Peacemaking to the Local Community—Peacemaker Congress Video

In his presentation Elce Redmond talked about his experience building a peace force in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. He drew on a number of different models, including his experiences in Palestine and Iraq with CPT. â€śWhat we need to build in our community is a peace army." Elce said, "An army composed of individual citizens who are banded together to remove and prevent violence in our communities.”

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Link to Sylvia Morrison's Peacemaker Congress Presentation

The link to the 15 November 2011 Peacemaker Congress release about Sylvia Morrison's presentation did not come through in the e-mail.  You may access herpresentation at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV8BEdhvLyI.

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Sylvia Morrison on Honoring Story—Peacemaker Congress Video

[Note: Over the coming weeks CPTnet will be sharing videos of presentations at the "Re-imagining Partnerships for Peace: A 25th Anniversary Celebration."  Readers are encouraged to share these videos widely so that the ripples from our Peacemaker Congress may continue far beyond the gathering.]

Sylvia Morrison, Undoing Racism Coordinator for CPT, welcomed Congress participants during the opening worship on Thursday, 13 October 2011.  She spoke on the significance and power of stories, emphasizing how words can be used as a tool for social action.  “Stories have the power to transport us to places we do not know.  Stories have the power to introduce us to people we never met," she said.  "Stories can make us laugh; they can make us cry.  Stories cause us to feel all kinds of emotions.  Stories inform, stories educate and stories entertain.”