Date: June 9, 2017

Contact: Claire Markham or LaShawn Warren
Email: cmarkham@americanprogress.org, lwarren@americanprogress.org

Washington, D.C. — As affected communities and gun violence prevention advocates prepare to gather to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL (June 12) and the two-year anniversary of the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC (June 17), Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence announces its restructure and strategic partnership with the Center for American Progress to offer state and federal policy expertise and amplify the critical voices of people of faith in gun violence prevention work. A faith-based gun violence prevention coalition formed in 2011, Faiths United includes more than 50 endorsing organizations representing diverse faith traditions who have banded together to stand against gun violence.

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Two years ago, nine people were killed and three were injured when Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was violently interrupted by a white supremacist in a racially motivated attack. One year later, 49 people were killed and 53 were injured in the largest mass shooting in U.S. history when a gunman opened fire at Latin Night at Pulse nightclub, an LGBTQ safe-haven.

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These shootings indelibly wounded their local communities and affected the soul of a nation. Faiths United mourns the lives lost and changed – and demands action to prevent further loss.

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That these anniversaries fall within the span of a week calls attention to the proliferation of gun violence and the horrifying regularity of gun deaths in our nation. This moment reiterates the importance of elevating the moral call to action on gun violence and guns in America. We must see with clear eyes the culture we have allowed to flourish—a culture of violence, fear, and death.

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In the current political moment, Faiths United and the moral voice are needed more than ever to speak the truth about gun violence. The shooters at Pulse Nightclub and at Mother Emanuel AME sought out spaces of safety—indeed, of sanctuary—for the LGBTQ and African-American communities. Gun deaths in this country reflect the disproportionate rates of violence against women, sexual and gender minorities, religious minorities, and racial and ethnic minorities. Gun violence cannot be separated from vitriolic rhetoric and policies targeting vulnerable communities. Gun violence prevention efforts must similarly be mounted in solidarity with these communities.

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As people of faith, our role is not merely to lament killing, but to stop it, and to change the culture around it. As Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, we commit to witnessing, educating, and advocating for our shared values and common sense solutions to gun violence.

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Members of Faiths United Weigh In on Moral Demand to Act to End Gun Violence:

“The compelling anniversaries of the massacres at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and Emanuel AME Church in Charleston should motivate the American faith community to seek an end to gun carnage in our country. Faiths United works to mobilize that critical constituency to action to save lives from gun violence. Prayer is not enough.” Rev Woody Dalton, Chair of Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence

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“In the historic shadows of the assassination of Bro Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Minister Malcolm X, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and the upcoming anniversaries of the massacre of the Charleston Emanuel 9 and the 49 who were slaughtered at the Pulse Club, we are reminded of the destruction and demonic havoc that gun violence in America is reeking on our entire nation. The poor, young, and minorities are at the forefront as victims of this destructive violence. Gun control is mandatory if we are going to decrease the violence and increase safety for all. The A.M.E. Church, in light of this destructive history, joins with other faith traditions in calling for a strong gun control bill that will make our streets safe again.” Bishop Frank M. Reid, III, Chair Social Action Commission

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“Our faith demands that we refuse ever to adjust ourselves to the reality of violence in our streets, in our homes, or in our communities. God’s Image, inherent in every human being, is being ravaged by the effects of our numbed acceptance and the inaction of elected leaders. In the name of our fallen sisters and brothers, we will pray and we will march and we will mobilize to combat the scourge of American Gun Violence.” Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Founder, Rabbis Against Gun Violence

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“As United Church of Christ members and congregations, we are called to resist the acceptance of violence as a norm and our idolatrous relationship to guns as a violation of our fundamental Christian beliefs. In a culture where death and violence have become commonplace, and despair is the order of the day, we are called to work with God’s life-giving Spirit to restore hope to communities impacted by the gun violence epidemic. With that vision, we are committed to advocating for responsible policies and practices to prevent gun violence.” United Church of Christ

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“Franciscan Action Network (FAN) stands in prayerful and active solidarity with those who lost loved ones to gun violence in the Pulse Orlando and Charleston AME Church shootings, and all the thousands of shootings in the US since June 2016. As followers of Francis of Assisi, who forbade his followers to bear arms, we see gun violence prevention as integral to FAN’s mission of peacemaking.” Franciscan Action Network

