Signs of the Times: Winter 1999 Vol. IX, No. 1

Articles and Features

Dialogue
Announcements
Letters
Book Review
CPT Calandar
Credits and Requests

CPTers Arrested for "Getting in the Way"

HEBRON, WEST BANK -- Two members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) were arrested in Hebron on January 10 when they stood in front of Israeli soldiers preparing to open fire on a crowd of peaceful Palestinian protestors. Sara Reschly, 26, of Mt. Pleasant, IA, and Pierre Shantz, 24, of Elmira, ON, were taken into custody by Israeli police after they jumped between the soldiers and marchers crying, "Don't shoot! This is a nonviolent demonstration!"
About 200 Palestinians marched to protest the closure of the Abraham Mosque and a curfew placed on the 30,000 Palestinians living in the 20 percent of Hebron still under Israeli military control.
The marchers approached the border dividing the Palestinian-controlled area of Hebron from the Israeli-controlled sector, an area where violent clashes regularly occur. Israeli soldiers rushed to take up positions behind large cement barriers and readied their guns to prevent the procession from reaching the Mosque.
Reschly and Shantz, along with teammates Mark Frey (Newton, KS), Joanne Kaufman (Chicago, IL), Sydney Stigge-Kaufman (Houston, TX), immediately positioned themselves in front of the guns to prevent violence from breaking out. The soldiers, not knowing how to respond, lowered their M-16s and tried to push the CPTers aside.
During a tense 90 minute face-off, Palestinian leaders circulated among the younger demonstrators, urging them not to throw rocks. While some soldiers became angry with the CPTers -- shouting at them, grabbing them, and slapping Shantz twice in the face -- not a single shot was fired.
The demonstration ended when the older Palestinian men lined up on their prayer rugs and knelt in prayer. As the crowd dispersed, a Palestinian leader thanked CPTers for their role in keeping peace. "You have done your work," he said.
Palestinian lawyer and CPT friend, Jonathan Kuttab, agreed. "You have a lot of moral power that both sides recognize. ... Running around without guns throws [both sides] off and gives you leverage."
Reschly was detained for several hours, then released on the condition that she appear in court in Jerusalem the following morning. Shantz was kept in prison overnight and taken to court the next day in hand cuffs and shackles. They were charged with interfering with police doing their duty. Both were accused of "pushing" soldiers or police to which Shantz responded, "I intervened with the soldier trying to shoot at the nonviolent demonstrators, but I never hit or pushed anyone." Reschly stated, "I believe in nonviolence. I would never do that."

Police pressured Reschly and Shantz to avoid a courtroom hearing by agreeing to stay out of Hebron for 15 days, but the CPTers refused to accept this restriction. The Israeli judge released them on a 2000 shekel ($500 US) bond each and confiscated their passports for the duration of a police investigation.
Twenty supporters -- Christians, Jews, and Muslims –attended the court proceedings and put up the bond money. Both passports and bond money were returned by February 9.
In a message from Hebron after the event, team members expressed thanks for the outpouring of love and support they received. "We feel most wonderfully blessed by you, for it is with your backing that we speak and act boldly."


Acteal Remembered: "No Me Puedo Caller (I Cannot Remain Silent.)"

