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Peace Out! Week Ninety-four
THE TRUTH

Offered by
Rev. Edwin Johnson
Priest-In-Charge
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
Dorchester, MA

Truth By Padre Edwin
Coming soon!

Prayers for Peace Sabbath

A liturgy for
Sunday, November 15
in commemoration of
Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s
81 years of social justice
advocacy and action

Watch this space
for details

In a remarkable development, with Honduras casting the deciding vote from 50 countries, the United Nations has finally achieved an historic milestone for peace. Read the full story HERE
pow wow
Native American tribes opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline once again have asked a federal judge to stop the flow of oil while the legal battle over the line’s future plays out.

Read more HERE.

EPF is led by a dedicated council of clergy and lay visionaries from around the country — our National Executive Council ("NEC"). If you feel called to set the agenda for the work of EPF, and are passionate about social justice and the vitality of The Episcopal Church, or know someone who is, we invite your nomimation. Read more epfactnow
Please sign up to attend a We Must Do M.O.R.E. Phone Bank to call or text poor and low-income voters in key states where their vote will have the greatest impact. Sign voters up for election reminders, help them develop a voting plan and connect them to the Poor People’s Campaign! PPC will teach you everything you need to know!

Register to help HERE

October is
Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Episcopal Peace Fellowships’s position on Gender Based Violence is simple: We must seek to eliminate all forms of violence, whether interpersonal or systematic, if we want to live in a free, just, and loving society according to our baptismal covenant. We are looking for leadership for our Gender Violence Prevention Action Group. Interested? Please let Melanie Atha know (epfactnow).

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.

Unity

On the brink of a national election in which hope and fear run so tremblingly deep and the order of the world feels so trenchantly locked in conflict, the cosmic unity of love feels like an unreasonable and scandalous hope. But as we each live and dance, pray and vote ever further into a reality beyond “they” and “us,” we are, in T. S. Eliot’s words, “folded in a single party.” Our prayer becomes the one word We, and in that prayer—and perhaps that prayer alone—we will be raised up, ripened, and restored.
-Br. Keith Nelson, SSJE

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Peace Out! Week Ninety-three
Respect the Dignity of Every Human Being:
Changing Policing in America

Offered by
Rev. Gayle Fisher-Stewart, PhD
Interim Rector
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
Washington, DC

"To respect the dignity of every human being, we must eliminate any and all barriers that keep God’s people from being all they can be; break down all barriers that keep God’s children of ebony grace from being fully human. We are called to destroy any barriers that keep any of God’s children from being able to live full lives and to be free to love others as Jesus loves us. Retired bishop John Shelby Spong offers, “I experience God as life. The God who is the source of life causes me to worship God by living – by living fully. The more fully I can live, the more I make God visible and I experience God as the source of love calling me to love, freeing me to love. The more fully, the more gracefully I can give my love away, I believe I can make God visible.” The Church is being called to be make God visible by destroying a system that denies humanity to God’s black and brown children; that keeps them from living fully, from loving fully."

Read all of Rev. Dr. Gayle Fisher-Stewart’s meditation on our obligation to change our racist, militarized police departments HERE

Coming soon!

Prayers for Peace Sabbath

A liturgy for
Sunday, November 15
in commemoration of
Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s
81 years of social justice
advocacy and action

Watch this space
for details

Bruce Freeman
Abide with me!
Wakan Cekiye Olowan

EPF National Executive Council member, Bruce Freeman, shares how EPF leadership, particularly Rev. Dr. John Floberg, inspired and solidified his commitment to EPF when Rev. Floberg opened our spring NEC meeting by singing Abide With Me in Lakota. "They will know we are Christians by our LOVE!" Cantecikaya!

EPF is lead by a dedicated council of clergy and lay visionaries from around the country — our National Executive Council ("NEC"). If you feel called to set the agenda for the work of EPF, and are passionate about social justice and the vitality of The Episcopal Church, or know someone who is, we invite your nomimation. Read more epfactnow
Please sign up to attend a We Must Do M.O.R.E. Phone Bank to call or text poor and low-income voters in key states where their vote will have the greatest impact. Sign voters up for election reminders, help them develop a voting plan and connect them to the Poor People’s Campaign! PPC will teach you everything you need to know!

Register to help HERE

You can join the webinar on the Episcopalians United Against Gun Violence Facebook page.
On Tuesday, October 27 at 5 pm Eastern, join "Bishops United Against Gun Violence for Praying for an End to Gun Violence: A Service of Lament, Hope and Resolve". This online service will address the difficult times in which America finds itself, lament the continuing gun violence epidemic in our country and offer an opportunity for attendees to take action and pledge to follow the path of nonviolence.
October is
Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Episcopal Peace Fellowships’s position on Gender Based Violence is simple: We must seek to eliminate all forms of violence, whether interpersonal or systematic, if we want to live in a free, just, and loving society according to our baptismal covenant. We are looking for leadership for our Gender Violence Prevention Action Group. Interested? Please let Melanie Atha know (epfactnow).

