Christian Peacemaker Teams announces the publication of it its
first official history, In Harm’s Way: A History of Christian
Peacemaker Teams by CPTer Kathleen Kern (Cascade 2008).
Covering the period from 1986-2006, the book examines CPT’s
responses to invitations from grassroots organizers all over the
world who have used nonviolent strategies to confront systemic
oppression. According to the publisher, it “provides a
glimpse into the mistakes and successes, the triumphs and tragedies,
that teams have shared in with local co-workers in various nations.
It also continues to pose the question, ‘What would happen if CPT’s
efforts were multiplied by millions of Christians with a radical
commitment to Jesus’ nonviolent gospel?’ ”
Kern, who completed CPT’s first training in 1993, took five
years to write the 600+-page history, with the help and input of
dozens who have served with CPT in the field, in North America and on
the Steering Committee. In the prologue to the book, she
“The poet Adrienne Rich writes about casting her lot with those
‘who age after age, perversely / with no extraordinary power /
reconstitute the world.’ While many CPTers do have
extraordinary abilities, most accomplish what they do simply by
following the extraordinary example of Jesus Christ, who nonviolently
got in the way of systems that dealt in death and exploitation.
As ordinary people, they have changed CPT from a small initiative of
the historic peace churches to an expanding, ecumenical, nonviolent
movement-a movement that has called other ordinary people to put
their bodies and faith on the line to accompany the oppressed, and
create space for dialogue and reconciliation.
“Writing a history at this time may seem premature. The
full power of organized, faith-based nonviolent direct action
probably has not manifested itself yet. However, knowing how a
small, struggling initiative grew into a bigger, widely respected
organization in twenty years may prove useful to other small,
struggling nonviolent initiatives in the years to come.”
The history is dedicated to “the memory of CPTers George Weber
and Tom Fox, who lost their lives in Iraq because they took risks for
peace, and to all peacemakers everywhere, who put their lives on the
line and never know how their unsung efforts change history.”
For a limited time, In Harm’s Way is available for $40 ($9 off
the retail price) at https://www.cpt.org/resources/books. An
index is online at www.cpt.org/harmsway.