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“The Dominican Sisters of Peace, charged with our Congregational commitment to preach truth with hope in God’s promise for our future, are committed to creating environments of peace by promoting non-violence and sensible gun safety to protect the life and dignity of all peoples.” Dominican Sisters of Peace

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“The Jewish tradition calls on us to love life, to choose life and to preserve it at all costs. We do not place stumbling blocks before the blind nor do we stand idly by the sufferings of our neighbors. How can we not work to end the scourge of gun violence that kills 33,000 Americans each year? This time of year, when we recall the memories of those lost due to gun violence, we must rededicate ourselves to ending this plague and ensuring that all people can live free from the fear that gun violence poses.” Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, Executive Director, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

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“The anniversaries of shootings at the Pulse Nightclub and the Mother Emanuel, AME Church demand that we stand before God answering who are we and what we have become in the world. How can we be immobilized by such unthinking gun use? It is incomprehensible, violent, and now, sadly, descriptively American. We seem to tolerate those who would try to reconfigure the world by vigilante violence. Dark and hateful thoughts can be turned into loathsome acts when, again, we postpone intervening with substantive laws which restrict the acquisition of firearms. So, ours is not an observance only; it must be a declaration. Restrict gun sales, certainly, but more importantly, bravely address how our society colludes with the distressed among us to fatally bully the vulnerable in our midst.” Episcopal Peace Fellowship

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“During this week of remembrance, we mourn the lives lost, and countless others changed, in the shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and Pulse Nightclub. The United Methodist Church stands against gun violence and the rampant cultures of fear and hate that led to these attacks. As we continue on our journey to transform the world – girded by the call to ‘turn swords into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks’ – may all people of faith and good will join us in the vital work to end gun violence.” Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church

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See also: http://faithsunited.org/ 
@PrevGunViolence

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For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Claire Markham at cmarkham@americanprogress.org or 202-741-6305 or LaShawn Warren at lwarren@americanprogress.org or 202-741- 6396
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Rev. Jessie Smith

This weekend with the rest of EPF’s National Executive Counsel has me thinking about the heart of our work.  Many of us are experiencing transition in our personal or professional lives, just as EPF is at a pivotal place in its organizational life.  This kind of transition reminds me to go within, to remember our foundation, remember why we are gathered here in Chicago.

I can remember when I learned what it means to be a peacemaker.  It was a defining moment in my life.  I realized not only what peacemaking is about, but what it means to follow Christ. It was the night before a public witness at Bangor Nuclear Submarine base. We were at Ground Zero Nonviolent Action Center, a community for nonviolent action on land adjacent to Bangor. Year after year activists gathered together to show up and speak out so it made sense to develop this home base.  On this evening I was surrounded by people who had been at this work for peace longer than I had been alive.  We planned, prayed and discerned about the next day.

And as background, “the Trident submarine base at Bangor employs the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S. and is the home port for 8 of the Navy’s 14 Trident nuclear powered submarines. One submarine deployed at Bangor is equal to more than 1,400 Hiroshima sized nuclear bombs. The nuclear warheads at SWFPAC and on submarines based at Bangor have the combined explosive power equivalent to more than 14,000 Hiroshima bombs.”[1]

 

Over dinner we made the plan to celebrate and then deliver Eucharist to the Commander of the base.  Delivering Eucharist would mean we would walk across the line that is painted on the street to mark an intentional boundary.  Crossing the line, means being arrested.

 

I, several Buddhist monks, a Jesuit priest and a female pastor were considering arrest. But considering arrest could mean a variety of things.  It could be the usual book and release, it could be the time they decided to make an example of us, pressing charges and holding us.  I turned the options over and over in my head: would I be more effective if I was sure I could return that day to my bed at the Catholic Worker, to my job as a case manager?  Or would I have greater impact on the world, on my community, my church, my friends and family if I spent this energy educating others about the atrocities housed at the base instead of participating in this action.  Where was the best use of my time? My energy?

 

It was during this process of figuring out my role, that I heard the eleven words that changed my life, words that unsettled me and lead me to a decision.

 

A man whose years of activism were visible in the worried wrinkles he wore on his face, said to me that “we, followers of Christ are called to be faithful not effective”.

 

Those words have changed my life.  They changed how I understood my role as a Christian. They changed how I understood my role as a peacemaker.  This work cannot be about results.  Was Jesus (hanging on a cross) effective? Was Gandhi (stubborn and frail) effective?  Their point was not to be effective; they lived lives that were faithful.

