EPF LOGO clear small
Now is a good time to support our work for justice and peace! Click here.
Peace Out! Week Ninety
How to help save a life.

Offered by Bradley A. MacLean, Nashville, TN, attorney for

Abu Ali Abdur’Rahman

Dear Episcopal Peace Fellowship:

I am asking a big favor of you in support of Abu Ali Abdur’Rahman, an Episcopalian who has been sitting on Tennessee’s death row for 33 years even though he never received a fair trial.

A documentary film about Abu Ali’s case will be shown on-line in Nashville Film Festival from October 1 to October 7. The name of the documentary is “You Don’t Know Me.” Because the Nashville Film Festival will be a virtual, on-line event this year, anyone in the nation may purchase a ticket to watch the film any time during the seven days of the Festival.

I am asking you to please do two things for our brother, Abu:

1. Please watch and encourage as many people as possible (locally and throughout the nation) to watch “You Don’t Know Me” during the Nashville Film Festival, October 1-7.

2. Please ask those people, when they watch the film, to vote for the film to receive an Audience Award at the Festival.

If enough people watch the film and vote for it to receive an Audience Award, that will improve the odds that the film can be placed on a nationwide platform (such as Netflix, Prime, Hulu, etc.) which could greatly help Abu.

A ticket to watch the film costs $12.80. Here is a link to the site where you can purchase a ticket:

https://watch.eventive.org/nashfilm2020/play/5f4cea82ed5f7b00452ea515?m=1.

To get an idea of what the film is about, here is a link to the trailer for the film:

https://vimeo.com/298478335

This documentary was produced by Jon Kent, an independent Nashville documentary filmmaker, who spent the past three years learning about Abu Ali’s case. The name of the film, “You Don’t Know Me,” aptly describes the fundamental problem with Abu Ali’s case. Because of the complete failure of Abu Ali’s trial lawyers to defend Abu, and because of the egregious misconduct of the prosecutor in the case, the jury that sentenced Abu Ali to death never heard a massive amount of available evidence about who Abu Ali is or about the true circumstances of the case. To give just one example, the blood evidence in the case establishes that Abu Ali was not the person who killed the victim. But the jury never heard anything about that evidence. And, as I say, this is just one of many examples.

It was a great honor for “You Don’t Know Me” to be accepted into the Nashville Film Festival, one of the leading film festivals in the nation. This attests to the quality of the film.

Our friends at The Poor People’s Campaign, Forward Justice and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund have partnered to provide election protection in ten key states, including many of yours! We hope to have 200 poll monitors from each of the following states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

We know it’ll take each of us to protect our democracy, but we’re up for the challenge.

If you’re interested in being a poll monitor, please sign-up for one of the non-partisan trainings happening on various dates for various places around the nation and encourage your friends and family who may be interested to do the same.

Trainings will be held via Zoom and will last 1.5 hours. During training we’ll learn how to spot issues, report problems and assist voters. All poll monitors must attend one training, so we hope to see you there!

Protest Chaplaincy Training and Discussion on Faithful Civil Action

Join Rev. Melanie Mullen for a group discussion addressing the challenges facing Episcopal leaders in direct action and street witness.

Tuesday, October 6th, at 4:00 PM EST
Register in advance for this training: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMufu-qrzIuH9eM2EaiWSrA4kueM_A-JiN4

VoteFaithfully Resources:
Check out the Office of Governmental Relations 2020 Vote Faithfully Election Engagement Toolkit to learn how you can help encourage voting in your community!
In English: Vote Faithfully Toolkit 2020
En Español: Vote Fielmente 2020

Walking with Asylum Seekers:
A Training Series for Congregations

In the month of October, join Episcopal Migration Ministries, in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and Lutheran Family Services of the Rocky Mountains (LFSRM), for a three-part training series for congregations interested in supporting and walking alongside asylum seekers. The three 90-minute virtual events will provide advocacy updates, resources for group discernment, ministry models, and important considerations when engaging in ministry with asylum seekers.

Walking with Asylum Seekers: Ministry Opportunities for Congregations
WEBINAR: October 8, 4:00 – 5:30PM Eastern

Walking with Asylum Seekers: Sponsorship Part 1
MEETING: October 20, 4:00 – 5:30PM Eastern

Walking with Asylum Seekers: Sponsorship Part 2
MEETING: October 27, 4:00 – 5:30PM Eastern

Register here (https://episcopalmigrationministries.org/walking-with-asylum-seekers-a-training-series-for-congregations-october-2020/).

