Archive

January 3rd

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli Border Police start fire, destroy family’s home with tear gas grenade

On 26 December 2013, while CPTers were doing their routine monitoring of the school patrol at the Qitoun checkpoint, schoolboys threw several volleys of stones at the checkpoint for about a minute.  Border police responded by throwing a sound bomb and then firing a teargas grenade.

January 1st

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Twelve Peacemakers of Christmas, part 1

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Once more we are honouring a specific CPTer for their peacemaking work on each of the twelve days of Christmas. #WeAreGrateful

December 17th, 2013

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Sarah Thompson appointed CPT Executive Director

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Sarah Thompson appointed CPT Executive Director
17 December 2013

Christian Peacemaker Teams is pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Thompson to the position of CPT Executive Director, starting in January 2014.

Thompson brings a wide range of experiences to the position. Through her work in the international peace movement as a public-speaker and community organizer, she is adept at bringing people together across lines of difference and building momentum for positive social change. Her Christian church involvements include six years of volunteer work as the North American representative to Mennonite World Conference's Youth and Young Adult Executive Committee and Global Youth Summit planning group, as well as service with Mennonite Central Committee in Jerusalem, Washington, D.C. Advocacy office, and in her hometown of Elkhart, Indiana, United States.

Thompson has traveled across various continents through activist and volunteer work with feminist anti-war movements, Spanish translation opportunities, the Fulbright Scholarship, and Spelman College (graduated summa cum laude in 2006 with a Comparative Women's Studies & International Studies double major, and a minor in Spanish).

A 2011 Masters of Divinity graduate of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Thompson writes, “I am thrilled and humbled to participate with CPT in this capacity. I feel called to the spiritual practice of building partnerships that transform violence and oppression. I am grateful to all who have gone before me to make this organization a place where I can use my gifts, bring my questions, encounter challenges, and rely on support from allies and colleagues.”

Thompson recalls, “I first learned about CPT's edgy peacemaking programs and analysis of structural oppression when I was in Peace Club at Bethany Christian High School in Goshen, Indiana (1999-2002). After attending the CPT Peacemaker Congress my sophomore year, I knew that CPT would be a part of my future.  I was thinking more along the lines of when I retired, but was delighted to have been invited to participate sooner.”

Outgoing Director Carol Rose says, “This is going to be great! We are beginning a really exciting period in CPT’s history.  I am confident to hand over leadership to Sarah who is creative, capable, and caring. Her activism grounded in deep faith, coupled with her brilliant thinking, brings a dynamism that will help keep CPT moving with joy and partnering powerfully.”

Thompson served as a member of CPT’s Steering Committee (2010-2012) and has worked for the past year as CPT’s Outreach Coordinator. “I am very grateful for these opportunities,” she says. “Like my previous work with grassroots, political, and social-justice organization, working through CPT has been a deeply formative and positive experience for me.” The focus of the Executive Director role will be on strategic directions for organizational development, undoing oppressions, and fund- and friend-raising.

To introduce yourself to Sarah, and/or to schedule her for a speaking engagement or fundraising event for CPT, please contact her at director@cpt.org. In light of this good news, please share this announcement widely, and click here to make a gift in support of Sarah as she begins as Executive Director.

December 14th

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: SWN makes hasty retreat from Signigtog region of New Brunswick

In an apparent about face, the U.S.-based oil and gas company, Southwestern Energy Resources Canada (“SWN”) has suspended its seismic testing operations in New Brunswick, announcing it will return in 2015.  The company issued its brief public statement late Friday afternoon, 6 December.

Previously, the company’s stated intention was to finish the exploration phase of its contract with the provincial government, despite ongoing opposition by Mi’kmaq, Acadian, and Anglophone protectors of the land.  CPT can confirm that SWN did not finish testing nor gather all necessary data regarding gas deposits in Kent County.

Protectors had maintained an encampment close to Highway 11 in Kent County and were not deterred by consistent heavy RCMP presence accompanying SWN nor the multiple arrests of protestors made in the last month.  (CPT partner and Elsipogtog resident Lorraine Clair was one of those arrested.  See interview.)

After a judge refused to extend the gas company’s initial injunction against protectors on 21 October, SWN filed another injunction on 22 November, which a second judge did grant.  Similar in content to the first injunction, it prohibited protectors from coming within a certain distance of SWN equipment, and/or impeding SWN’s work.

New Brunswick also officially joined the injunction in support of SWN.  New Brunswick Premier David Alward has called the protectors’ opposition a “beachhead” and refuses to engage in dialogue with those who oppose shale gas exploration.