 

That night I realized what faith looks like: it looks like persistence in the face of evil despite the cost.  I realized that peacemaking is not always about results, but it is about being faithful to our call as Christians.  Being a peacemaker is embracing the role of ‘fool for Christ’ carrying Eucharist onto a nuclear submarine base, or clinging to an altar at General Convention demanding the church give the sanctuary and support for the peace it preaches.

As I have let these words shape my life I have come to realize that to be effective means you must work within the confines of this world, to be effective often means you must accept a lot of givens.  To be effective in this world you must learn how to tolerate in the intolerable, how to navigate systems you don’t believe in, how to speak half-truths so that others won’t leave the table.

 

William Sloane Coffin wrote on this truth.  He states this truth should continue to rattle us during these difficult times in our country; “The quickest way to lose your humanity is to begin to tolerate the intolerable.” If we, the Episcopal Peace Fellowship set out to be effective above faithful we are on the path of losing our humanity, losing our purpose and foundation.

Daniel Berrigan- a man who knew well this vocation of faithful peacemaker, wrote in his intro to Dorothy Day’s autobiography, “ I am grateful beyond words for the grace of this woman’s life, for her sensible unflinching rightness of mind, her long and lonely truth, her journey to the heart of things.  I think of her as one who simply helped us in a time of self-inflicted blindness, to see… She urged our consciences off the beaten track. … She did this, first of all, by living as though the truth were true.”

I hear EPF’s call to faithfulness in these words; the call to be unflinching, to break through the church’s self-inflicted blindness so that we all may see. The Episcopal Peace fellowship has a unique vocation to be the peacemakers who live as though the truth were true.

EPF’s deepest and most authentic truth is that there is room for peace to emerge and grow from the Episcopal Church, there is room for justice to prevail in our relationships and we are willing to put our lives, our voices and bodies, our time and energy on the line working for that peace and justice.

We can’t give too much weight to reality or else we will be paralyzed.  We cannot accept even hints of the unacceptable (even if that keeps a seat at the table) because that is the path of losing ourselves and betraying our truth.

We are all sitting here because 80 years ago someone believed that there was enough potential for the peace of Christ to grow in the Episcopal Church.  We are here because some people were stubborn and persistent about their vision for how we, God’s church, could be a light to the world.  We are here today because 80 years ago some people sat down at tables like these and decided to keep dreaming when others laughed and said, “that is neither wise nor effective.”  And then, they were faithful anyway.

We are here because we share a vocation to urge our collective episcopal consciences off the beaten track. We are all here because we believe that Jesus Christ came to bring us life and peace.  That is our truth.  A 12-step slogan comes to mind: Keep the main thing, the main thing.  That is what we must, in these troubled times, do- keep the main thing the main thing.  We must live as though the truth were true.

We may not always be effective, but my prayer for us as an organization is that we are always faithful to our truth. We may not have the money, the programs, the time and the social bandwidth in the Church to do an effective job of working for peace, but we must remain at least faithful.  We must remember our unique calling in this church: to speak truth to power. To Live through study, action and pray as though our truth were true: that Christ came to bring peace. That TEC is as good as any a place to cultivate that peace.  That we have what it takes, God has given us what we need not to be effective but to be faithful.

 

[1] Ground Zero Center for Nonviolence

This series of maps shows graphically what Palestinians have lost over the decades since Zionism came to Palestine.  The map on the left, of Palestine in 1946, just before the UN partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and a Palestinian Arab state, shows virtually the entire territory in green, as the area where Palestinians lived and owned land.  At this time, Jews made up about thirty percent of the population and owned seven percent of the land, shown in white.  Moving right, the next map shows the territorial division called for in the Partition Resolution approved by the UN in November 1947, which allotted the Jewish state 55 percent of the land.  A small area around Jerusalem was to be internationalized, not under either Jewish or Arab control.  By 1949, at the end of the war that erupted following Partition, Israel controlled 78 percent of Palestine (shown in the third map), including the western section of the Jerusalem enclave.  Jordan and Egypt took control of the remaining 22 percent—the West Bank and Gaza respectively—and approximately 750,000 Palestinians, fully two-thirds of the total Palestinian Arab population, fled the fighting or were forcibly expelled by Israeli forces.  These refugees and generations of their descendants have lived in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza ever since.  Israel has refused to permit the return of any refugees, and the US and the rest of the international community have failed to exert any serious pressure on Israel to allow a refugee return; the Arab states that might have supported Palestinians politically have not.

