Weekly Update from Melanie
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Peace Out! Week Fifty-seven
Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Palestine Israel Network speaks out against the U.S. "Peace to Prosperity" plan, which normalizes the oppression of the Palestinian people and does nothing to make Israel more secure. Read the full statement here.
Welcome sign at St. Ambrose-Claremont, CA, movingly lettered in Spanish, English, Arabic, and on the reverse, also in Vietnamese and Chinese.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA,
LOS ANGELES and
THE INLAND EMPIRE

We missed publishing a "Peace Out" last week because my computer screen died and I was without a laptop on which to do a lot of my EPF work. No matter, the actual work of EPF went relentlessly on — that being of showing up, speaking out and sharing the empowering light of Christ to urge our Church on towards justice and peace.

On February 1, I was grateful to be at Christ Church in Coronado, CA, for the Diocese of San Diego’s Diocesan Service and Justice Coalition’s winter meeting. EPF PIN leader Jill Henderson of Escondido, CA, made this possible for us. Jill’s leadership in EPF, her diocese, and in her home parish of St. Bartholomew’s-Poway gives her a unique platform from which to advance the social justice ministries that are important to Southern Californians. By reason of her work and witness, and that of her Coalition, the Diocese of San Diego has ambitious plans for expanding their border ministry work in advance of hosting the Borderland Ministry Summit in 2021, among much else.

On Sunday, February 2 we were welcomed at St. Ambrose, Claremont by Rev. Jessie Smith, a former EPF National Executive Committee member, for worship and an informational EPF forum. St. Ambrose is in the Diocese of Los Angeles, which is in discernment as to whether or not it will become an EPF Chapter. Our time in Claremont included a Super Bowl viewing/birthday party at the home of St. Ambrose parishioner Jullie McCurdy, to which we were graciously invited and enjoyed enormously.

On Saturday, February 8, the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John in Los Angeles hosted the Diocese of Los Angeles for an informational breakfast as part of their inquiry into becoming an EPF Chapter. EPF National Executive Committee member Jessica Jew, who worships at St. John’s, made this happen, and we are grateful for her leadership and witness. EPF PIN leader Randy Heyn-Lamb of All Saint’s-Pasadena joined us and is eager to be a local resource for the social justice work that is blooming in the region. I was struck to learn that 24% of the homeless in America live in Los Angeles, a staggering reality. The needs are just overwhelming, and St. John’s, situated in the heart of the city, and as a heart for the city, does its part to respond.

On Sunday, February 9, I was honored to be asked to preach at St. John’s. The Gospel for the day was from Matthew, where Jesus names us "the light of the world" and exhorts us to let our lights shine — a ready message for those of us called to strive for justice and peace. The audio for the sermon is here

After worship on Sunday, St. John’s hosted another EPF forum and luncheon for members of the congregation to learn more about the work of EPF, and to define their goals for social justice work. The tables were full and the earnest conversations around the church’s need to "be light" culminated in a decision by the congregation to become an EPF Peace Partner Parish. My prayer is that this new partnership between St. John’s and EPF will provide a way to turn our anger and outrage at the vast injustice in the world into right and effective action, which will alleviate the suffering of oppressed and the disenfranchised, ultimately bringing justice and peace. May God continue to bless St. John’s with compassionate hearts and the resources to be the light Jesus calls us to be in this dark and divided world.

Clergy and members of different churches in the Diocese of Los Angeles met at the Cathedral of St. John’s in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 8 to learn more about the work of EPF and to consider becoming an EPF chapter.
Sanctuary of the Cathedral of St. John

Show EPF some Valentine love! The work of EPF depends on the support of those who seek to do justice, dismantle violence and strive to be peacemakers. Your contribution to EPF will ensure that your voice for peace will continue to be heard in our Church and in our world. Click here to donate, and thank you!

How will you honor Absalom Jones, abolitionist and America’s first black priest, on his feast day, February 13? If he were alive today, would he think we had done all we could to set one another free?