Participants may choose to attend one or more of the virtual events offered. Registration is required. The October 8 webinar will be available on-demand following the event; the latter two meetings will not be available on-demand.

Episcopal Migration Ministries is a ministry of The Episcopal Church and is one of nine national agencies responsible for resettling refugees in the United States in partnership with the government. Episcopal Migration Ministries currently has 13 affiliate offices in 11 states. In addition to its long-standing work in refugee resettlement ministry, Episcopal Migration Ministries is The Episcopal Church’s convening place for collaboration, education, and information-sharing on migration. To directly support EMM and its life-changing work, visit www.episcopalmigrationministries.org/give or text ‘EMM’ to 41444 (standard messaging and data may rates apply).

Witness Palestine
Film Festival
Online October 4 –
November 3, 2020

The ninth annual Witness Palestine Film Festival is scheduled for October 4 – November 3. With no or very limited access this year to our traditional venues of The Little Theatre and St. John Fischer College, the festival will be online. In this new format, we plan to make four films available via the web at no charge. This year’s films offer perspectives on Palestine/Israel through a variety of lenses: historical; shared heart-felt personal experiences of former Israeli soldiers and of American Jews encountering first-hand the realities of Palestinian life under Israeli occupation; and the stories of Arab Americans in Brooklyn seeking a political voice. Film titles, dates, registration information, and other details may be found at WitnessPalestineRochester.org.

God of opportunity and change, praise to you for giving us life at this critical time. As our horizons extend, keep us loyal to our past; as our dangers increase, help us to prepare the future; keep us trusting and hopeful, ready to recognize your kingdom as it comes. Amen.

New Zealand Prayer Book

Photo credit: Bridget Reeves Tytler
STAY CONNECTED
Facebook Twitter Instagram
EPF LOGO clear small
Now is a good time to support our work for justice and peace! Click here.
Peace Out! Week Eighty-nine
ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY!
Join EPF this Saturday for a chance to find some inspiration to engage in advocacy against the death penalty. Read on...

The following is offered by NEC member Kathy McGregor of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Kathy is a founder of The Prison Story Project and a fierce advocate for her brothers and sisters on death row in Arkansas. She will co-host our viewing of "On the Row: Stories from Arkansas's Death Row" this Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time. Please join us for this compelling work of advocacy, and a Q & A session afterwards with Kathy and our condemned brother, Kenneth Reams, who will join us from Death Row at Varner Prison.

There are two federal executions scheduled prior to the Zoom showing of On The Row on Saturday, September 26: William LeCroy is scheduled to be executed on September 22 and Christopher Vialva on September 24. I was particularly drawn to the death penalty case of Christopher Vialva. He arrived on death row in June 1999, just over a month after his 19th birthday.

I was drawn to Vialva's case because Kenneth Reams, one of the men our Prison Story Project served, has been on death row since the age of 18 for a crime he did not commit.

According to prominent cognitive neuropsychologist, Dr. Jason Chein, director of the Temple University Brain Reserarch and Imaging Center, the decision to execute Vialva is out of step with what science now knows about the workings of the adolescent brain.

Vialva was 19 years old when he and four co-defendants, aged 15, 16, 16, and 18, killed a Texas couple during a carjacking and robbery. In a September 17 commentary in Bloomberg Law, Dr. Chein writes that while these murders were clearly an abhorrent act, “to make a final judgment about a person’s life based on a crime he committed as a teenager is to ignore what the last 20-plus years of research has taught us about the developing brains of teenagers and adolescents.”

I have seen first-hand how age and maturity have changed Kenneth. He is now 46 years old and has spent every day of the past 26 years in solitary confinement, pushing back the walls of his cell to become a painter, a poet, non-profit founder and art event organizer – all while fighting for his life.

