CPT INTERNATIONAL: Twelve peacemakers of Christmas, part 1

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CPTnet
31 December 2012
CPT INTERNATIONAL:Twelve peacemakers of
Christmas, part 1

by Tim Nafziger and Sarah Thompson*

The
following is a very condensed version of the
original in Tim Nafziger’s blog
 at the Mennonite.org.

Merry Christmas! For each of the twelve days of
Christmas, Christian Peacemaker Teams is honoring a specific CPTer. Here are
the first six. 

 
  photo by Tim Nafziger; The World of Smiles video

First day of Christmas: Pierre Shantz

After fifteen years of
full-time service with CPT, Pierre is the longest serving field-based
peacemaker and also perhaps the silliest CPTer. He has served teams in Haiti, Hebron,
Chiapas and, since 2001, Colombia.

Second
day of Christmas: Sandra Milena Rincon

 

Milena, a full-time CPTer
since 2003, is support coordinator for the Colombia and Iraq teams. She served
on the Colombia team before moving to her current roles.

Milena embodies the importance of CPT’s partner relationships.
“Truly, [CPT] would not be where we are now if it were not for the local
communities who have given us the opportunity to… support their nonviolent
resistance to powers that will not allow them to live in their land with
dignity,” she said in a presentation
at the 2009 Mennonite World Conference in Paraguay.

 

Third
day of Christmas: Chris Sabas

Chris joined the Aboriginal
Justice team in Toronto, Canada a year ago on 3 January. Happy anniversary, Chris!

During
the last week of 2012, she launched one of the most effective CPT Facebook
campaigns
, collecting dozens of photos showing people’s support of Chief
Theresa Spence’s hunger strike
. This is part of a broader movement across
Canada taking forms from mall flash mobs to the blockade
of a railroad near Sarnia
.

Fourth day of Christmas: Kathy Moorhead-Thiessen

 

Kathy has worked with CPT in
Iraqi Kurdistan since 2010. “I have a wonderful husband who supports me in
the unusual lifestyle of going to IK for five months a year,” she said.

“What I have noticed
about Kathy is her willingness to learn, be vulnerable, and try,” said Chris
Sabas, noting also that “she is brutally honest and intuitive, and willing
to have the hard discussions.”

 

Fifth
day of Christmas: Tarek Abuata

“Jesus’ message is
to love your neighbor and love your enemy,” said Tarek, CPT’s Palestine Project
Support Coordinator. “But what if your neighbor is your enemy? Love
doesn’t cancel love; we have to love our neighbors twice as much in this
case!”

“Jesus
asked us to turn our cheek, not our eyes. I look into a soldier’s eyes directly
for him to see my soul through my eyes, and in the process, he sees his own
soul through that mirror, connecting us at a profound level that can’t be
verbalized, and waking us both out of our societal self-inflicted
nightmares.”

Sixth
Day of Christmas: Julián Gutiérrez Castaño

 

Julián brought his skills in writing and political anaylisis to CPT’s Colombia
team in 2005.

Three years later he joined
the Aboriginal Justice Team (AJT), becoming the first Latin American CPTer to
serve in a North American project.

“He
embraces life. He enjoys it. I can hear his laugh… and can see tears of joy
fill his eyes, as they often do when he tells a story,” like this one,
said teammate Chris Sabas. He is also very committed to advancing the voices of
the marginalized.

Julián
will lead AJT’s spring 2013 delegation to Grassy. Sign up here.

Update (6 January 2013): see also days days seven through twelve or read all twelve full versions on CPT’s Facebook page.

*Tim Nafziger Is CPT’s
Interim Assistant Director. Sarah Thompson is CPT’s Outreach Coordinator.

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