Set us free, heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear; that, honoring the steadfast courage of your servant Absalom Jones, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which you have given us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

EPF DELEGATION TO GENERAL CONVENTION,
APPLICATIONS COMING SOON!
For the sixth consecutive General Convention, in June, 2021, EPF will send young adults between the ages of 18-30 to General Convention to advocate for peace and justice by drafting legislation, testifying in committee, and building support for resolutions. Delegates will experience first hand how The Episcopal Church functions as the largest democratically elected governing body in the world. WATCH THIS SPACE for applications for delegates to General Convention to be available, coming soon!
Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, congratulates Episcopal Peace Fellowship on 80 years
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
congratulates EPF on 80 years of loving action and witness,
declaring that our activity is,
"Nothing less than the work of God!"

Click HERE to give to our campaign!

It’s not too soon to be thinking about General Convention, which will take place June 30-July 9, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland! Are you or your parish interested in helping EPF plan for our time in Baltimore? If you are in or near Maryland and wish to serve on our ad hoc committee to plan and make arrangements for our time at GC, please let Melanie Atha know. epfactnow. We’d love to have your energy, vision and connections to help our leadership have an effective and inspiring presence next year!

Our upcoming schedule:

Feb. 23 St. Luke’s, Long Beach, CA

March 1 St. Cross, Hermosa Beach, CA

We’ll be heading towards San Francisco and the bay area on March 2! Details about our schedule coming soon!

April 17-19 St. Matty-Joe’s, Detroit, MI: EPF NEC meeting

Are you near any of our planned stops and want to visit? Just shout! Steven and I are planning to spend the rest of winter in California and then move into Oregon and Washington. I will come back east in time for our NEC meeting in Detroit in April, 2020. To schedule a visit, please contact me at epfactnow.

Until next time,

power to the peaceful!

Melanie

I was honored to preach the Gospel at the Cathedral of St. John in Los Angeles on Sunday. With me, from the left, Deacon Margaret McCauley, The Very Rev. Canon Daniel Ade, The Very Reverend Canon Mark Kowalewski, and subdeacon Karen Uhler.
Photo credit Victor Eichhorn, Cathedral of St. John.
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Peace Out! Week Fifty-five
CATHEDRAL FOR THE CITY:
SAN DIEGO
Banner of the Cathedral of St. Paul-San Diego
Motto: Praedicamus "We preach the crucified Christ"
SANCTUARY

Sunday was Cathedral Day at the Cathedral of St. Paul in San Diego, and I was honored to be with them for worship and an EPF forum. Virtually the entire social justice ministry participated in the forum, as did more than two dozen parishioners — pretty good turn out, for short notice! Coffee and conversation on a particularly full day for the parish was inspiring!

St. Paul’s was celebrating their patronal feast day — the Conversion of St. Paul. Dean Penny Bridges reminded the congregation that historically, at least in Europe, cathedrals have served as refuge and safe haven for communities during invasions, attacks or extreme weather, and as civic resource centers for visiting dignitaries, public addresses, and gatherings to grieve or celebrate events which affected all citizens — all this in addition to the cathedral’s primary purpose of serving as the heart of the diocese and the seat for its bishop. Noting that St. Paul’s is known as the "Cathedral for the City," Dean Bridges encouraged St. Paul’s members to stay open to the call to be sanctuary for those who need it, and to be a civic resource which invites loving connection and influence in the larger community.

What I observed during my short time with St. Paul’s was that they have internalized the message that, as baptized Christians and as citizens of the universe, we are supposed to turn the world upside down by loving God and our neighbors as God loves us. The "Principles for Social Justice" statement adopted by their Cathedral Chapter leadership in January, 2019, is a virtual manifesto of love. Among the many principles that St. Paul’s has adopted are (1) calling for a reversal of forces that are accelerating economic inequality and environmental degradation, (2) calling for support for the marginalized and rehabilitation for the fallen and (3) understanding that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives. The entire statement is worthy of consideration by every Episcopal church; indeed by every baptized Christian. Living into those principles is foundational for the radical, inclusive love we are called to share. Thanks for your leadership and witness, St. Paul’s. We are proud that you are an EPF Peace Partner Parish!