Kenneth will try to call in for the Q&A after the showing of On the Row if the prison will allow it. If not, he will attempt to call in through his lawyer. If that doesn’t work, he has given me permission to gather questions you may have for him to answer and post on the EPF website. So please bring any questions you may have about what it’s like to live in solitary confinement on death row for decades. You may read more of Kenneth’s story here. www.freekennethreams.org

More resources are collected below:

To add your name to the Action Network's petition:
Tell Congress: Abolish the Federal Death Penalty
https://tinyurl.com/y4clv3xy

Video Statement of Christopher Vialva https://tinyurl.com/yysmbd5o

Intercept Article: Trump Prepares to Execute Christopher Vialva for a Crime He Committed as a Teenager: https://tinyurl.com/y66kybv

Death Penalty Information Center News:
https://tinyurl.com/y4fbotot
Psychologist Raises Concerns About Upcoming Federal Execution for Crimes Committed as a Teenager

Plan to join EPF via Zoom on
Saturday, September 26, 2020
4:30 pm Eastern/1:30 pm Pacific of
On The Row.
Tickets available on Classy
for a $30 contribution to EPF.
Check the link here for
video previews of this compelling work!
We look forward to being with you then!
"If I were queen, there would be no death penalty". Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Read Equal Justice Initiative's lament at the death of the only Supreme Court Justice with advocacy against the death penalty in her legal practice experience HERE

Witness Palestine
Film Festival
Online October 4 –
November 3, 2020

The ninth annual Witness Palestine Film Festival is scheduled for October 4 – November 3. With no or very limited access this year to our traditional venues of The Little Theatre and St. John Fischer College, the festival will be online. In this new format, we plan to make four films available via the web at no charge. This year’s films offer perspectives on Palestine/Israel through a variety of lenses: historical; shared heart-felt personal experiences of former Israeli soldiers and of American Jews encountering first-hand the realities of Palestinian life under Israeli occupation; and the stories of Arab Americans in Brooklyn seeking a political voice. Film titles, dates, registration information, and other details may be found at WitnessPalestineRochester.org.

Give us, we pray you, gentle God,
a mind forgetful of past injury,
a will to seek the good of others
and a heart of love.

Grant us, Jesus, that tender, indestructible love
which asks forgiveness for its executioners
and gives hope to the thief on the cross.
Keep us compassionate when the way is hard,
and gentle with those who oppose us.

Lord God,
you have taught us
that anything we do without love is worth nothing,
for whoever lives without love
is counted dead before you;
send your Holy Spirit,
and pour into our hearts
that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues;
grant this for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen

New Zealand Prayer Book

STAY CONNECTED
Facebook Twitter Instagram
EPF LOGO clear small
Now is a good time to support our work for justice and peace! Click here.
Peace Out! Week Eighty-eight
Rev. James Chisholm, commemorated annually on September 15

Deja Vu
Offered by EPF NEC member, Bruce Freeman
Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, OH

"As we as a country continue to navigate our way through the World Pandemic of 2020, certain individuals stand out as heroes in a time of calamity, providing care and comfort to the afflicted, as well as performing continuing services for the public, such as postal workers, child care, emergency services to victims of natural disaster, grocery store stockers and deliverers, etc. We are all grateful for their service while putting themselves at risk.

"The Rev. James Chisholm was one of these unsung heroes during a time of devastating Yellow Fever in Virginia in 1855."

Read the full text of Bruce's reflection HERE

EPF Chapters in New York endorse "Back from the Brink." Read the full endorsement in support of preventing nuclear war HERE
Monday, September 21, 2020 is International Day of Peace! How does your Peace Partner Parish or Chapter acknowledge this day? We'd love to highlight your activities, particularly any virtual celebrations which can be shared with the rest of us so we can be a part of it. Send links to your International Day of Peace events so we can promote them for you here in Peace Out. epfactnow
Your opportunity to view a filmed version of the stage production of "On The Row: Stories from Arkansas' Death Row" is here! EPF National Executive Council member Kathy McGregor will make this impactful film available to our EPF members, Peace Partner Parishes and Chapters via Zoom on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 4:30 pm Eastern/1:30 pm Pacific. Tickets available on Classy for a $30 contribution to EPF. Check the link here for video previews of this compelling work.

Witness Palestine
Film Festival
Online October 4 –
November 3, 2020

The ninth annual Witness Palestine Film Festival is scheduled for October 4 – November 3. With no or very limited access this year to our traditional venues of The Little Theatre and St. John Fischer College, the festival will be online. In this new format, we plan to make four films available via the web at no charge. This year’s films offer perspectives on Palestine/Israel through a variety of lenses: historical; shared heart-felt personal experiences of former Israeli soldiers and of American Jews encountering first-hand the realities of Palestinian life under Israeli occupation; and the stories of Arab Americans in Brooklyn seeking a political voice. Film titles, dates, registration information, and other details may be found at WitnessPalestineRochester.org.