CHIAPAS, MEXICO -- On Sunday, November 22nd, fourteen CPT delegation and team members traveled to the mountain village of Acteal to participate in a commemorative mass for the 45 members of Las Abejas murdered there 11 months previously, on December 22, 1997.
Las Abejas (The Bees) are a Mayan group committed to responding to community needs from a nonviolent, Christian perspective. Many of them fled their villages scattered around the county of Chenalho to escape the threats from government and paramilitary forces and are now concentrated in the refugee camps of Acteal and X'oyep.
During worship, CPTers and other visitors carried burning candles and blossoming flowers to the family members of those who were killed as a reminder that the sacrifice of their loved ones has not been forgotten. CPTers also offered a peace dove pendant as a symbol of support for Las Abejas in their struggle for "love and peace with justice."
Then CPTers and delegation members knelt in the wet, red clay of the Chiapan mountainside to pray with their brothers and sisters from Acteal, with the refugees from surrounding communities in search of safe haven, and with visitors from other parts of the world. Together they sang a song in response to the violence which happened there: "No me puedo callar..." -- I cannot remain silent. I cannot pass by, indifferent to the suffering of so many people."
As the CPT delegation returned to San Cristobal de las Casas with red clay splotches on their knees, the song rang in their minds as a call to recommitment.
The CPT-Chiapas team had planned to join the December commemoration in Acteal which marked one year since the massacre. However, on December 21 they received word that 152 villagers had fled the community of Union Progreso (straight west of Acteal over a mountain range) 6 days earlier under threat from state security forces. The team responded on an hour's notice to accompany the villagers who had decided to stop hiding in the mountains and return home. They spent Christmas sharing the life of a people traumatized by the growing militarization of the region.
Members of the November 19 - December 1 delegation included Robert Hanson (Boise, ID), Joel Klassen (Kitchener, ON), Grant Martens (Fiske, SK), Frank Moore (Houston, TX), Marcus Page (Fresno, CA), Patrick Preheim (Minneapolis, MN), Drane Reynolds (Miami, FL), Kurt Ritchie (Constantine, MI), Dick Williams (Boulder, CO) and Gretchen Williams (Boulder, CO.)


CPT-Richmond Holds Vigil for Healing

RICHMOND, VA -- On the cold, clear night of Saturday, January 30, seventeen people gathered in Richmond's Highland Park neighborhood for a candlelight service of healing. They stood together in the small plaza where, three weeks earlier, a young mother named Bridgette Dodson was murdered.
Drug sales and increased violence raise fears among residents in this once quiet neighborhood. CPT-Richmond sponsored the public vigil and liturgy in an attempt to reclaim the area as "holy ground."
"All ground is holy, for the Spirit of God is present in all places," read CPTer Wes Hare to shivering family members, neighbors and clergy. "...We come today to reclaim this place for the God of mercy and understanding. ... We come to pray that those who bring about violence will someday experience a genuine sense of remorse and compassion..."
During a time of prayer and sharing, one of Dodson's friends reflected, "While we are here, they [the drug dealers] are more afraid of us...but they will be back after we leave."
CPT-Richmond hopes that vigils such as this one offer a means of sharing grief and demonstrating opposition to violence that may lead to a positive outpouring of community action.


Crossing the Line

by Joanne "Jake" Kaufman

[Joanne was one of 50 CPT-affiliated people who participated in the November 22, 1998 witness in Columbus, GA, to call for closing the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA)housed on the base at Fort Benning.]
By the gates of Fort Benning, a woman sang out the names of thousands of Latin American people killed by graduates of the School of the Americas (SOA). Seven thousand people chanted "Presente" (present), our voices solemnly rising and falling in response to each name..
I joined the procession of more than 2,300 people carrying coffins and crosses with the names of victims of SOA graduates printed on them. We marched through the gate, risking arrest to call for closing the notorious training center for hundreds of Latin American soldiers and dictators.
Military and police officers stopped us a half-mile into the base and began loading us onto buses. When my turn came to board, I handed the officer my peace crane, made by a CPT friend in Indiana. He thanked me.
Expecting to be taken somewhere for processing, we were surprised to be dropped off at a park. As we filed off the buses, officers handed us "ban and bar" letters prohibiting us from re-entering the base until midnight. Then we walked a mile and a quarter back to the fort entrance.
Those who had not entered the base formed a line on either side of the road to welcome us, cheering, saying "Thank you" and slapping our hands with high fives. I felt a little funny -- after all, I'd only crossed an arbitrary line, gotten on a bus and taken a short walk.
But I recall the shivers that went up and down my spine when thousands joined in song; when the Mayan and Lakota representatives burned sage invoke the four directions; when I recalled the stories Haitians told of suffering under a dictator trained at the SOA; when prayers for healing were offered in memory of the thousands of dead. Those shivers were a small physical manifestation of the great social and spiritual challenge that 7,000 people made to the powers of death and destruction that day.
Efforts to close the School of the Americas continue. Several days of activities, including vigils, lobbying, and a concert are scheduled for May 1-4, 1999 in Washington, DC. The annual witness at Fort Benning is planned for November 19-21, 1999. For more information, contact SOA Watch; PO Box 4566; Washington, DC 20017; Tel: 202-234-3440; Website: www.soaw.org.