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.

Finally, from our friends at EPPN
another chance for informed advocacy:
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Offered by Rev. Gayle Fisher-Stewart

I’ve had to truly re-think what it means to be Black and Episcopal, particularly in these times of civil uprising, racial unrest, and falsehoods coming from the President of this country being accepted as truth. What is the role of the Church, the Episcopal Church in speaking out, advocating for the humanity of her Black members?  Where is the church on the conflict that continues between the police and African Americans those who are Episcopalians and those who are not? There are times, most times, when I find myself conflicted, particularly when it comes to the issue of policing and its role in maintaining a racist society. I am conflicted because I spent twenty years as a police officer in Washington, DC, and the next thirty, studying, teaching, and consulting on police and race. I am conflicted because I am Black and get nervous when I see a police car behind me. I am conflicted because I have a Black son and nephews with whom I have had “The Talk.” You know, “the talk,” how to be Black in America and survive an encounter with the police. The talk, a conversation the majority of white parents never have with their children.  And so, while I speak out against policing as it was created and continues to function—to surveil and control black and brown bodies– I must also face my role – knowingly and unknowingly — in maintaining that system – a system that has disproportionately and continues to negatively affect the life chances of people who look like me. I must ask how my faith now guides any discussion of what must be done.  

“Respect the dignity of every human being”—Book of Common Prayer

Respecting the dignity of Black people and seeing Black people as human beings has never been part of the mission and goal of American policing. From slave patrols to Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin (who murdered George Floyd) to mass incarceration, black people have been the fodder of the American criminal justice system. From what was considered a crime (running away from the plantation was theft), to initial contacts with the police (driving, walking, breathing, sleeping while black), to processing (sentencing disparities for Blacks and whites), to mass incarceration (slavery has just evolved according to Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson), the aim of the criminal justice system has been to maintain white supremacy, to keep white space white (President Trump’s not-so-veiled attempt to garner support from white suburban housewives by poorly hinting that he will keep those suburbs white), to ensure that Blacks were not (are not) seen as human beings and therefore have “no rights a white man is bound to respect.” And, yet, we as Episcopalians are called to “respect the dignity of every human being” and perhaps therein lies the problem. Do the mass of Episcopalians see Blacks as human beings, the carriers and reflectors of God’s image? Somehow, we must see each other as fully human and live in a way that makes God truly visible. It is more than going to church; it is more than beautiful liturgies. To respect the dignity of every human being, we must eliminate any and all barriers that keep God’s people from being all they can be; break down all barriers that keep God’s children of ebony grace from being fully human. We are called to destroy any barriers that keep any of God’s children from being able to live full lives and to be free to love others as Jesus loves us. Retired bishop John Shelby Spong offers, “I experience God as life. The God who is the source of life causes me to worship God by living – by living fully. The more fully I can live, the more I make God visible and I experience God as the source of love calling me to love, freeing me to love. The more fully, the more gracefully I can give my love away, I believe I can make God visible.” The Church is being called to be make God visible by destroying a system that denies humanity to God’s black and brown children; that keeps them from living fully, from loving fully.

There have been calls for the abolition and/or defunding of American policing.  American policing denies the humanity of God’s black and brown children. American policing is a barrier to living fully; to being fully human; therefore, it must be abolished. The problem with either word — abolition or defunding is that people jump to their own conclusions and/or definitions of what the terms mean. To abolish the police does not mean the elimination of policing. There are people who make decisions not to play by the rules society has established and when those rules are broken, they must be stopped; that’s what arrest means – to stop. Abolition in this context means to abolish the police as they were created (to surveil and control black and brown bodies) and continue to act (to surveil and control black and brown bodies) and establish a system that serves and protects all. It is difficult to change direction if you keep going in a straight line and that is what has occurred over the years under the mantra of police reform. The decision must be made to “stop” and then create a system that is truly based on justice. It is not easy; however, it can be done. Community policing was an attempt to do this; however, community policing was overlaid on a diseased system and became diseased itself. 