Registration for Journey Toward Awareness and Understanding of Anti-Racism is here: https://www.stmichaelsbarrington.org/church-announcements/794-journey-toward-awareness-2020-peace-and-justice-anti-racism
to reserve a spot for any of the evenings. Thanks to EPF Peace Partner Parish St. Michael's-Barrington, IL, for this invitation to join them!
STAY CONNECTED
Facebook Twitter Instagram

Offered by Dr. Linda Gaither

An important and disturbing event may have escaped our attention in the midst of the chaos facing us all in 2020.  In January, the 2020 Doomsday Clock was re-set at 100 seconds to midnight, as announced in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.  “Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers – nuclear war and climate change – that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society's ability to respond.  The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.”

This is a terrifying reality to face. We have learned in the battle with COVID-19 that when public health infrastructure and preparedness, whether national or international, are underfunded or defunded, a terrible price is paid in human life. The price for nuclear war and nuclear winter is beyond calculation.  

The vestries of St. John's Church in Ithaca and St. Thomas' in Slaterville Springs have responded to the unthinkable danger of nuclear war by endorsing Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War.  Both the Ithaca Common Council and the Town Council of Lansing voted to endorse as well.

These endorsements are the fruit of a sustained effort over a number of years to educate and raise consciousness in the Ithaca area, in order to call for citizen action for nuclear disarmament.  The Ithaca Area Chapter of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, working closely with the Nuclear Disarmament Group at Cornell, has sponsored several educational visits by Dr. Ira Helfand of Physicians for Social Responsibility

(PSR). In 2017 PSR collaborated with the Union of Concerned Scientists to launch Back from the Brink. https://www.preventnuclearwar.org/  

This is a national grassroots initiative seeking to change U.S. nuclear weapons policy. As Dr. Helfand puts it, Nuclear weapons are not a force of nature, they are not an act of God. We have made them with our own hands and we know how to take them apart. We’ve already dismantled more than 50,000 of them. The only thing that’s missing is the political will and commitment to do this. And that’s where all of us come in.”

Endorsing Back from the Brink supports the adoption of five common-sense steps:

         ** Renounce the option of using nuclear weapons first

          ** End the sole, unchecked authority of any U.S. President to launch a nuclear attack

            ** Take U.S. nuclear weapons off hair trigger alert

            ** Cancel the plan to replace the entire nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons

            ** Pursue a verifiable agreement among nuclear armed nations to eliminate arsenals

To build momentum for this grass-roots citizens' movement, it is our EPF Chapter's goal to invite the parishes of our diocese to engage with Back from the Brink, in response to the call for endorsement. By sharing the news in The Messenger and through the resolution process at our diocesan convention, we hope many parishes and our diocese as a body will say YES to endorsement.  We also invite individuals to endorse; it is simple to do on-line at the website  https://www.preventnuclearwar.org/

The ultimate goal is a resolution for General Convention, issuing a call for endorsement by The Episcopal Church.  This is in line with nearly 40 years of our church's policy, urging the U.S. and the other nuclear nations to block the spread of nuclear weapons and eliminate all nuclear weapons from the world (see Addendum below).

The Doomsday Clock is ticking. To us it appears that both the Episcopal Church's long-held policy on the nuclear threat and our Baptismal vows require us to respond.

Faithfully,

Dr. Frank Baldwin  [frankbaldwin149@gmail.com]

Dr. Linda Gaither [lgaither@sonofyork.com]

  

1982 General Convention voted to endorse a bilateral nuclear freeze and nuclear disarmament for U.S. and Soviet Russia.

1988 G.C. voted to urge the U.S. and U.S.S.R. to continue disarmament and use saved funds for human needs.

1994 G.C voted to urge the U.S. to sign a Test Ban Treaty and to pursue elimination of nuclear weapons.

1997 G.C.voted to support the goal of total nuclear disarmament by all the nuclear nations.

2009 G.C. voted to call on all nuclear armed nations to determine a timely process for dismantling nuclear weapons.political infrastructure 

EPF LOGO clear small
Now is a good time to support our work for justice and peace! Click here.
Peace Out! Week Eighty-seven
Rev. Christy Close Erskine
EPF member and supporter
Sisters, Oregon
The Ability to Protest Peacefully:
A Threatened Right or a Right Threat?
by Rev. Christy Close Erskine

As the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to threaten our country and our world there has been an increasing awareness of a pandemic of inequality and inequity among our black, brown and indigenous sisters and brothers that is difficult to ignore. It's not new by any means but we have an opportunity to see it with new eyes, leaving many of us wanting to learn and understand our history in new ways. As we soften our hearts, many of us are learning how pervasive our white privilege is. Debby Irving in Waking Up White asks us to consider another question: "How might we use our white privilege to dismantle racism?"