Local Groups Challenge SOA

RICHMOND, VA – CPTer Wes Hare was one of six people arrested by US marshals in Richmond, VA on December 2, 1998 for attempting to deliver a cardboard coffin to a federal judge at the courthouse. The coffin identified seventeen Latin American countries whose military ranks include soldiers trained at the US Army School of the Americas (SOA).
Twenty-five people gathered at the courthouse to commemorate the four North American church women (three nuns and one lay worker) who were raped and murdered in El Salvador by graduates of the SOA in 1980. The noontime vigil, which included songs, prayers and readings from the words of El Salvador's martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero, was sponsored by CPT-Richmond and other local peace and justice groups.
At their December 10 trial, the six were convicted of trespassing and fined $50 plus $25 in court costs. The judge warned them that a repeat action would result in jail time.
In support of activities at the national level, Hare urges local groups to "launch active and aggressive efforts" to pressure congress to close this "School of the Assassins."


War Memorial Revisited

by Doug Pritchard

TORONTO, ON – Twenty persons gathered December 2, 1998 at the "sword and the cross" war memorial at St. Paul's Anglican Church to commemorate the death of Jean Donovan at the hands of the Salvadoran military on that day in 1980.
Jean said before her death, "It's so much harder to fight for your liberty in a nonviolent way than it is with a gun. At the moment the only nonviolent voice in the whole country [El Salvador] is the Church."
"Imagine if this could be said about the church in Canada," read the vigilers' leaflets, "that we had renounced all violence and all war!"
These monthly vigils at the war memorial grew out of the hope that church leaders would remove the sword attached to this stone cross and transform it into a ploughshare as a public symbol of their renunciation of all war and a witness to Christ's life-giving call to love our enemies. So far, the churches' response has been disappointing.
The Anglican bishop urged priest Don Heap, who was arrested at a previous vigil, to "desist from his threats" to damage the sword and to "engage in dialogue" instead. However, St. Paul's officials have not met with the vigilers since they first expressed their concerns last May. Also, while the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada called on parishes to study the "Just War" theory, these studies have yet to commence.
The Catholic vigilers have heard nothing from their church leaders. An official of the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto wrote to "The Toronto Star" in November saying, "killing is deeply, fundamentally, morally wrong and, as a tactic, massively stupid." When probed by Ontario CPTer Doug Pritchard, the official hastened to add that this applied only to abortion and not to killing in war.


CPT-PA: Witness At War College

CARLISLE, PA – Seven people witnessed outside the U.S. Army War College on Dec. 5, protesting the Israeli military's demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank. The War College trains international military leaders including Israeli soldiers. CPT Reservist Elayne McClanen reports that many passing drivers slowed to read their signs, which formed the jingle: "Hey, Israeli fellow, tell me true, don't Palestinian children need security too? Stop the bulldozers!" Monthly vigils at the War College continue as people in central Pennsylvania discuss plans for a regional CPT group.


CPT Training 1999


Fourteen people from the U.S. and Canada braved Chicago's worst blizzard in decades to participate in CPT's sixth annual Peacemaker training from December 28, 1998, through January 20, 1999. For 3 » weeks, participants focused on action, reflection, and practice of peacemaking skills in the areas of 1) nonviolent direct action and public witness, 2)undoing racism and cross-cultural work, 3) spiritual disciplines and Biblical examples of nonviolence, 4) personal styles and working in teams, 5) listening, negotiation and conflict transformation, and 6) documentation and human rights reporting. A kaleidoscope of role plays, small group exercises, simulations and presentations characterized the 13-hour days. Two public witness events capped the beginning and the end of the training experience. All 14 participants completed the training and joined CPT's Reserve Corps.
Participants (left to right) - 1st Row: Paul Pierce (North Manchester, IN), Doug Wingeier (Waynesville, NC), Mary Alice Shemo (Pittsburgh, PA). 2nd Row: Jeffrey "Rusty" Dinkins-Curling (Arcanum OH), Jane Adas (Highland Park, NJ), Shady Hakim (Arcadia, CA). 3rd Row: Lisa Martens (Brandon, Manitoba), William Payne (Toronto, Ontario), Frank Moore (Houston, TX). 4th Row: Rick Polhamus (Fletcher, OH), Michael Goode (Chicago, IL), Matt Guynn (Richmond, IN), Gary Brooks (Lexington, KY). Top Row: Carl Meyer (Millersburg, IN).