Part of abolition and re-creating American policing is de-funding, although a better term would be re-allocation of funds. Defunding, like abolition frightens people because it has either not been defined or applied in a manner that invites failure. There are any number of tasks or functions the police perform that do not require law enforcement authority. The problem is that for most cities, the police are the only agency available 24/7. As we look at re-creating the police in a manner that serves all, an analysis of the functions of the police is undertaken and those tasks that do not require law enforcement authority are diverted to agencies or organizations that are better prepared to handle them. Once those tasks have been identified and the agencies/organizations prepared to assume those functions (to include possible 24/7 response), the police department budget is then adjusted and those monies identified with the tasks transferred are re-allocated to the receiving agencies/organizations. Is it easy? No. Can it be done? Yes. What is usually missing is the will to change and that pressure must come from outside policing because police departments are not change agents – they are to maintain the status quo and, in this country, it is a racist status quo.

As a person of faith, who truly believes in what I promised to do – to respect the dignity of every human being — -is it imperative that we dismantle a system that has at its core the dehumanization of black and brown people; that denies the imago Dei. This must be a priority for the church. In addition to marching, praying, and preaching; we must be engaged in dismantling a system of oppression.  Whenever God’s justice is being denied to God’s people, whenever it is being perverted, the church, the Body of Christ, must be in the forefront of changing that system and the time to start is now.

Are you dedicated to striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being? If so, EPF would love to have your energy and vision for putting that dedication into action. Between now and November 30, 2020, we are accepting applications for service on our NEC.   This is a three year obligation.   After three years of service, you would be eligible to be re-elected to serve for another three year term.   Your term would begin in 2021. Accepting this nomination means that you would be responsible for the following, should you be elected to serve by the current members of the NEC.

+  Pray, study, act.  You agree to follow and exemplify EPFs mission through living into your baptismal covenant to strive for justice and peace and to respect the dignity of every person.

+  Participation.  Traditionally, the NEC meets twice each year, in person.  COVID has made it necessary for us to hold these meetings via Zoom.  More recently, we have been meeting every other month, for two hours, via Zoom.  You would agree to attend these virtual meetings and be available for such other virtual meetings as are needed from time to time during your term of service. 

+  Committees.  EPF and the NEC have four committees:  membership, sustainability, programming and communications.   You will agree to serve on one committee and to be in regular contact with other committee members to accomplish the purposes of the committee and EPF.  

+  Development.  You will agree to promote EPF’s financial, membership and organizational development, on local, regional and national level.  You agree to contribute money to EPF every month at a level which is compatible with your personal financial situation.

+ Nonviolence.  You agree to seek ways of resolving conflict in nonviolent ways, and to promote peace, justice and nonviolence in your personal, professional and spiritual life

+ Stewardship.  You will be a good steward of EPF through careful decisions about programs, finances and policy.  

Interested? Please let EPF Executive Director Melanie Atha know: epfactnow@gmail.com.

 

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Peace Out! Week Ninety-two
The House is on Fire

"The house is on fire. The house was on fire in 1492 when White colonizers came to this country proclaiming freedom, but enslaving and killing the natives. The house was on fire in 1619 when my ancestors were pulled from the lands of Africa and forced to sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land. The house is on fire and it is burning down, and it should burn down. The question is not “How do we save this house, this American project called America?” The question is, what will rise from the ashes?"

Read more of Rev. Edward Anderson’s mediation on the future of our democracy HERE

Coming soon!

Prayers for Peace Sabbath

A liturgy for
Sunday, November 15
in commemoration of
Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s
81 years of social justice
advocacy and action

Watch this space
for details

WPWP Daily Prayer online at 8pm London (3pm New York) for 30 mins

Join us: https://zoom.us/j/92675717451

This week is the
Week of Prayer
for World Peace.

It runs from Sunday, October 11 to Sunday, October 18.

In October, 1974, the Week of Prayer for World Peace was launched. It was an Anglican Peace Fellowship (APF) initiative and began with a letter to the then Archbishop of Canterbury. From the beginning it has been a multi-faith activity. The first Chair of WPWP was the late Dr. Edward Carpenter, former Dean of Westminster Abbey, and he laid the guiding principle of the Week in these words “The peace of the world must be prayed for by the faiths of the world”.

Each year a leaflet of prayers is produced, which can be used throughout the year. To request a copy, please email epfactnow.

There are ‘themes’ for each day in the week and this year include: Peace Education, Nonviolence, Remembering the end of WW2, the United Nations, Environment and Security, Leadership for Reconciliation and the Pandemic. There is also a section of prayers for young people.

To support the week, APF will be holding prayer sessions each day (Monday, 12 October to Saturday 16 October). While the time in London is 8 pm, it will be 3 pm on the US East Coast. The same zoom link applies to each day.

Our prayers for peace continue to be so needed in a world that seems more divided and violent than ever.

