Public Witness

DETROIT: Conversation as Action-CPT Goes to the Source

photo: Hayden Abene
CPT Detroit Delegation gathered at Source Booksellers for a presentation and conversation on food, faith, and sustainability.  Pictured (from left) delegate Cate Desjardins, delegation leader Sarah Thompson, delegate Ian Sawyer, and bookstore owner Janet Webster.

Plato described it as finding your way out of the cave; social activist Grace Lee Boggs spoke about the evolution of our thinking; Jesus said to know the truth is to become free. They, and so many others, observed that our minds are often limited by illusions. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) takes great care to place ourselves in the path of individuals who can help us more clearly see the truth of what is happening in our world and the way we are attached to false narratives. Having given ourselves into the ongoing work of freeing our hearts and minds, we also seek to create conditions that bear public witness to the search for truth. None of us can leave the cave of internalized oppression on our own. We need people who have experienced the joy of this journey to invite, walk with us, hold us accountable, and celebrate with us.

Often times, actions that bear witness to truth in the context of entrenched oppression take the form of protest, transgression of unjustly drawn boundaries, or creative venues for speech. But for our Detroit Delegation action, CPTers went directly to the Source. Source Booksellers is a small independent bookstore specializing in the kinds of books that awaken consciousness and support people and communities seeking truth together. Storeowner Janet Webster Jones collaborated with delegation leader Sarah Thompson to host a conversation focused on food, faith and sustainability. Members of the delegation presented stories guided by the five principles outlined by Mennonite and writer Doris Janzen Longacre in Living More with Less (1980)—a practical guide for living in sustainable ways that are mindful of both the future of the planet and the plight of the poor:

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.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 25 February 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, 25 February 2015

Pray for the people of Hebron.  25 February 2014 marks the twenty-first anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, when a U.S.-born Israeli settler murdered twenty-nine Muslim men and boys while they prayed there. The Israeli military killed and injured dozens more Palestinians in the demonstrations that followed, imposed a strict 100-day curfew, and, among many more punitive responses on the Palestinian population of Hebron began a process that led to illegally restricting them from accessing Shuhada Street.  This week, there will be several nonviolent demonstrations protesting the closing of Shuhada Street. Pray for the safety of demonstrators, as Israeli soldiers will likely respond with tear gas, sound bombs, and violent arrests. Pray for the safety of all people in the Old City, as Israeli military oppression brings collective punishment to shop owners, families, and young children. Pray for the CPT Hebron Team who will be in the demonstrations.

 *Epixel for Sunday, March 1, 2015
 For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard
when I cried to him. Psalm 22:24
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's  Revised Common Lectionary  readings.

CHICAGO, USA: CPTers lament Palestinian deaths; two arrested at Israeli consulate.

On Friday, 18 July, the day after Israel announced its ground invasion of Gaza, about thirty members and supporters of Christian Peacemakerprocession Teams (CPT) converged at the Israeli Consulate in downtown Chicago to lament the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians and denounce Israel’s indefensible violence. 

Vigil participants, representing at least seven countries, carried large photographs of Palestinian children killed in Gaza.  As they walked slowly in mournful procession around the skyscraper that houses the Israeli Consulate, a single voice rang out over a loud speaker, piercing the silence with the name of each Palestinian who had died as a result of Israel’s military operations since 12 June 2014. 

TORONTO, CANADA: Multi-faith vigil begins at Israeli consulate to condemn targeting of civilians, blockade of Gaza

Jews, Muslims, Christians, and people of conscience have begun a continuous three-day vigil outside the Israeli Consulate in downtown Toronto.  Starting at 9:00 a.m. this morning, 24 July, the vigil will continue until the afternoon of Saturday, 26 July, 2014.

 Ursula Franklin

The vigil condemns the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, the seven-year blockade of Gaza and Canadian complicity in the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.  It is calling for the immediate cessation of the Israel’s assault on Gaza, now in its sixteenth day. 

Canadian Jewish Holocaust survivor Ursula Franklin, when speaking against Israel’s 2009 attack on Gaza, said “Never Again” means “never again for all people.” 

Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has recently described Israeli policies as an “incremental genocide.”

Concerned that Israel may be in violation of international law, Amnesty International is calling for an international investigation into the conduct of Israeli forces. In the course of its offensive, Israel has targeted hospitals and civilian homes.

Christian Peacemaker Teams members will be maintaining a continuous presence at the vigil.


CHICAGO, USA: Christian Peacemaker Teams to mourn Operation Brothers Keeper/Protective Edge deaths at Israeli Consulate

On 18 July 2014, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), friends and supporters will gather at the Israeli Consulate in downtown Chicago to mourn collectively and individually the deaths of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Operation Brother’s Keeper and Operation Protective Edge.  CPT trainees, Peacemaker Corps members, and others wishing to show solidarity with those who are suffering, will form a procession, carrying pictures of the dead and reading the names of all who have died.  Some members of the group will then attempt to engage members of the Israeli Consulate in dialogue.