The work of EPF depends on the support of those who seek to do justice, dismantle violence and strive to be peacemakers. Your contribution to EPF will ensure that your voice for peace will continue to be heard in our Church and in our world. Click here to donate, and thank you!
NEW LEADERSHIP!
Earlier this month we announced the election of four new EPF National Executive Council members. Below, we profile new NEC member Bruce Freeman of Dayton, OH:
Bruce is the co-convenor of our EPF Chapter in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a life-long Episcopalian and member at Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland. A graduate of Education for Ministry (EFM), Bruce is a V.I.S.T.A volunteer in Ohio as Juvenile Probation Officer, responsible for developing alternatives to incarceration for non-Criminal Youth and a Community Organizer for Youth Programs in low-income neighborhoods. He holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Studies and Public Administration and is a Senior Planner and Director for a planning agency in rapidly growing suburban county in northeast Ohio; is Assistant Director for Neighborhood Planning and Data Services Manager for Cleveland City Planning Commission; and is a Project Manager for Cleveland Public Safety Department. Bruce is President of a nine county non-profit Resource Conservation and Development organization in Northeast Ohio linked to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is an Adjunct Instructor for Graduate School and Community College teaching Citizen Participation and Community Organizing. At Trinity Cathedral, he is Co-Chair of parish Mission Committee (local and international) and participates in several youth work mission trips/projects in local areas and southwestern Pennsylvania. He
organized Habitat for Humanity “Common Mission Coalition”, with several local parishes working together on new housing in Akron, Ohio. He is co-leader of initiation of his parish — Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) — an effort focusing on criminal justice, education, and gun violence prevention. Bruce is Board Member of Ohioans to Stop Executions (O.T.S.E.) and manages monthly birthday mailings to death row inmates.

Welcome to NEC leadership, Bruce! We are happy to have you and your dedication to social justice and humanity with us!

St. Barnabas in Borrego Springs, CA, invited Steven and me in for a tour and history lesson last week. I was struck by the inspired view from the large picture window above the altar, when my eyes fell on the St. Barnabas banner hanging on an opposite wall. Could there be a more perfect artistic expression of their holy space and connection to God’s creation?
DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES,
PLEASE JOIN US!
EPF DELEGATION TO GENERAL CONVENTION,
APPLICATIONS COMING SOON!
For the sixth consecutive General Convention, in June, 2021, EPF will send young adults between the ages of 18-30 to General Convention to advocate for peace and justice by drafting legislation, testifying in committee, and building support for resolutions. Delegates will experience first hand how The Episcopal Church functions as the largest democratically elected governing body in the world. WATCH THIS SPACE for applications for delegates to General Convention to be available, coming soon!
Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, congratulates Episcopal Peace Fellowship on 80 years
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
congratulates EPF on 80 years of loving action and witness,
declaring that our activity is,
"Nothing less than the work of God!"

Click HERE to give to our campaign!

It’s not too soon to be thinking about General Convention, which will take place June 30-July 9, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland! Are you or your parish interested in helping EPF plan for our time in Baltimore? If you are in or near Maryland and wish to serve on our ad hoc committee to plan and make arrangements for our time at GC, please let Melanie Atha know. epfactnow. We’d love to have your energy, vision and connections to help our leadership have an effective and inspiring presence next year!

Our upcoming schedule:

Feb. 1 Christ Church, Coronado, CA

Feb. 2 St. Ambrose, Claremont, CA

Feb. 8 Diocese of Los Angeles (Cathedral of St. John)

Feb. 9 Cathedral of St. John, Los Angeles, CA

Feb. 16 St. Luke’s, Long Beach, CA

April 17-19 Detroit, EPF NEC meeting

Are you near any of our planned stops and want to visit? Just shout! Steven and I are planning to spend the rest of winter in California and then move into Oregon and Washington. We will come back east in time for our NEC meeting in Detroit in April, 2020. To schedule a visit, please contact me at epfactnow.

Until next time,

power to the peaceful!

Melanie

Salvation Mountain and Slab City, CA. Heaven on earth? Who’s to say?

