Gene Stoltzfus: Presente! 1 February 1940 - 10 March 2010

 

On a spring-like day in March, CPT’s founding director Gene Stoltzfus completed his journey on earth at the age of 70.  His heart stopped while he was riding his bicycle near his home in Fort Frances, Ontario.  He is survived by his wife Dorothy Friesen and many, many peacemakers who stand on the broad shoulders of his lifetime of creative action.

Gene nurtured and shaped Christian Peacemaker Teams from its beginning almost 25 years ago. As director for the first 16 years of CPT’s organizational life, Gene’s vision, ideas, and initiatives laid a strong foundation for our present work.  His style, faith, humor, strengths, shortcomings and quirks are embedded in CPT.  His hand remains evident in CPT’s training and deployment of long-term, diverse, disciplined and empowered teams; in team and office meals and shared check-ins; in CPT’s creative direct action to reduce violence and highlight injustice; in patterns of prayer and mutual support sending each other out truly blessed; in CPT’s attentiveness to exposing privilege and undoing oppression; and in CPT’s deep roots of connection throughout the Church, which is in turn transformed into a hotbed of peacemaking.

Gene brought tremendous energy, courage and commitment to the work of Christian peacemaking.  During his tenure as director, CPT grew from a dream and a dialog about active peacemaking, to sustaining and supporting full-time field teams with hundreds of trained CPTers working in partnership with local peacemakers in conflict zones across the globe. 

Gene saw a military culture worldwide and asked how the church could create a counter-culture.  He held out a vision of a world free from war and successfully passed that vision on to a new generation of CPTers.  He saw in us, and helped us become, competent, capable peacemakers.  We imagine him now, already organizing the Celestial Peacemaker Teams.

Thank-you, Gene.  We miss you.