"Even after two millennia, the Holy Land still beckons. The call to go and see is powerful; to stand and walk at the very sites of Jesus’ life and ministry can bring us ever closer to his teachings in new and unexpected ways."

EPF Palestine-Israel Network is pleased to announce the addition of a travel resource page to its website. Read more HERE and click on the "Travel" tab. This pandemic can’t last forever, so you can begin dreaming about your pilgrimage to the Holy Land now…

Please sign up to attend a We Must Do MORE Phone Bank to call or text poor and low-income voters in key states where their vote will have the greatest impact. Sign voters up for election reminders, help develop a voting plan and connect them to the Poor People’s Campaign! We will teach you everything you need to know!

Register to help HERE

October is
Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Episcopal Peace Fellowships’s position on Gender Based Violence is simple: We must seek to eliminate all forms of violence, whether interpersonal or systematic, if we want to live in a free, just, and loving society according to our baptismal covenant. We are looking for leadership for our Gender Violence Prevention Action Group. Interested? Please let Melanie Atha know (epfactnow).

Congratulations to former EPF National Executive Council member Chris Sabas on her ordination to the Sacred Order of Deacons in the Diocese of Easton! Chris is the first Iranian-American ordained in the diocese. May God continue to bless you and your ministry, Chris!

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.

STAY CONNECTED
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Now is a good time to support our work for justice and peace! Click here.
Peace Out! Week Ninety-one
October is
Domestic Violence Awareness
Month
Offered by EPF NEC member
and Gun Violence Prevention Action Group Convener,
 Bob Lotz

There are several kinds of gun violence that Episcopal Peace Fellowship is working to prevent. One, obviously, is suicide – in any “normal” year, about 2/3 of gun deaths are suicides. Another is the assault turned deadly by the presence of a gun, especially in domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And mass shootings, in which a man – virtually always a man – takes his anger against others into a crowd of innocents, are a horrible product of our gun-crazed society.

But this month I want us to think also about the possibility of political gun violence. We have a history of it in this country, most notably the rebel guns firing on Fort Sumter to launch the Civil War, and the assassin’s gun that murdered President Lincoln after its end. Today, we are facing a slow simmering of this violence… and we may be about to experience even more of it in the wake of next month’s election.

I worry because we do not seem to have a plan in place to deal with this. We are simply in denial that the election’s outcome could devolve into widespread violent conflict. It reminds me of hearing Chris Hedges, former NY Times war correspondent talk of being in Sarajevo shortly before the siege began, and in Kosovo just before the Serbian assault on the Albanians: in both cases, he said, the people there believed that widespread violence was impossible in their society, things would calm down. Yet within weeks they were caught in conflicts that raged and required outside intervention.

Here is a story from someone who lived through the violence in Sri Lanka, comparing it to the situation in 2020 US. She describes awful violence… but also going to pool parties and movies in the same days. Kind of like how we have violent attacks on anti-racism demonstrators in a few cities, and Covid death all over, but most of us continue our everyday lives. We are so close to violence in the upcoming election season, but we are already inured to the death of over 200,000 of our fellow Americans from the pandemic. How far are we from being able to accept death from conflict?

We have seen “law enforcement” agencies encourage violent right-wing shooters in Kenosha. We saw them used as the President’s private militia for his re-election propaganda in Portland and at an Episcopal church in D.C. They stood aside as neo-Nazis attacked clergy and others in Charlottesville. They show up in kevlar vests with military-grade equipment and provoke protesters with tear gas, water hoses and truncheons. Is it a good idea to count on them?

It is not the place of the EPF to produce a “plan” for dealing with political violence. It is beyond the scope of a GVP group. But certainly there should be preparations, and prayers. Some of them are outlined here, in an article from Waging Nonviolence. May we find we did not need to fear this; but may we also not be surprised.

We hope you will join our Gun Violence Prevention Action Group monthly call, each month on the first Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. Email Bob Lotz at bob.lotz.epf to request the Zoom link.

Coming soon!

Prayers for Peace Sabbath

A liturgy for
Sunday, November 15
in commemoration of
Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s
81 years of social justice
advocacy and action

Watch this space
for details

WPWP Daily Prayer online at 8pm London (3pm New York) for 30 mins

Join us: https://zoom.us/j/92675717451

Next week is the
Week of Prayer for World Peace.

It runs from Sunday, October 11 to Sunday, October 18.

In October, 1974, the Week of Prayer for World Peace was launched. It was an Anglican Peace Fellowship (APF) initiative and began with a letter to the then Archbishop of Canterbury. From the beginning it has been a multi-faith activity. The first Chair of WPWP was the late Dr. Edward Carpenter, former Dean of Westminster Abbey, and he laid the guiding principle of the Week in these words “The peace of the world must be prayed for by the faiths of the world”.