Mohamed Abu Khdeir, 16Mohamed Malka, 3

ACTION: If you are in the Chicagoland area, join us at 11:30 a.m. Friday outside the Israeli Consulate (500 E Madison St.) for the procession.  If you have Facebook, consider changing your profile picture to an image of one of the Palestinians whom Israel has killed (Available for downloading here)—or you can right-click on the images in this release.  Pay attention to Palestinian coverage of events, including the website and consider supporting Palestinian civil society’s call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (see Continue to pray alongside Palestinians, Israelis, and all those around the world seeking peace and justice in the region.

Look for updates about the action, and CPT’s support for Palestinian nonviolent resistance, on Facebook [] and Twitter [].

TORONTO, ON: CPT supports ‘The Secret Trial Five’ at ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice

On 18 April 2014, some three hundred people participated in the annual Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice by leaving the Church of the Holy photoTrinity in downtown Toronto under grey skies and light rain, and walking to several ‘stations’ in the city that represent environmental or social injustices.

At a plain grey multi-story building—the location of Federal Courtrooms—fourteen Toronto CPTers led the crowd in a responsive reading prepared by CPTer Peter Haresnape, praying for the opening of our eyes, hearts, hands, borders, and society with respect to the unholy security state’s hidden agenda of racism and Islamophobia.

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS: CPTers arrested at The Hague Nuclear Security summit—report by Maarten van der Werf

On 24 March 2014, CPTer Maarten van der Werf, along with Cocky de Graaf and Jet Visser, who had participated in CPT delegations to Palestine, were part of an effort by Dutch peace organizations and the Amsterdam Catholic Worker to hand-deliver a message to world leaders attending the nuclear summit at The Hague.  The message, according to van der Werf, was essentially this: “The commitment to nuclear disarmament is a better way to achieve nuclear security than enhancing the protection of present nuclear installations.”… Van der Werf wrote later of the experience,

We were arrested after diverting from the compulsory path to a field where we were allowed to demonstrate.  We, however, were not demonstrating, we were going to hand deliver a letter to the world leaders!  After 150 meters, we were met by an overpowering crowd of regular police and military police.  An estimated sixty participants were arrested.  We received fines or [orders to appear in court.]

I sat the full six hours [the maximum allowed] in a cell of one by two meters without any windows or outside light coming in.  It was an experience of complete loss of control over my situation.  It was very boring as well, so [it was a good time to reflect and I had some of the following thoughts]:

Our experience and the topic of the summit are all about security.  Security and overreaction have to do with fear.

We were mostly people over sixty who also participated in the actions against cruise missiles beginning in the 1980s.  B-61 bombs are still here and will be modernized (the nuclear part as well as new tailpieces to make them GPS guided bombs).  Business for Boeing!

The summit was about terrorists.  Can we trust ourselves with a nuclear arsenal?  Are we sure we are not going to use it?  If we decide not to use them, threatening is without substance, and we had better make them into bicycles.

COLOMBIA: Get ready for Days of Prayer and Action 5-7 April 2014

Every year, communities across North America come together in solidarity with our Colombia brothers and sisters in an effort to show policymakers that they want real change in U.S. and Canadian policy towards Colombia.  With the Colombian government and the largest guerrilla group, the FARC, currently engaged in peace negotiations, there is renewed hope for an end to the war in Colombia.  After five decades of unspeakable violence, forced displacements, widespread massacres, threats against unionists and human rights activists, and the economic and social exclusion of indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, let us join Colombians in saying it is time for peace.  This year's Days of Prayer and Action are April 5-7.

Directly translated, the word “adelante” means “forward.”  “Adelante” can also mean “ahead,” with the implied desire to move past the current situation to something further on, to something beyond.  Peace and justice are not static concepts and neither are the people of Colombia.  With one foot in front of the other, Colombians are already moving ahead and going forward in the work of peace and justice throughout the country.  We hope that you will use the resources below and join with the organizations, churches, and ordinary people in Colombia in their desire and action to move forward.

¡ADELANTE!  Peace with justice for ALL Colombians!

Dedicate a worship service to peace with justice for all Colombians.  Included are prayers, songs, poems, stories, reflections, and more.  Click here for a bulletin insert to engage your congregati


Join our Colombian sisters and brothers
in moving peace forward!  This packet
includes three ways YOU can make a
Advocate for a change in US
policy by writing letters to Congress.
Create a display or craft night and what
steps are needed to  finally bring peace
with justice to Colombia. Demonstrate your
commitment to Colombia with  a public action.

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Don't forget the living

The people of Halabja and these young protesters
ask the world not to forget the dead, but also not
to forget the living.