Read Christy's full meditation HERE

Standing Rock Civil Rights Lawsuit Moves Forward: Thunderhawk v. Morton County. Read more HERE. Image by Ryan Vizzions
Monday, September 21, 2020 is International Day of Peace! How does your Peace Partner Parish or Chapter acknowledge this day? We'd love to highlight your activities, particularly any virtual celebrations which can be shared with the rest of us so we can be a part of it. Send links to your International Day of Peace events so we can promote them for you here in Peace Out. epfactnow
Your opportunity to view a filmed version of the stage production of "On The Row: Stories from Arkansas' Death Row" is here! EPF National Executive Council member Kathy McGregor will make this impactful film available to our EPF members, Peace Partner Parishes and Chapters via Zoom on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 4:30 pm Eastern/1:30 pm Pacific. Tickets available on Classy for a $30 contribution to EPF. Check the link here for video previews of this compelling work.
Above from the Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish. Photo taken at the Darwish museum in Ramallah by EPF member Tom Foster of Rochester, NY. Although clearly written from a Palestinian to a Zionist, its appeal for empathy as an antidote to violence seems quite general.
Roadmap to Apartheid virtual screening and discussion with panelists, flyer below, is set for Sunday, September 13. Register in advance here to join the discussion and watch the film.
STAY CONNECTED
Facebook Twitter Instagram

By Rev. Christy Close Erskine

I was born on November 28, 1956, baptized on April 20, 1957 and ordained an Episcopal Priest on July 9, 1994. I have always been active in the Episcopal Church and for over 25 years I led congregations in Vancouver, Wa, Bend, OR and Coos Bay, OR before retiring a year ago in Sisters, OR.  I believe that our baptism is our call to ministry and our baptismal covenant has always had a claim on my heart.  

As the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to threaten our country and our world there has been an increasing awareness of a pandemic of inequality and inequity among our black, brown and indigenous sisters and brothers that is difficult to ignore.  It's not new by any means but we have an opportunity to see it with new eyes, leaving many of us wanting to learn and understand our history in new ways.  As we soften our hearts, many of us are learning how pervasive our white privilege is.  Debby Irving in Waking Up White asks us to consider another question:  "How might we use our white privilege to dismantle racism?"

As I sit with that question, I hear in my mind , "Will you strive for peace and justice and respect the dignity of every human being?

I answer in my heart, "I will with God's help!"  ...and I wonder, when did peace become so difficult in our own country?

Our country claims to be an inclusive democracy for all people. I'm becoming aware of a painful reality that from the time those words were first written down there were people working hard to ensure that the democracy was really only for white men.  Later on words were added to include black men, women and people of color, but there are still people working hard to ensure that the democracy is only for the powerful white men.  

As the Black Lives Matter protests have continued across our country we are increasingly hearing about crowd munitions-- tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and others-- being used by law enforcement to control peaceful crowds. Our own Portland, OR has been highlighted nationally as being out of control with violence and looting and yet nothing is mentioned about the peaceful protests. Messages of violence and lawlessness have again and again co-opted the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests from the majority of people across our country. 

I am very concerned about the increased use of crowd munitions to control protests, even when they are peaceful in nature.  This represents an erosion of our constitutional right to protest and gather peacefully. Over the last several months there have been many examples across our country and state of peaceful protests that have been disbursed by the use of crowd control munitions by police and federal agents and I believe that this is an abuse of power that needs to end. The argument is that this use of force is the only way to control the "unruly crowd", but in my experience this is simply not true.

Several weeks ago I was part of a peaceful protest of about 500+ people in a parking lot in Bend, OR.  Our intent was to support and come alongside two undocumented community members (living in Bend for 15 years) who had been detained by ICE early that morning and were being held in an unmarked ICE bus without having been told their rights or why they had been detained. As it started to get dark we were told that it had been confirmed that 50 federal agents were on their way and we needed to be prepared for possible tear gas or rubber bullets.  We were asked to sit down so that it would be very clear that we were a peaceful protest.  Someone pointed out a drone overhead and federal agents observing through the windows in the building behind us as we waited peacefully.