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Weekly Update from Melanie
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Peace Out! Week Fifty-four
ALL SAINT’S-PASADENA
"It doesn’t have to be this way"
Andre Henry – Artist, writer and speaker contending for the world that ought to be.
IN THE NAME OF LOVE

How does one influential Episcopal Church inspire members to act on their baptismal covenant? When it comes to what All Saint’s in Pasadena, CA, does, it’s a challenge to catalogue all the ways, particularly when you’ve only had one weekend — and a significant weekend at that — to experience it. So, I’m just going to toss out a few things I learned that all churches, whether they are our peace partner parishes or not, or whether they are resource churches or small town congregations, can learn from All Saint’s and readily implement:

  1. All Saint’s sponsored an all day "Let Freedom Ring" event where the speeches, sermons and letters of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were read aloud in the church from 9 am until 5 pm on Martin Luther King Day. One could listen or sign up to read. Inspiring, and easy to arrange and pull off.
  2. Weekly Action Table: All Saint’s has a table in its courtyard where parishioners and visitors can sign letters or petitions on issues of social justice. This week’s issue was restoring voting rights for California’s parolees. Last week’s issue was a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency for getting the lead out of water service lines in CA communities. A simple, yet effective way to invite meaningful participation in our democracy and make a difference.
  3. Take steps to prevent gun violence: All Saint’s is home parish to Virginia Classick, a member of EPF’s Gun Violence Action Group (she’s always on the monthly calls, so tune in to speak with her directly). Virginia is the author of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles’ Gun Violence Prevention Tool Kit. Find this little gem here and use it to inform and activate your congregation and community to end the scourge of gun violence in our country. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel — Virginia has done that work for you.
  4. Show up and show out. Members of All Saint’s take to the streets with like-minded activists to "make a scene" to create awareness about important issues like the occupation of Gaza. (See below)
  5. Produce and publish something like "Sow the Seeds of Peace and Justice" catalog that All Saint’s makes available to its newcomers and oldtimers, which is a compilation of many of the ways people can partner with community efforts to bring justice and peace. I’m thinking of small parish churches that might not have the people power to do a lot, but by connecting with other churches and organizations in their neighborhood, can make a difference. A simple resource likes this helps us create critical mass to address issues of concern. (I’ll note here that this booklet is also the handiwork of EPF member Virginia Classick.)
  6. Breakfast on the lawn. All Saint’s has made what most of us think of as a coffee hour into a chance to share abundance and feed the hungry. You’ll see choir members, Sunday school teachers, clergy and Pasadena’s homeless and hungry neighbors enjoying coffee, breakfast foods, and fruit on Sunday mornings in their courtyard. Meet a need and make new friends!

To be sure, All Saint’s is an influential resource church, and a benefit of that is that they can invite preachers like Andre Henry ("Artist, writer, and speaker contending for the world that ought to be" and — I might be so bold as to add — prophet) to take the pulpit on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend and give us a sermon that lifts us up and out of our seats and imprints itself onto our hearts. If you get nothing else out of this "Peace Out," I encourage you to give yourself the gift of listening to Andre’s sermon here. Once you’re all fired up, make a mental note that obedience sustains the status quo, realize that, like me, you are probably past due to make a spectacular intervention about something important that will change the course of this fractured world, and then act!

On Saturday, we EPF members joined with local Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) to make a scene at the corner of Lake and Del Mar in downtown Pasadena. We held up our signs protesting the occupation of Gaza and leafleting to educate passersby about the ongoing Great March of Return and the current unlivable conditions in Palestine. Learn more by following EPF’s Palestine Israel Network on our website or on EPF PIN’s Facebook Page or by subscribing to FOSNA’s newsletter.

EPF members Rev. Ann Coburn, Randy and Doni Heyn-Lamb, and Rick Kidd were among the protestors in Pasadena advocating for the liberation of Gaza.

NEW LEADERSHIP! Earlier this month we announced the election of four new EPF National Executive Council members. Below, we profile new NEC member Rev. Mike Wallens of the Big Bend region of west Texas:
Originally from Chicago, I was raised in the Jewish tradition. I took a detour along the way and have been an Episcopal priest since 1978. I have served in seven Episcopal schools in four states. In addition, I served as chaplain at Kennedy Airport, worked with youth in juvenile detention and in specialty camps for children who suffer from various diseases and mental challenges. I have served as spiritual director, and provide mentoring for those who feel called to ordained ministry.

I currently serve in the Diocese of the Rio Grande and as co-chair of the Rio Grande Borderland Ministries. We do a lot of work at our Southern border with people seeking asylum, as well as work in small villages and towns around our border. I am Vicar at St. Paul’s Episcopal church in Marfa, Texas, and I ride the circuit to provide the Eucharist and pastoral care to four other congregations in Far West Texas.

I met my wife Susan in college and we have been married for over 47 years. We have two grown sons who currently live in Austin, and have two dogs named Waffles and Obadiah to fill our empty nest. I enjoy serving our Lord, praying, cooking, hiking, laughing and dreaming.

Congratulations to Ellen Lindeen, EPF NEC member for being selected as an Episcopal Delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women:
https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/pressreleases/episcopal-delegates-named-for-un-commission-on-the-status-of-women-in-march/?utm_source=ENS+English&utm_campaign=f4a8a3745e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_01_16_08_54&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d473cad2d8-f4a8a3745e-42116433
DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES,
PLEASE JOIN US!
Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, congratulates Episcopal Peace Fellowship on 80 years
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
congratulates EPF on 80 years of loving action and witness,
declaring that our activity is,
"Nothing less than the work of God!"

Click HERE to give to our campaign!

It’s not too soon to be thinking about General Convention, which will take place June 30-July 9, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland! Are you or your parish interested in helping EPF plan for our time in Baltimore? If you are in or near Maryland and wish to serve on our ad hoc committee to plan and make arrangements for our time at GC, please let Melanie Atha know. epfactnow. We’d love to have your energy, vision and connections to help our leadership have an effective and inspiring presence next year!

Our upcoming schedule:

Jan. 23 St. Barnabas, Borrego Springs, CA

Jan. 26 St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego, CA

Feb. 1 Christ Church, Coronado, CA

Feb. 2 St. Ambrose, Claremont, CA

Feb. 8 Diocese of Los Angeles (Cathedral of St. John)

Feb. 9 Cathedral of St. John, Los Angeles, CA

April 17-19 Detroit, EPF NEC meeting

Are you near any of our planned stops and want to visit? Just shout! Steven and I are planning to spend the rest of winter in California and then move into Oregon and Washington. We will come back east in time for our NEC meeting in Detroit in April, 2020. To schedule a visit, please contact me at epfactnow.

Until next time,

power to the peaceful!

Melanie

View of the Pacific Ocean from Malibu, CA
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Peace Out! Week Fifty-three
EPF Welcomes New
Peace Partner Parish,
St. Aidan’s-Malibu, CA!
EPF welcomes new peace partner parish, St. Aidan’s-Malibu, CA! Photo, from left to right: Jennifer and Jeff Baker, members at St. Aidan’s; Doni Heyn-Lamb; Melanie Atha; Randy Heyn-Lamb; and Rev. Joyce Stickney, rector at St. Aidan’s. Doni and Randy are members at All Saints-Pasadena and are in leadership of EPF’s Palestine-Israel Network. We had a wonderful day of worship and making new connections and renewing old friendships during coffee hour, after church at our EPF forum, and at lunch. Thanks for the hospitality and inspiration, St. Aidan’s!
Paradise

I think it might be hard to live in Malibu, CA, and not believe in God. It’s a majestic specimen of natural beauty, to be sure, but the people — they are simply wonderful examples of servant leadership. I wanted to be at St. Aidan’s for two reasons: First, my legal conflict resolution colleague from Alabama, Jeff Baker, who is on faculty at Pepperdine Law School, worships there and I was eager to see him and catch up. Since leaving Alabama, Jeff and his family (including his dear wife, Jennifer, who I just met and who serves on the Board at Camp Stevens [which serves both the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of San Diego as Diocesan Camp]) lifelong champions of justice, have become Episcopalians. It is always heartening to me when my collaborative law world and my EPF world intersect. Second, Randy and Doni Heyn-Lamb, who are leaders in the EPF Palestine Israel Network and who worship at All Saint’s-Pasadena, have very generously been helping to curate our peace pilgrimage here in Southern California, and they know St. Aidan’s rector, Rev. Joyce Stickney. Randy and Doni felt very confident that I would enjoy knowing Joyce+ and her remarkable parish, and they were not wrong!