 

Map 4 depicts the territorial situation today.  Not only did Israel capture the West Bank and Gaza (shown in green in Map 3) in 1967, but Palestinians have lost still more land and still more of their territorial identity in the fifty years of that occupation—fifty years in which Israel has consolidated its control over these territories by confiscating Palestinian land, building a wall inside the West Bank to push Palestinians farther east, building settlements reserved for Jews and roads on which only Israeli licensed cars may drive, and severely restricting Palestinian freedom of movement.  The approximately five million Palestinians currently living in the West Bank and Gaza (about three million and two million respectively) enjoy no political rights: they cannot vote; they have no access to civilian courts; their movement in and out and within the occupied territories is restricted; their Palestinian Authority leadership has no political power and functions largely as a quisling government, acting at Israel’s behest, with control only over some administrative functions and whatever security matters Israel allows it to perform.

 

Nonetheless, Palestinians have remained steadfast.  Sumud, steadfastness, is the watchword for Palestinians determined not again to flee or be forced out.  Non-violent resistance as it has evolved in the Palestinian community over the last fifty-plus years has kept the Palestinians together as a people, in spirit if not geographically.  Resistance has sustained and nurtured the Palestinians in hope even at the most pessimistic of times, and indeed has ensured their very survival.

Update: The Episcopal Peace Fellowship applauds an Arkansas circuit judge’s April 14 blocking of a string of assembly line executions of seven prisoners that was slated to begin April 17 – day after Easter.

EPF also backs the McKesson medical supply company that  sells the Pfizer drug vecuronium bromide which is widely used by hospitals to relax patients’ muscles before surgery. Vecuronium is one of three drugs that many states use to create a cocktail that is lethal. McKesson has sued the State of Arkansas for pretending to order the drug for prison hospitals – not the execution chamber.

Click HERE to Read more.

Episcopal Peace Fellowship News Release March 24, 2017

contact – Bob Kinney – bob.kinney@gmail.com

Claysburg, Pennsylvania – The Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) condemns the upcoming state execution of eight convicts by the State of Arkansas in a span of just ten days.
“The state of Arkansas hasn’t executed an inmate since 2005, but Governor Asa Hutchinson has plans for eight executions within the span of ten days in April beginning one day after Easter because the state’s supply of midazolam expires at the end of that month and drug companies are increasingly deciding not to sell their drugs for executions,” said the Rev. Allison Liles, EPF executive director.
“It is said to be the most concentrated execution schedule in the United States since the re-introduction of the death penalty in 1976,” said Rt. Rev. Larry Benfield, Bishop of Arkansas. The diocese is planning death vigils in its cathedral in Little Rock before every execution beginning on Good Friday. Read Bishop Benfield’s statement here.
The state executions will forever scar the families of those convicts scheduled to die. They have been living a hell for two to three decades while their son has been on death row. The families of those slain by the convicts may feel like justice has been done – or perhaps not. Fellow death row prisoners will be saying goodbye to the eight as their own execution moves closer.
“The death penalty is driven by revenge – not justice,” said the Rev. Allison Liles. “And a high price of this vengeful punishment is being paid by the prison workers forced to endure the reality of what it means to execute a human being.”
“It is unfair for Governor Hutchinson to set execution dates for these eight men, then ask a select group of people to carry them out in such a short amount of time. Chosen members of the Cummins Unit prison staff will be forced to perform legal, state-sanctioned killings of eight fellow human beings within the span of ten days. After each execution they must return to their usual daily work for just one day before they must kill another person. This poses an inherent moral conflict to human values that must be addressed,” said Rev. Liles.
In his stunning documentary film “Into The Abyss” – noted film director Werner Herzog explores the effects of the death penalty in the State of Texas – a state that has killed 517 prisoners since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty. Runners up are Virginia and Oklahoma with 110. Arkansas has killed just 27 – until now.
Most wrenching in the film is Herzog talking to the former head of the Death Squad at Huntsville – the Texas state prison where all prisoners are killed. The leader of a 12-person team had supervised the killing of about 120 prisoners. He lauded his team for getting the job done within ten minutes but something happened when he supervised the 1998 killing of Karla Faye Tucker – the first woman to be killed in Texas since 1863.
He tells Herzog that he fell to the floor of the execution chamber and began shaking violently when she died. The burly East Texas man quit his job the next day and lost his state pension – he could no longer kill.
The Episcopal Peace Fellowship has championed peace, nonviolence and social justice issues since its founding on Armistice Day in 1939.
Read more about EPF – http://epfnational.org.