During the whole protest, I was sitting about 50 feet in front of the ICE bus which gave me a great vantage point to observe.  When the federal agents arrived, I was shocked to see fully armed and aggressive agents in front of us forcefully removing anyone in their way in order to take the two men from the bus.  The only violence I witnessed that night was initiated by the federal agents. 

As I sat there with armed federal agents in front of me, and a drone overhead I realized that the last time I had experienced something like this was when I was in Gaza last October.  Drones overhead and armed Israeli guards everywhere you looked to supposedly keep order and control over the Palestinians.  In Jerusalem an attorney who runs "Court Watch", a non-profit that helps educate Palestinian children and youth about their rights, had spoken to us.  He helped us understand that it was common practice for Israeli's to unlawfully go into homes and detain children and youth in the middle of the night. 

That was my experience in October 2019 in Gaza, an area where there is known "apartheid like" oppression that has been going on for decades:  Israelis subjugating Palestinians.  Now in August, 2020, I am in a hotel parking lot in Bend, OR, a resort-like place to live, destination spot for many to visit, a sanctuary city in a sanctuary state and I'm witnessing two men who had been detained at 5:30 am in an unmarked vehicle without being told why, not told their rights, not given access to an attorney or adequate water and food...with a drone overhead and armed federal agents using tear gas and rubber bullets to control a crowd that was sitting down on the pavement.  It was later reported by news media that we were a violent crowd and it was the only way to control us, but in no way was that my experience!

I was stunned that this was happening in my town and in our country and I'm not sure I would have believed it if I hadn't witnessed it myself.  I love our country and believe in the democracy that it stands for, an inclusive democracy for all people.  As citizens of this country our rights are being threatened.  We all need to work hard to defend our democracy and to ensure that it really is for all people and that it does truly protect everyone. As Christians we need to commit over and over again to working hard for peace and justice and to truly respect the dignity of every human being...and yes, gratefully all of that hard work will be with God's help!  What action are you being called to? How might you respond?

Weekly Update from Melanie
EPF LOGO clear small
Now is a good time to support our work for justice and peace! Click here.
Peace Out! Week Eighty-six
EPF Founder, Bishop Paul Jones' Feast Day is September 4.
Icon by Rev. Canon Robert Two Bulls
Photograph by Steven Atha
Read more about Bishop Jones' life HERE

WHAT IS LIFE?

Offered by
Rob Burgess
EPF National Executive Council Treasurer

This past half year or so has presented challenges for all. The pandemic and its related economic crisis adds to all our stress. Rob Burgess asks, "What is life?"

"What I feel, I can't say
But my love is there for you any time of day
But if it's not love that you need
Then I'll try my best to make everything succeed.”

Read the full meditation HERE

Monday, September 21, 2020 is International Day of Peace! How does your Peace Partner Parish or Chapter acknowledge this day? We'd love to highlight your activities, particularly any virtual celebrations which can be shared with the rest of us so we can be a part of it. Send links to your International Day of Peace events so we can promote them for you here in Peace Out. epfactnow
Your opportunity to view a filmed version of the stage production of "On The Row: Stories from Arkansas' Death Row" is here! EPF National Executive Council member Kathy McGregor will make this impactful film available to our EPF members, Peace Partner Parishes and Chapters via Zoom on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 4:30 pm Eastern/1:30 pm Pacific. Tickets available on Classy for a $30 contribution to EPF. Check the link here for video previews of this compelling work.
About The Prison Story Project: The Prison Story Project offered incarcerated women and men an opportunity to explore their truths through poetry, creative writing, literature, song-writing, and visual art. Their work was then curated into a staged reading performed by actors and presented first to those on inside prison, and then outside to the community.

Eleven of the thirty-four men on Arkansas' death row participated in the Project, including Don Davis, featured above. Six actors and a musician were brought back to Varner Prison’s death row to present the staged reading of “On The Row” to the men. Three months later, the state of Arkansas announced it would execute 8 men over 10 days just after Easter 2017. Four of the men set to be executed were participants in the Project. Two were executed and two received last minute stays.

“On The Row” has been touring the country since 2017. Last year the Whiting Foundation for the Humanities awarded The Prison Story Project a substantial grant which has allowed us to create a filmed version of the staged reading as well as creation of a comprehensive teaching guide to share with other arts organizations interested in replicating our work. EPF looks forward to making this powerful film and the teaching guide available to you in the near future.