Christmas in Iraq

by Anne Montgomery

Hebron CPTer Anne Montgomery has traveled to Iraq with Voices in the Wilderness several times. According to UN reports, the sanctions against Iraq have caused the death of over 1.5 million Iraqis in the past eight years, most of them children. Current estimates are that 5,000-6,000 people die every month due to hunger and inadequate medical care.

Two journeys to Iraq to face the bombing crises – one in November, one three weeks later – became for me a collage of images superimposed on one another:
The stars of the early morning desert as we crossed the ancient path of Abraham whose faith journey ended in Hebron, the conflicted city I had just left; the "shooting stars" of futile tracer bullets over our rooms while hotel workers prayed in the dingy basement that Ramadan evening; the next morning, fragmented hospital windows and legs fractured by shrapnel.
Christmas Eve under those same windows: children sang Arabic verses of "We Shall Overcome" by a modern "manger" tent while white-coated doctors represented Iraq's wise men.
Christmas day in the cancer ward of a children's hospital: one young mother personified the courage and resilience of the Iraqi people even in the midst of so much anger and despair. Sitting cross-legged on her infant's bed, her back straight, her face calm, holding a crying child, its eye hidden by a protruding tumor, this Moslem Madonna smiled at us.
What is the meaning of children dying before our eyes, others born deformed or diseased in areas poisoned by depleted uranium and raw sewage? Or of a whole generation growing up physically and intellectually deprived by poor nutrition and an education system stunted by lack of supplies and teachers cut off from outside communication? A generation begs in the street, shines shoes and perceives the U.S. as enemy.
More subtly, what is the meaning of "Oil for food"? – an excuse to maintain a criminal embargo rather than a solution to anything. It provides neither a balanced diet nor needed medicines nor the rebuilding of the infrastructure necessary to maintain and distribute both. And as one Iraqi sister said, "We are not just animals to be fed," but rather, human beings with dreams and spiritual hunger.
This spirit is evident in the strong mothers, in the shoe-shine boys learning a new song in minutes, in the heroic doctors, in the openness of ordinary people to welcome us as caring individuals, not stereotypes. It shines out in the full mosques and churches where all ages sing and flock to theology classes.
It is our part to cultivate an informed awareness of the tailoring of "facts" to fit our "national interest," to speak truth to power, and to resist actively the deliberate destruction of a people rooted in a past that is our own. Then the Madonna of the hospital will reach across boundaries of faith and culture to touch us with her smile.


Walk Away From the Pentagon

Calling for an end to bombings and lethal sanctions against Iraq, Voices in the Wilderness (VitW) sponsored a 250-mile "Walk Away From the Pentagon" from January 15 - February 1. A core of 10 walkers made the trek through cities and towns from Washington, DC to United Nations headquarters in New York City. A total of 50 individuals participated in portions of the walk. They urged U.S. policymakers to "walk away" from the warfare of bombs and economic sanctions and to support the UN's original goal of eliminating war.
CPT Reservists Lisa Martens and William Payne joined the walk on January 24 at a gathering hosted by CPT-PA in Lancaster.
At the UN, Martens and Payne met with Canadian representative Arif Lalani who said that bringing an immediate end to the bombing and the sanctions would be "unrealistic." Payne responded, "With 250 children dying each day, we need prophets, not realists."
Despite threats of stiff fines, VitW continues to challenge the economic sanctions by sponsoring delegations which carry medical supplies into Iraq. Contact Voices in the Wilderness; 1460 W. Carmen; Chicago, IL 60640; Tel: 773-784-8065; e-mail: kkelly@igc.apc.org.


CPT-Colorado Mails Aspirin to Iraq

BOULDER, CO – CPTers in Colorado violated U.S./UN sanctions against Iraq by mailing small packets containing gauze pads, aspirin, band-aids, bottled water, vitamins and pencils to the Iraqi Red Crescent Society on December 30. Ron Friesen, Brian Ladd, and Marilyn Miller passed out leaflets and held signs outside the Boulder Post Office before going inside to send their packages.
When clerks cited postal restrictions which prohibit sending packages weighing over twelve ounces dirrectly to Iraq, Friesen re-addressed his larger parcel to President Clinton. He included a letter asking the president to forward the package to Iraq and to look into his heart about what was happening to the Iraqi people. Others sent similar messages to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and First Lady Hilary Clinton.
The Colorado CPTers join the ranks of some two dozen people from the Boulder Peace Center who have challenged the sanctions in this way, risking the confiscation of their letter-packages and legal consequences.


ELF Wounds the World

CLAM LAKE, WI – Eighty people from around North America including 17 members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) gathered in northern Wisconsin to honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and to "expose the wounds" caused by Project ELF (Extremely Low Frequency). The 30-year-old ELF transmitter is the Navy's first-strike trigger for nuclear-armed Trident submarines stationed deep in oceans around the world. Evidence indicates that the ELF system was used to transmit signals in the December 1998 attacks against Iraq.
After individuals named the wounds that ELF and nuclear terror have caused to humanity, the environment, and our culture, they sprinkled cups full of blood-red liquid on the snow near the compound's entrance, creating a large gash.
Sixteen individuals then crossed the line onto federal property to continue naming the ways in which ELF wounds our world. Among the line-crossers, who all received citations for trespassing, were eight CPTers in training and one full-time Christian Peacemaker Corps member. All are subject to a fine of $181.00 or loss of Wisconsin driving privileges if they fail to pay.
CPTers arrested at ELF include: Rusty Dinkins-Curling (Arcanum, OH), Claire Evans and Michael Goode (Chicago, IL), Matt Guynn (Richmond, IN), Lisa Martens (Brandon, MB), Carl Meyer (Millersburg, IN), Frank Moore (Houston, TX), William Payne (Toronto, ON), and Mary Alice Shemo (Pittsburgh, PA).


DIALOGUE

In Dialogue, we lift exchanges from CPT.D, an open e-mail discussion on CPT's vision and work. The following discussion emerged in response to an article posted on CPTnet, "On Judging Others."

Joanne "Jake" Kaufman, Hebron CPTer (excerpts from original article): My heart often burns with outrage as I stand by the collapsed roof of a Palestinian home, see the buildings of an Israeli settlement built on land seized from a Palestinian family whose vineyards once flourished there, watch Israeli soldiers detain and question young Palestinian men. ...
A delegation last fall of indigenous people from North America made me reconsider my outrage. "Why are you here, half-way across the world, when your own country has done the same thing to our people?" they questioned. My mind flashed to my 95-year-old grandmother's stories of Native American neighbors in pioneer south Dakota on land surely seized from the Lakota people a generation before her.

Mennonites, like Jews, hold tightly to memories of oppression, but we conveniently discount our legacy of settling land from which armies had forcibly removed other peoples, both in Russia on Cossack land and in the Americas. ... In remembering the less-savory elements of my Mennonite heritage, I am humbled, but I am not deterred from my desire to seek justice for the people of Palestine and for the First Nations peoples of the Americas. ... Perhaps being in Palestine can help us come to terms with this black mark on our own history and take action to "do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God."

David Hiebert, editor, Builder magazine, Scottdale, PA: You've got something in here to offend everyone. My first response is, get real. We cannot undo the past. The political reality is that I cannot even know if my ancestors in Russia did anything that hurt anyone else and neither can you. What we do need now however is just decisions. We do not need to perpetuate bad and hurtful decisions by excluding or taking property without due process. And that is happening in Hebron and other occupied territories at this point. As for your "black mark," what do African-Americans think about that? I'd say you just burned your zwiebach!

Anne Blackwood, MD, CPT Steering Committee, Philadelphia, PA: I cannot speak for others of African descent, but as one Afro-Caribbean who chose the Mennonite Church because of its sincere (if sometimes incomplete) commitment to peace with justice, I am neither offended by Jake's reflection nor, even by her choice of words. ... I read an honest acknowledgment of the fact that within each of us are some elements of the oppressed, and some of the oppressor, some bits of the emerging peacemaker and some of the recalcitrant culture. I know of no other way to view my own journey, or to read the history of the Christian Church.

Earl Martin, Harrisonburg, VA: "On Judging Others" was, for me, the most powerful word I have read on this on-going saga of various peoples "justa lookin' for a home," as the song goes. ... The capacity for hurt and even evil lies as much within me as within the person whose actions I deplore. Therein, strangely, I find hope. For the mirror of that is that, given the right conditions to grow, the capacity for good lies as much within that "enemy" as within my beloved and clay-footed forbears...or within myself.

Elaine Sommers Rich, Bluffton, OH: ... One aspect of American history is too seldom noted. For almost a hundred years in early Pennsylvania, native peoples, Quakers, Mennonites, Moravians, and others lived together in peace, sharing friendship and living space. ... Not until later settlers brought their guns, whisky and hostility to Pennsylvania was the peace broken.

Hebcom@geocities.com: One point you don't mention is that the Jews are also indigenous people in the Middle East, being moved from their tribal lands by force nearly two thousand years ago, sold into slavery, and only now coming back to face a struggle with others who, like them, have been swept up in a historical injustice which, in the beginning, Europeans (Rome) were responsible for.

Gary L. Cooper, Dallas, TX: To the extent that this is true [about the Jews being indigenous people]... I believe it's all but irrelevant. For all I know, my ancestors may have had land and positions two hundred (not two thousand) years ago in Germany, Scotland, and England, before they fled to America ... But even if I could document this claim, what response do you think I would get if I presented myself back in Europe and demanded the return of my property? I'd be lucky if my auditors confined themselves to laughing loudly in my face.

Faith Eidse, Tallahassee, FL: Aren't CPTers in Hebron because the injustice is current, going on every day, and there is hope that our presence will deter even one home bull-dozing or land seizure? ... The issue of giving back Indian land is still a live issue being debated in the U.S. by many concerned people. But while that debate goes on here, Palestinian homes are being bull-dozed as we speak, and U.S. policy is implicated once again.


PEACE BRIEFS

CPT Reservist Ministers to Seafarers - CPT Reservist Rey Lopez addressed the National Federation of Asian American United Methodists in Los Angeles, January 18, regarding his work as Port Chaplain with the Philippine Seafarers Organizing Ministry. Of 1.2 million commercial sailors worldwide, 70% are Asian and 300,000 are Filipino. Lopez characterizes their life as a modern form of slavery. The men work long hours at low pay in unsafe conditions with inadequate food. Often they are subjected to harassment and abuse by the ship's officers. When they try to organize for better conditions, their jobs and sometimes their very lives are endangered. Economic globalization contributes to this adversity as businesses worldwide seek to lower their shipping costs through whatever means possible. For more information, contact Lopez at 4336 Montojo St.; Makati City, Philippines; e-mail psom1@aol.com.

Israeli C.O. Jailed - Pacifist Yehuda Agus, a 28-year-old student from Jerusalem, was recognized by Amnesty International as a Prisoner of Conscience. Since February 2, 1999, Agus has been incarcerated at Military Prison 4 in Israel for his refusal to perform obligatory reserve duty in the Israeli Defense Force. While Israel exempts some people from military duty, pacifists like Agus are imprisoned for their refusal to serve. Agus was part of a special Jewish Peace Team (JPT) that collaborated with CPT to paint over anti-Arab graffiti in Hebron last July -- an action for which all members of the JPT were arrested.

Haitian Workers Challenge Disney - Workers at Megatex, a Port-au-Prince factory which produces Disney clothing, have written to Disney CEO Michael Eisner requesting that the company send a representative to Haiti to investigate labor practices. The workers raise five concerns: 1) respect for freedom of association without retaliation, 2) the need to earn a living wage that provides for existence with dignity, 3) production quotas based on realistic expectations, 4) maintenance of Disney production in Haiti at levels sufficient to sustain current employment and, 5) the need for a safe, healthy working environment. Supporting letters may be sent to Michael Eisner - CEO; Walt Disney Company; 500 S. Buena Vista St.; Burbank, CA 91521.


Announcements:

PEACEMAKER CONGRESS 2000 - Plan now to attend Peacemaker Congress 2000 in Washington DC, December 27-30, 1999. Keynote speaker Walter Wink will address "The Myth of Redemptive Violence."
Participants are invited to stay for a special post-Congress action/event on December 31 to bring in the New Millennium. Contact CPT for further information.

MENNONITE CHURCHES PEACE GATHERING - July 20-22, 1999 prior to the church-wide St. Louis convention. Pastors, peace committee members, school teachers, parents, peace center workers, activists, and Christian educators are especially invited to attend. The event will take place at the Revive Us Again! Retreat Center in St. Louis. Cost is $150 US for registration, food and lodging. For more information contact: Jeremy Bergen, 204-888-6781; Doug Krehbiel, 316-283-5100; or Susan Mark Landis, 330-683-6844.

FRIENDS PEACE TEAMS PROJECT (FPTP) - established the Elise Boulding Fund to support people participating in peace teams. The fund honors the extensive work of Elise Boulding, a convinced Friend with a long history of involvement in peacemaking concerns. FPTP has endorsed CPT. Tax deductible gifts to the fund or inquiries may be directed to: Friends Peace Team Project; c/o Baltimore Yearly Meeting; 17100 Quaker Lane; Sandy Spring, MD 20860; Tel: 301-774-6855; e-mail: fptp@igc.apc.org.

CPT SUNDAY - CPT invites congregations and meetings to celebrate CPT Sunday on June 13 or another Sunday as appropriate. CPT is producing a packet of materials including worship resources, sermon ideas and peacemaking stories that integrate a vision for faith-based, nonviolent peacemaking with the lectionary readings for the third Sunday after Pentecost. The packet will be available in early spring. Contact CPT for more information.

EASTERN MENNONITE UNIVERSITY (EMU) - located in Harrisonburg, VA, EMU offers a 48-hour Master of Arts degree and an 18-hour Graduate Certificate in Conflict Transformation. In addition, a 15-course Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) is held each year that attracts a diverse community of peacebuilding practitioners from around the world. SPI 1999 will be held May 10-July 2. For more information call 540-432-4490; e-mail: ctprogram@emu.edu; website: www.emu/edu/ctp/stp.htm.


Letters

The article "Love is the Important Thing" [Signs of the Times, Fall ‘98] is a message shared by suffering people all around the world. During a training programs with exiles from Burma, one participant reflected that many opposition leaders think of justice as a legal issue. Once the war is over, military leaders will be brought to trial and prosecuted according to the law. But for those who have suffered most, this does not represent justice. Grassroots people are not concerned about punishment, but rather a guarantee that they can live in peace and security with all of their neighbors, no matter what their ethnicity. Love is, indeed, the most important thing.
Max Ediger, Thailand/Burma

Although there is often a feeling of impotence in the face of great evil on both sides of the Atlantic, at least in Hebron, standing with the people who are threatened, we somehow felt a little less guilty. I remember a lesson my friends in Viet Nam tried to teach me during that war. "We have appreciated your work and your presence in Tam Ky. You have been like a man at the bottom of a waterfall with a small bucket trying to throw water back up. . . Your real work will begin when you go home to the United States next week. Please go back and build a dam across the top." Any ideas about what we can do over here to stop the flood?
Doug Hostetter, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Nyack, NY

Sara has everyone stumped when they ask her what was the best thing about her year in the Holy Land. She replies, "Meeting the CPTers and the Al-Atrash family and working with them." She is also telling everyone that she plans to become a volunteer with CPT as soon as she can. She and David have been a real witness for peace and continue to speak out against injustice, no matter how small, such as when they see kids being picked on at the playground. I guess that is where peace begins and you certainly helped give our kids that understanding.
Gordon & Rhonda Brubacher, Crete, Nebraska

[Gordon and Rhonda Brubacher and their two children Sara, 9, and David, 7, lived in Jerusalem for a year. They are matched through the CSD program with a Palestinian family in the Hebron area. They helped work at the Al-Atrash home numerous times].