December 13th

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Hajji Hussein is free! Thank you for your e-mails

 




Hussein sits with boy on lap

After seventy-nine days in prison and four court hearings, Hajji Hussein has finally re-united with his family.  On 9 December 2013, the Criminal Court of Appeal acquitted Hajji Hussein of all charges brought up against him by the former Director-General of the Asaish, Hakim Nadir.  The court acknowledged that a report, which the members of the Human Rights Committee of the Kurdistan Parliament compiled following a visit with Hajji Hussein in prison after he was tortured, was sufficient to prove his innocence.  This release marks the second time the court has acquitted Hussein of the same charges and the second time it has liberated him from incarceration.  Together with the first stint he served in prison, he lost over ten months of his life, and much more, for refusing to give false testimony even though his inquisitors beat and threatened him.

Members of CPT’s Iraqi Kurdistan team are deeply moved by the efforts of Kak Umer, Hussein’s brother and lawyer, whose tireless work has truly moved mountains, and rejoice with the family.  The team would like to thank everyone who sent out emails, prayed, shared this story, or performed other actions in support of Hajji Hussein's release.

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 Rincón 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.

December 12th

COLOMBIA REFLECTION: Something Beautiful in Barranca

CPTnet
13 December 2013
COLOMBIA REFLECTION: Something Beautiful in Barranca

by Hannah Redekop

 

  

CPTers Pierre Shantz, Vania and Hannah Redekop cheering at the Women's World Futsal Championships in Barrancabermaja. 

Barrancabermeja (or Barranca, as the locals call it) perches on the banks of the Magdalena River, one more port along the journey north from the mountains of Neiva to the Caribbean Sea.  She is a small, sleepy oil town that sizzles with tropical sunbeams and an uncivil war tied to the petroleum that pumps under her skin.  

There isn’t much excitement here most days. The city lacks cultural attractions, good entertainment, pulsing night-life—anything at all, really, to warrant a stroll downtown.  But the first week of November proved otherwise.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli immigration denies entry to another Palestine team member

 

On the night of 5 December 2013, Israeli immigration authorities denied entry to Patrick Thompson at the Allenby Bridge connecting Jordan to Occupied Palestine. Thompson was attempting to return for another stint on the team in Hebron.  He initially told authorities that he was entering as a tourist, to visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Tel Aviv, and then points south, before re-entering Jordan. An Israeli official was concerned about his previous stay of four months in Israel.

After detailed questioning over a period of three hours and a search of his computer hard drive, authorities found a logo of CPT and told him they were denying him entry because he had lied to them. Thompson told them that he specifically did not mention his work with CPT or his destination as the West Bank because of the way Israeli authorities had treated many others when they volunteered this information willingly.  Authorities denied entry to Jonathan Brenneman, another CPTer, in September, when he declared his membership in CPT and his plans to travel to Hebron.  Thompson then waited another hour or so before the authorities officially denied him entry. When he boarded a bus to go back across the border into Jordan it was 1:30 a.m., a full six hours after his arrival at Israeli passport control.

Thompson is the fourth CPTer to whom Israel has denied entry this year. In addition to denying entry to Brenneman in September, authorities turned away two reservists in July because of stamps in their passports from their time with the Iraqi Kurdistan team—even though the Kurdish Regional Government has friendly relations with Israel.

December 11th

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 11, 2013

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 11, 2013

Ask God to bless CPT’s new Plowing and Planting Campaign, which will provide funds for the psycho-social care of CPTers and help retire the debt on CPT’s Chicago office building.

Related Story:

Plowing and Planting Campaign | Christian Peacemaker Teams

  Epixel* for 15 September 2013
 
 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer
waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives
the early and the late rains. 
James 5:7
 

CPTers from all teams gather under a tree for a conversation together near the
end of our 2012 retreat. Can you join us in creating more spaces for renewal
like this one?
 
                                                                                              Photo by Tim Nafziger

 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from
the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

December 10th

CPT INTERNATIONAL: CPT launches Plowing and Planting Campaign; Director Carol Rose announces retirement

CPTnet
10 December 2013
CPT INTERNATIONAL: CPT launches Plowing and Planting Campaign; Director Carol Rose announces retirement

On 3 December, CPT launched its first major gift campaign: Plowing and Planting.  Drawing on the image of swords into plowshares, we are preparing our field.  Can you join us?  We have two goals:

 • Plowing under the debt for our Chicago training center and office.

The building has served us well since 2010.  Paying off the remaining debt will free up $15,000 a year over the next four fiscal years.  That amount is the average annual cost of sustaining one CPTer.  At the start of the campaign, this debt stood at $69,500.

 • Planting new seeds of psycho-social care for CPTers. In 2013, we established a circle of care for CPTers under trained counselor Karen Brandow. In 2014, we are planning a weeklong retreat and hope to provide in-person care for our peacemakers in the field.  Our goal in this area is $40,500.

Do you know people who might be in a position to make a major gift to support peacemaking?  Would you consider a gift yourself?  Please email outreach@cpt.org.

Our goal is to raise $110,000 by August 24, 2014.  Thanks to generous donors, we have already raised $42,100 in donations and pledges.  As part of the Plowing and Planting Campaign, outreach coordinator Sarah Thompson, director Carol Rose, assistant director Tim Nafziger, and reservist King Grossman will be meeting with prospective donors.