Jeremiah 1:18 – And I for my part have made you today a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall, against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests, and the people of the land.

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              Tuesday was busy from the get go, beginning with a 6:30am wake up call for a contemporary Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem.  The stations trace through Old Town where many believe Jesus walked with his heavy wooden cross. The final stations culminate at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site where it is believed Jesus was raised on the cross and laid in the tomb. At each station we read a reflection on current oppression coupled with a prayer for hope and peace.

 

The rest of Tuesday was spent touring Jerusalem through the lens of an everyday Palestinian living under occupation.  Our tour guide took us to Israeli settlements and poor Palestinian neighborhoods in the valleys of Jerusalem. While on the Road to Jericho (an ancient trading road form Jerusalem to Jericho), we paused to see where the wall that surrounds Jerusalem has cut off many Palestinian lives from the outside world. Twenty feet of concrete with a thin top layer of barbed wire, the wall intimidates and fortifies arbitrary city borders. It could not, however, drown out a Muslim call to prayer at midday, as megaphones amplified an Imam from a nearby mosque for all to hear.

I will never be able to truly understand the complex and troubling relationship between Israel and Palestine. Jerusalem is now a walled-off city, fortified not by iron or bronze but concrete and barbed wire.  The whole land – neighborhoods, schools, hospitals – walled off from neither kings or princes, but families and neighbors.   The prophet Jeremiah understands what it means be an exile, a refugee.  Jeremiah, taken from his residence outside of Jerusalem to far-away Babylon, lost his home and wellbeing. Jerusalem was pillaged and destroyed, and its people scattered and forced to live in hostile lands. This exile and oppression exists now, just as in Jeremiah’s time. Destruction and degradation abound; we, like Jeremiah, turn to lament:

“How long will the land mourn,
and the grass of every field wither?
For the wickedness of those who live in it
the animals and the birds are swept away,
and because people said, “He is blind to our ways.” Jeremiah 12:4 (NRSV)

 

Editor’s Note: This is the second reflection from seminarian Michael Kurth, EPF Young Adult Network Convener, while on a ten day pilgrimage to the Holy Land in March 2017. Michael is a Postulant in the Diocese of New York and currently attends Berkeley Divinity School at Yale Divinity School and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

Editor’s Note: This is the first reflection from seminarian Michael Kurth, EPF Young Adult Network Convener, while on a ten day pilgrimage to the Holy Land in March 2017. Michael is a Postulant in the Diocese of New York and currently attends Berkeley Divinity School at Yale Divinity School and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

 

Though treading with tired eyes from long international flights, we arrived Sunday morning in Tel Aviv with enthusiasm, ready for our adventure to begin.  The weather – intermittent showers and patches of sun – has been hovering around a chilly 50 degrees fahrenheit.  And yet, a chill has not frosted over our pilgrimage group, as we have spent our first two days engaged with each other and the journey upon us.  Our group is comprised of six pilgrims and two experienced tour guides.  We are seminarians, faculty members, a culinary trained chef, and retirees (priest, pediatrician, and CIA agent. Seriously.).  Over ten days (March 12-21), we will explore Jerusalem and other areas of the West Bank (Ramallah and Bethlehem in particular) to gain understanding of the lived situation between Israelis and Palestinians, and the small but important role the Episcopal Church plays in finding peace and justice. Along the way, we will visit many Holy Sites (mostly in Jerusalem, but also in Bethlehem, Nablus, and hopefully the Sea of Galilee).