A few specific examples of what I learned from the wonderful parishioners of St. Aidan’s I will share in the hope that it will help and inspire those of you working on peace and justice issues.

First, from parishioner Joe Picard: Joe mentioned author Paul K. Chappell, who is deep into promoting peace literacy. Paul is author of Soldiers of Peace, the sixth in a series of seven books that he’s writing related to peace – Road to Peace series. The seventh book is nearing completion. You can go to https://www.peaceliteracy.org/ to learn more about Paul’s peace literacy initiative. You can also go to https://paulkchappell.com/ to learn more about his books, speaking schedule, leadership training, videos, and articles. Joe encourages us to check out these resources, which can enrich our ability to talk about and promote peace.

Second, from parishioner Craig Detweiler: Craig is in the film industry himself (we spoke of movies which might inspire and edify our peace partners who have films series or movie nights in support of their EPF work) and recommends these new films that align well with EPF’s work and feature faith as a source of resistance:

A HIDDEN LIFE

https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/5/20/18631526/a-hidden-life-review-terrence-malick

And CLEMENCY

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2019-12-26/review-clemency-alfre-woodard

Craig notes that both of these film reviews are from critics at
major media outlets who write from a strong Christian social justice position.
Craig has developed an extensive network over the past 20 years through
his work at Fuller Seminary with Reel Spirituality
and also the Windrider Forum. He attends the Sundance Film Festival every
year and ends up seeing films like "For Sama" and "The Cave" about Syria
or "Newtown" and the forthcoming "Us Kids" about Parkland survivors. I love the idea of using film to learn more about and launch conversations about our social justice issues.

While I was there, St. Aidan’s was collecting hand-made gifts for the orphanage they support in Tijuana, Mexico, and were in the process of planning to visit with the children in person to deliver the gifts. Learn more about this vital ministry at
https://vidajovendemexico.org.

Last, but not least, Sunday was, of course, the celebration of the Baptism of Our Lord. Whenever we renew our baptismal promises, among them to "strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being" with God’s help, it is meet and right to talk about EPF. Rev. Joyce Stickney’s sermon was pure encouragement to sally forth to do the work we are called to do, knowing all the while that God has our back.

Welcome to EPF, St. Aidan’s! You have already given us a lot of courage and inspiration, and we look forward to more years of laboring in the vineyard, together.

NEW LEADERSHIP! Last week, we announced the election of four new National Executive Council members. Below, we profile new NEC member Kathy McGregor of Fayetteville, Arkansas:
Kathy McGregor is the founder and project director for the Prison Story Project (www.prisonstoryproject.com), a ministry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (www.stpaulsfay.org) in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She is deeply dedicated to abolition of the death penalty, criminal justice reform, and the social justice ministries of EPF. A former union organizer and hospice nurse, Kathy will be graduating from Iona Initiative Arkansas in June of 2020 as a candidate for ordination to the vocational diaconate. She is honored to be elected to service on the NEC, and brings many gifts and years of experience to this leadership position. Welcome, Kathy!
INSPIRATION FOR THE UPCOMING MLK HOLIDAY WEEKEND
"Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, congratulates Episcopal Peace Fellowship on 80 years
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
congratulates EPF on 80 years of loving action and witness,
declaring that our activity is,
"Nothing less than the work of God!"

Click HERE to give to our campaign!

It’s not too soon to be thinking about General Convention, which will take place June 30-July 9, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland! Are you or your parish interested in helping EPF plan for our time in Baltimore? If you are in or near Maryland and wish to serve on our ad hoc committee to plan and make arrangements for our time at GC, please let Melanie Atha know. epfactnow. We’d love to have your energy, vision and connections to help our leadership have an effective and inspiring presence next year!

Our upcoming schedule:

Jan. 19 All Saint’s, Pasadena, CA

Jan. 26 St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego, CA

Feb. 2 St. Bartholomew, Poway, CA

Feb. 8 Diocese of Los Angeles (Cathedral of St. John)

Feb. 9 Cathedral of St. John, Los Angeles, CA

April 17-19 Detroit, EPF NEC meeting

Are you near any of our planned stops and want to visit? Just shout! Steven and I are planning to spend the rest of winter in California and then move into Oregon and Washington. We will come back east in time for our NEC meeting in Detroit in April, 2020. To schedule a visit, please contact me at epfactnow.

