Christian Peacemaker Teams wish to celebrate this Advent season by sharing the reflections and experiences of CPTers who carry out the work of transforming oppression.
Week to week, we will introduce you to a CPT Reservist who will share their story through the symbols of each Advent candle in honor of the season and invite you to take action to support transforming oppression.
In preparation for the third Sunday of Advent, we explore the theme of Peace.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I grew up in the Mennonite church in southern Ontario farm country, with a rich education in social justice that has lead to a lifestyle of solidarity and communion with communities in several parts of this beautiful world. I currently reside in Amman, Jordan, and together with my partner Alaeddin we’re adding life and creativity into the Amman art scene.
What year did you join the CPT Corps? February 2013
What motivated you to join CPT?
The work of CPT, specifically the goals around transforming oppression, has always been something I highly respected and aspired to work for, even as a young child. My dad, as a Mennonite pastor, spoke regularly about the important work of CPT as a way to live out our calling as followers of Christ, and I knew it was something that I was being called to do from age 10 or 11. I signed up for my delegation on the day I turned 19 (a requirement then), and completed my training shortly after graduating from university.
Which teams have you served on or how have you fulfilled your reservist duty?
I served 5 years on the Colombia Team, and also served two stints on the Palestine team (2017/2018) and visited the Iraqi Kurdistan team for one month in 2015. I also served as Corps Rep on the Steering Committee 2016/2017.
How you experience PEACE while you work at transforming oppression in your CPT context?
Working in a context of violence, peace is sometimes hard to find. But one place where I always know I can find peace, share peace, and be at peace is at the CPT house. Not only is it a physical place I call home and can create some sense of familiarity and community, but it’s also a safe haven for our own team and our partners. Many of us CPTers find ourselves in CPT because we are working to transform oppressions in our own lives, and CPT is that safe place where we can be who we are and know that our CPT family will care for us and support us and be an ally to us. The same is true of our partners who come to the CPT house in search of safety, allyship, and hope. This CPT family is an anchor in the midst of volatile situations where I have experienced and shared deep peace.
Please share a short prayer or reflection for advent, which has helped guide/motivate/inspire/sustain your transforming oppression work:
Let the flames of justice illuminate the dark corners of oppression and the deep
crevices of hatred. Teach us the words to Mary’s song. Give us big voices and
courageous hearts not only to sing, but also to live your song of life-giving justice.
We light this fourth Advent candle waiting and preparing for the One with whom we
can feed the hungry and dine with outcasts and strangers. Amen.
- by Cynthia Langston Kirk