Each year a leaflet of prayers is produced, which can be used throughout the year. To request a copy, please email epfactnow.

There are ‘themes’ for each day in the week and this year include: Peace Education, Nonviolence, Remembering the end of WW2, the United Nations, Environment and Security, Leadership for Reconciliation and the Pandemic. There is also a section of prayers for young people.

To support the week, APF will be holding prayer sessions each day (Monday, 12 October to Saturday 16 October). While the time in London is 8 pm, it will be 3 pm on the US East Coast. The same zoom link applies to each day.

Our prayers for peace continue to be so needed in a world that seems more divided and violent than ever.

It’s not too late to help our brother, Abu Ali Abdur’Rahman, in his fight against his death sentence. Watch "You Don’t Know Me" today, October 7 and vote for it to receive an Audience Award. Link to purchase a ticket is here.

The Basics of Faith-Based Public Advocacy
A Mini-Series offered by the Public Theology Network
Tuesdays in October, 6 pm Eastern / 5 pm Central
(Oct. 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th)
Join us via Zoom for a mini-series called “The Basics of Faith-Based Public Advocacy.”
Register here to attend any or all of the events. They will be recorded for later viewing, also.

Session I. How to be an Advocate – October 6
Mr. Alan Yarborough, Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations, will begin our conversation about the role of advocacy in the broader framework of engaging the wider world, carrying our faith out through action. This will include tips for engaging in advocacy and the role of relationship-building between the Church and government officials, as well as civic participation. He will also review the role of the Office of Government Relations and how people can get involved through the Episcopal Public Policy Network.

Session II. Moses and Jesus as Public Theologians – October 13
The Rev. Dr. Marcia Ledford is the convener of the Public Theology Network. During this session, she will help us explore our call to public advocacy through the Call of Moses and his role in the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and Jesus’s public call to mission on the Road to Emmaus and in the breaking of the bread. Through this lens, we will be grounded in a firm biblical foundation in why we do public advocacy, what our call is, and that we believe it to be both important and doable as an ongoing process.

Session III. "Can I say that?": Religious Speech, the First Amendment and your 501(c)3 Status – October 20
Learn about what the "separation of church and state" means. We’ll explore the relationship of religious speech (by churches and individuals) and the First Amendment. We will touch on the following topics:
1) Church advocacy for social justice;
2) Individual faith-based advocacy in various forms;
3) Using Zoom groups, we will look at IRS case scenarios;
4) The six protections of the First Amendment.

Session IV. What does the world really think about the U.S.? – October 27
The Rt. Rev. Doug Sparks, Bishop of Northern Indiana, will share a compelling story about how the USA is perceived from other places around the world, based on his life-altering experiences in New Zealand. This will lead us into an engaging conversation around racism in the USA.

You are welcome to join our conversations at our monthly meetings. See our webpage for more information.

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.

St. Michael’s-Tucson, AZ
takes a prayerful stand
at wall site near Sasabe

On September 15, Anita Rowlands, Karen Moritz, and Ila Abernathy, joined by long-term Guatemala Project and parish friends Dorothy Chao and Kathleen McLaughlin, were present for the second day of a five-day "Resist the Wall: Strengthen the Spirit" interfaith action event arranged by support groups in Arivaca. The site, about 4 miles east of Sasabe, was approached by bumping along dirt roads to a section of "enhanced" wall, 30 feet high, now crossing the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

A South Dakota firm, hired by a construction company with White House cronies, is responsible for security at the wall. The guard was overly cautious until he realized the 22 of us were not crazed protesters rushing across the construction road at once. He proceeded to monitor traffic, cross us safely, and still have friendly conversations with several of us.

Wall sections are simultaneously under construction from west of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Quitobaquito Springs, at the San Pedro River, and through threatened water sources on the San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge, in an attempt to seal off the entire Arizona border except for the section that divides the Tohono O’odham Nation. Environmental, spiritual, moral, and humanitarian consequences are staggering, as well as "funnel effect" consequences for the Tohono O’odham, whose cultural home encompasses Sonoran desert on both sides of the present international boundary.

At the wall, Ila was able to read the English-language portion of "Ka:cim Su:dagi," a poem about sacred waters by Ofelia Zepeda, which begins in O’odham and ends with these lines:

Toward it we extend only good thoughts
Toward it we extend only good feelings
Toward it we extend kinship
We touched this laying water
and then we left it alone.

So far, events have been homespun, determined and affirmative. We were glad we were present, and happy to support the Arivaca groups in their peaceful resistance.

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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
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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

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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!
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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