Until next time,

power to the peaceful!

Melanie

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Peace Out! Week Fifty-two
New Year,
New EPF Leadership!

EPF is pleased to welcome four new National Executive Council (NEC) members to leadership for EPF:

Rt. Rev. Dan Edwards, former Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada, class of 2019-21 (biography, below)

Bruce Freeman, Akron, OH; member of Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, OH, class of 2020-22

Kathy McGregor, Fayetteville, AR; member of St. Paul’s, Fayetteville, class of 2020-22

Rev. Michael Wallens, Alpine, TX; Vicar of St. Paul’s, Marfa, TX and Priest-in- Charge at St. James, Alpine, Texas, class of 2020-22

We will introduce each of these servant leaders to you, one week at a time through this newsletter, beginning here with Bishop Dan:

Dan Edwards served as bishop of Nevada 2008-2018 after being a parish priest in the Diocese of Atlanta for 18 years. Previously he was Director of the Migrant Law Unit of Colorado Rural Legal Services for Northeastern Colorado, Director of the Indian Law Unit of Idaho Legal, Aid, and a partner in Suiter, Edwards, and Gere in Idaho. He received B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Texas, an M. Div. and S.T.M from General Seminary, was a Merrill Fellow at Harvard Divinity School and a Guthrie Scholar at Columbia Seminary. He studied homiletics at St. George’s College, Jerusalem. He is a graduate of the Academy for Leaders of the Center For Courage and Renewal and has completed leadership training and advanced leadership training with the Development Center, Darien CT. He is the author of God of Our Silent Tears, and is active with Bread for the World, Bishops United Against Gun Violence, Colorado Ceasefire, Colorado Faith Communities United To Prevent Gun Violence, and Industrial Areas Foundation broad based community organizing. In TEC, he has served on committees and task forces on Small Church Ministries, Latino/Hispanic Ministries, Structure, and Stewardship and Development. He was a board member and presenter for The Episcopal Network for Stewardship. He recently served as sabbatical priest at St. Aidan’s, Boulder, CO and is presently the interim rector of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Broomfield, CO.

Rt. Rev. Dan Edwards, newly elected to serve on the EPF NEC.
And, as we welcome our new leaders, we heartily thank outgoing NEC members Betsy Davidson (Traverse City, MI), Ellen Lindeen (Barrington, IL), and Rev. Michael Kurth (Rye, NY) for their years of dedication and service, and for all the gifts and resources they have shared and continue to share with EPF through their membership and NEC service. EPF is so grateful to each of you. Godspeed in all your ongoing service and witness for social justice!
A light shines in the darkness: Beautiful stained glass window at Church of the Good Shepherd, Helmet, CA, where I was happy to celebrate completion of one year on the road for EPF. I was reminded by Rev. Susan J. Latimer, rector, that Epiphany is about traveling, as the Magi did, through the darkness to see the light of hope, become inspired by it, and then traveling on to share it. Sounds like the work of EPF, for sure.
Epiphany was the one year anniversary of EPF taking to the open road to renew connections with our peace partners and to invite new supporters into the Fellowship. To celebrate, I worshiped with Good Shepherd in Hemet, CA, where I was welcomed and enjoyed home-made king cake at coffee hour afterwards.

Looking back over the last year, I was amazed to count no fewer than 80 visits we made to EPF chapters, parishes, diocesan events and provincial gatherings around the country. Quite the coincidence for our 80th anniversary year! All those visits were in addition to our Year of Action anniversary events in Columbine, CO, Montgomery and Lowndes County, AL, and in Providence, Rhode Island. 2019 was an amazing start to this pilgrimage work, and we look forward to being with as many of you as possible as we move up the west coast and through the heartland of America during 2020, and beyond. The Year of Action is in the past, but our work for justice and peace is nowhere near done!