Our first days in Jerusalem provided moments of both incredible spiritual joy tinged with sadness at the current state of the city.  On Monday, we visited the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs, where a UN staffer discussed in great detail the complex and troubling current living situations in Gaza and the West Bank. Afterwards, we met with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and Archbishop Suheil Dawani, hearing about the many hospitals, schools, and jobs training the Diocese offers throughout its VERY large territory (Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon).  Monday afternoon we had free, so I headed to the Western Wall (a fragment of the outer wall of the Second Temple, the holiest place for all Jews), the Mount of Olives (a site where Jesus taught) and Garden of Gethsemane (where Jesus prayed with his disciples before being betrayed). While at the Garden, I found myself moved in prayer to the point of quiet weeping. “Not my will, but your will be done .” (Lk 22:42)

 

Deo Gratias — Thanks be to God,

Michael Kurth

 

For Immediate Release – Claysburg Pennsylvania

 

 

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) endorses the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s condemnation of President Donald Trump’s recent “Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” that forbids foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Here is the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s statement – http://forusa.org/blog.php?i=142

“The United Sates was created and sustained by immigrants who came to our country from throughout the world. Now is the time for the United States to embody our historic principles of hospitality and religious freedom,” said the Rev. Allison Liles, executive director of Episcopal Peace Fellowship.

Liles continued to say — “Our Episcopal Book of Common Prayer’s Prayer for the Human Family asks that God look with compassion on the whole human family, taking away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts, breaking down the walls that separate us and instead unite us in bonds of love.

EPF staunchly opposes President Trump’s discriminatory executive decision, which turns our country’s back on refugees at a time when they are most in need of safety.

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship has championed peace, nonviolence and social justice issues since its founding on Armistice Day in 1939.

Read more about EPF – http://epfnational.org.

News Release

Episcopal Peace Fellowship – December 12, 2016

Episcopal Peace Fellowship urges Life without Parole – not the Death Penalty – for Dylann Roof who killed 9 African-Americans and injured 1 in a Charleston church in South Carolina

Claysburg, Pennsylvania – This week Dylann Roof’s first death penalty trial begins in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof is accused of entering the Bible study class at Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston on June 17, 2015 – observing the lesson with parishioners – then opening fire on those present while shouting racial slurs and insults.

Roof faces 33 charges, including hate crimes, murder, attempted murder and obstruction of religion, and could face the death penalty because of “the nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement in May 2016. The 22-year-old has also been charged in a state murder case, which also carries the death penalty and is scheduled following this trial.

The Rev. Allison Liles, EPF Executive Director, said “We stand with the Rev. Sharon Risher, whose mother, two cousins and a family friend were gunned down.”

Essence quotes Risher in an interview in its November issue – “I’m still on that journey of forgiveness. What Dylann Roof did has put a hole in my soul and the soul of America. I don’t personally believe in the death penalty. Even though he did this to my family, I still wouldn’t want him put to death. ” http://www.essence.com/lifestyle/lucy-mcbath-sharon-risher-on-gun-violence-healing

The Rev. Liles added – “Over a half-century ago, the Episcopal Church declared its position regarding capital punishment, which was reaffirmed at the 2015 General Convention of The Episcopal Church:

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church opposes capital punishment on a theological basis that the life of an individual is of infinite worth in the sight of Almighty God, and the taking of such a human life falls within the providence of Almighty God and not within the right of Man.” [Emphasis Added]”

             “Jesus calls us to a life of love, mercy and redemption,” she said.  As his followers we must reject state sanctioned retribution and collective vengeance as reasons for taking human life. Scripture repeatedly calls us to overcome evil with good and to transform hatred with love. And the death penalty undermines the fundamental respect for human life by sanctioning the deliberate act of killing a human being.”

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship therefore urges the court to pursue life in prison sentences rather than capital punishment for the crimes committed by Dylann Roof.

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship has championed peace, nonviolence and social justice issues since its founding on Armistice Day in 1939.

Read more about EPF – http://epfnational.org.

Contact – EPF publicist Bob Kinney – 512.419.1738 –bob. kinney@gmail.com

 

 

 

pressrelease-ahowtoguide

EPF Press Release – A How to Guide

  • I have an idea for an EPF press release!
  • Determine who is the sponsor of the press release (EPF, EPF PIN, EPF Action Group…)
  • Contact the appropriate EPF Action Group, if there is one
  • Draft press release
  • Executive Director & NEC Chair approve language, specifically quotes attributed to them
  • Release is circulated to the sponsor (EPF, PIN, Action Group) for final review
  • Release is sent to Executive Director and NEC Chair for final approval
  • Bob Kinney circulates press release, in consultation with the sponsor,  to appropriate contacts