In his State of the Union address, President Clinton proposed the investment of Social Security funds in the stock market. This raises serious concern for me as a conscientious objector. Up to now I have kept my income below a taxable level to minimize my support of government-sponsored violence. Following the law, I have contributed directly to Social Security from my self-employment earnings. The potential that Social Security funds could be invested in arms manufacturers and other death-dealing companies would make me no longer able in good conscience to contribute to that fund.
Duane Ediger, CPT Reservist, Dallas TX


BOOK REVIEW by Claire Evans, Transforming Violence: Linking Local and Global Peacemaking, edited by Judy Zimmerman Herr and Robert Herr, Herald Press, 1998.
This book grew out of an awareness that countering violence on the local and international levels transcends denominational lines and is more crucial than ever in the changing dynamics of a post-Cold War world. Essays range from theological to academic to practical, and include such authors as theologians Walter Wink and Dorothee Sollee, international conflict resolution expert John Paul Lederach, and CPT's own Kathleen Kern. From a theory of "just peacemaking," to a perspective on the politics of forgiveness that acknowledges Christian, Gandhian, and Islamic contributions, to a detailed and poignant description of the Fellowship of Reconciliation's Bosnian Student Project, the book presents a holistic picture of peacemaking. Kern's chapter, "Applying Civilian Peace Teams," highlights CPT's experiences in Haiti, Hebron, and Washington, DC.


CPT CALENDAR

CPT Steering Committee meetings - Washington, DC: April 8-10, 1999
CPT Sunday - June 13
Delegations to the Middle East - April 13-25; May 26-June7; August 1-14, 1999
Delegation to Chiapas, Mexico - May 21-June 3; August1-13, 1999.
Delegation to Haiti (dates to be announced)
Peacemaker Congress V, welcoming New Year's 2000.


CREDITS AND REQUESTS

Signs of the Times is produced four times a year. Batches of ten or more are available to institutions, congregations and local groups for distribution. Any part of Signs of the Times may be used without permission. Please send CPT a copy of the reprint. Your contributions finance CPT ministries including distribution of 7000 copies of Signs of the Times. This issue is the work of CPT staff members Kryss Chupp and Gene Stoltzfus and student office assistant, Lisa Martens.
The work of CPT is guided by a thirteen-person steering committee: Dale Aukerman, Robert Bartel, Anne Blackwood, Pat Hostetter Martin, Retha McCutchen, Cliff Kindy, Marilyn Miller, Trayce Petersen, Doug Pritchard, Orlando Redekopp, Hedy Sawadsky, Muriel Stackley and John Stoner. CPT staff: Gene Stoltzfus - Director, Claire Evans - Administrative Coordinator, Kryss Chupp - Traning Coordinator -- Chicago, IL; Jan Long, Christian Peacemaker Corps Coordinator - Blacksburg, VA; Rich Meyer, Campaign for Secure Dwellings Coordinator - Millersburg, IN; Doug Pritchard, CPT Ontario - Toronto, ON.

Get Online with CPT: CPTNET provides regular news updates from the field; CPT.D is an open discussion on the theological, political, or practical aspects of nonviolence and CPT's work. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to cpt@igc.org . Please include your name, city and state/prov. and your congregation or organization.
Visit our Web Site – http://www.cpt.org

Support the Experiment - Individual donations make up 40% of CPT's annual budget. Last year more than 950 people contributed to CPT's peacemaking ministry. The calls to expand our work keep coming -- Kosovo, Haiti, more urban violence reduction, regional group development, increased participation from communities of color, expansion of the Peacemaker Corps from 12 to 18... The enclosed envelope is for your use. If you cannot make use of it at this time, please recycle it. Thank you.