Roadmap to Apartheid virtual screening and discussion with panelists, flyer below, is set for Sunday, September 13. Register in advance here to join the discussion and watch the film.
EPF NEC Vice Chair, Rev. Will Mebane, is in the news again for his anti-racism advocacy and witness. Read the full story, "Staying in the Struggle: Rev. Will Mebane's Lifelong Stand for Racial Equality" in USA TODAY HERE
St. John's-Boulder, CO, shows love for their neighbor in a quite concrete way: guns are prohibited on their campus. What is preventing your parish from demonstrating dedication to our baptismal call in the same way? Let us know if our Gun Violence Prevention Action Group can help!
STAY CONNECTED
Facebook Twitter Instagram

Bishop Paul Jones, Founder of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship

On September 4th, the Episcopal Church celebrates and remembers the life of the Rt. Rev. Paul Jones, 4th Bishop of the Missionary District of Utah.  He became bishop in 1916 and was a prominent pacifist. 

As the fever for the United States to enter World War I strengthened, Bishop Jones’ pacifist views were considered controversial.  He believed and stated that “war is unchristian.”  He spoke out openly and frequently about his opposition to war.  His views faced opposition in much of the Church, especially his home diocese.  

In April 1918, a commission of the House of Bishops forced Paul Jones to resign his post as Bishop of Utah because of his outspoken opposition to World War I.  Jones then served as a chaplain at Antioch College and founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation.  In the 1930s, Jones was deeply committed to assisting Jewish and other refugees fleeing the Nazi regime in Germany. He pushed the Episcopal Church to take up the cause of refugees, a topic that like today was not without controversy.

As a result of his efforts, the Episcopal Church formally established the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief which later became the Episcopal Relief & Development.

Jones’ title as bishop was restored in 1939 with seat but no voice in the House of Bishops.  Until his death on September 4, 1941, he dedicated his life and ministry to peace rooted in the Gospel.

Sources:

https://diocese-eastcarolina.org/dfc/newsdetail_2/3166923

"What I feel, I can't say
But my love is there for you any time of day
But if it's not love that you need
Then I'll try my best to make everything succeed.”

I am not sure whether George Harrison’s song What is Life was written about a woman or was George’s discernment as to the purpose of this life.  Experts far more steeped in Beatlemania argue that to this day. 

Let’s assume for a moment that Harrison was writing about spiritual discernment.  After all, What is Life was written at time of spiritual searching for Harrison.  The same album that featured My Sweet Lord, Isn’t It a Pity, Hear Me Lord, and All Things Must Pass.

This past half year or so has presented challenges for all.  The pandemic and its related economic crisis adds to all our stress.  

A little more than a year ago, I joined a non-profit board which supports the homeless and seeks to prevent homelessness in my Southwest Michigan county.  Michigan was originally hit hard by the pandemic and the related economic fallout. For months, Michigan was under a governor’s executive order to halt landlord evictions.  That order was lifted in July and evictions have begun apace.  Earlier this week, I learned in our small county, judges have been hearing four eviction cases an hour for weeks now. My non-profit was awarded a federal grant to help stave off some evictions. We just received an advance on these funds a week ago.   The judges, landlords, and our partner non-profits are anxious because we had not helped a month and a half ago when the governor’s ban was first lifted.  We are a cash starved non-profit that does not have the resources to do that.  Our staff is stressed to assist with burgeoning case loads at the same time comply with federal grant requirements.

My Sweet Lord, it is a mess. But for those already evicted or at risk of eviction, the stress must be nearly Job like.

In my personal life, my wife and I, who are guardians for our grandson, recently had to make a decision as to whether he would return to in-person school after being out since March or continue his education virtually.  Michigan seems to have done a better job than some states at tamping down the pandemic, so our decision for now has been for him to return to in-person instruction.  He needs the socialization and classroom teacher’s attention.  Many of you have probably had to make similar stressed filled decisions.  My Sweet Lord, I pray that we have made the correct one.  

While we can wear masks, social distance, and wash our hands frequently, the pandemic has magnified the things in life that are out of our control.   Growing up, my father had a simple prayer posted on his bedroom wall.  I think it grounded Dad.  Maybe it will help us too:

God grant me the Serenity

To accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can

And the Wisdom to know the difference.

My Sweet Lord, grant each of you those things this day.

2045 West Grand Ave, Suite B #40058, Chicago, IL 60612-1577 © 2020 EPF National. All rights reserved.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram