Christian Peacemaker Teams activities in Europe.

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 23, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 23, 2014

Pray for those attending CPT’s European Convergence this weekend in Aalsmeer, Netherlands and those participating in the solidarity witness with refugees and asylum-seekers at the Border Prison in Schiphol, Netherlands.  Ask that creative new strategies arise out of the gathering that will help CPT-Europe address the life and death issues of immigration at Europe’s borders.

Epixel* for 27 April 2014

Photo taken by CPT-Europe delegation of memorial
to refugees who died trying to reach Greek island
of Lesbos.

 Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
Psalm 16:1

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

GREECE: The priest and the fisherman—a report from the CPT-Europe's Borderlands delegation

On Thursday morning our boat arrived on the island of Lesbos, where one can see can Turkey on the other side of the straits.

Papa Stratis

We drove up to the village of Kalloni (central Lesbos) to meet with Father Stratis, a Greek Orthodox priest who has been helping refugees for ten years and his assistant, George.  They arrive in the village soaking wet and exhausted, often having walked many hours.  Greek citizens face jail time if they pick up the migrants (similar to U.S. citizens at the border with Mexico).  If they know their way, it is a ten-hour walk from the beach to Kalloni.  If they do not know the way, it may take days.  George told us the water and the walking usually destroys their shoes.  The balcony of Father Stratis’s church is filled with donations of clothes that he and three volunteers sort and process for handing out.

While they have sufficient resources right now for their ministry, their biggest struggle is with morale.  The townspeople often complain that people involved with their ministry are helping refugees when they should be focused on helping Greeks who have been hurt by the economic crisis.  The fascist Golden Dawn movement, while not strong on Lesbos generally, is toxically eating away at the minds of young people, making racism appear acceptable.  George told us some of the young people see the Golden Dawn violence against refugees as cool, like the violence of Hollywood movies.

We were deeply touched by the witness of Father Stratis and George.

Friday afternoon, we visited the memorial place in Thermi with some members of the “Welcome to Europe” Network.  Several migrants lost their lives on the sea just trying to reach the nearest European border they could see from Turkey.  Twenty-one Afghan migrants sank close by just a few days before Christmas of 2013.

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.

Prayers for Peacemakers, March 19, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, March 19, 2014

Pray for the upcoming CPT Europe delegation in April, which will focus on the violence and injustice refugees and migrants face on Europe’s outer borders.  Pray also for the families of the seven migrants who drowned last night when the boat they were sailing on from Turkey sank in the Aegean Sea.

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.