While I have been away from reporting on my travels for a few weeks — as Steven and I attended to getting our virtual residence and voter registration established; visited with our sons in Nashville and Birmingham and my father in Faunsdale, Alabama; and worked on year-end fundraising for EPF and the book-keeping and gratitude practice that comes with that — I have had a few wonderful visits that I have not had the time to write about, among them at St. James in Quincy, Florida; St. Christopher’s and our Peace Partner Chapter in Pensacola, Florida; and St. Michael and All Angels and St. Philip’s in the Hills in Tucson, AZ. These visits prove to me that there is great interest in and dedication to social justice work all across this country, and that fact gives me immense hope for our future, despite the ongoing gloom around our wars and rumors of wars.

Now’s the time to call your senators and congresspersons to tell them "NO" to the escalation of violence with Iran. Join EPF as we fast and pray for peace:

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship Calls for Fasting and Prayer for Peace with Iran

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship calls on Episcopalians and all people of good will to join together for a week of fasting and prayer for peace with Iran. The fast will begin on the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6, 2020) and will end on the First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ (January 12, 2020.) As we once more receive the Prince of Peace into our lives this Christmas and renew our own baptismal commitments to respect the dignity of all persons, let us together join in solemn prayer and spiritual practice with the intention of peace in the whole world, but especially between the United States and Iran during this time of heightened anxiety.

Fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline which expresses a desire for contrition and an openness for change. You are invited to fast from something meaningful to you (whether a meal, social media, coffee, etc.) and set the intention of your fast for peace. You are also invited to join together in prayer and other spiritual practices for peace throughout the whole world. The Book of Common Prayer especially commends The Supplication (BCP, 154) for "times of war, or of national anxiety, or of disaster."

May the Prince of Peace whose glory is revealed to all nations fashion us into a people of peace with justice throughout the world. Amen.

We are grateful to NEC member Rev. Cody Maynus (Rapid City, SD) for his leadership in bringing us this initiative.

Read here the faith statement in opposition to escalating conflict with Iran which EPF has endorsed.

EPF is always interested in being a part of your diocesan and provincial gatherings. To that end, when we can, we staff exhibition tables at diocesan conventions as they happen around the Church. For example, when the Diocese of Alabama meets at Camp McDowell next month, EPF member Tommy McGlothlin will hold a "Lunch and Learn" table at Stough Lodge during the lunch hour on Friday, February 7 at 11:30 a.m. He will have EPF brochures and information and will share with people interested in social justice ministries. Are you interested in tabling for EPF at your diocesan convention? Let me know, and we will provide you a "convention packet" full of brochures and SWAG to share with delegates and visitors. It’s a great way to meet new social justice partners and to help EPF thrive and grow in the places in the world where our witness is needed. www.epfactnow
Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, congratulates Episcopal Peace Fellowship on 80 years
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
congratulates EPF on 80 years of loving action and witness,
declaring that our activity is,
"Nothing less than the work of God!"

Click HERE to give to our campaign!

Our upcoming schedule, tentative!

Jan. 12 St. Aiden’s, Malibu, CA

Jan. 19 All Saint’s, Pasadena, CA

Jan. 26 St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego, CA

Feb. 2 St. Bartholomew, Malibu, CA

Feb. 8 Diocese of Los Angeles (Cathedral of St. John)

Feb. 9 Cathedral of St. John, Los Angeles, CA

April 17-19 Detroit, EPF NEC meeting

Are you near any of our planned stops and want to visit? Just shout! Steven and I are planning to spend the rest of winter in California and then move into Oregon and Washington. We will come back east in time for our NEC meeting in Detroit in April, 2020. To schedule a visit, please contact me at epfactnow.

Until next time,

power to the peaceful!

Melanie

On Epiphany, January 6, 2019, Rev. Dr. Tommie Lee Watkins, Jr, rector at St. Andrew’s, Birmingham, Al, blessed Miranda, our RV, and Steven and me, with a modified house blessing. A perfect way to celebrate Epiphany! We began this pilgrimage for EPF as we pulled away from the parking lot at St. Andrew’s, surrounded by the love of my home parish, with frankencense wafting from the windows and holy water drying on the windshield. Every day, I miss these lovely people who showed me how to live for Christ, but there is no doubt that I carry them with me everywhere I go. Those of you who have met me have, by proxy, experienced their generosity and grace. Photo credit Timothy Steele, St. Andrew’s.
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As people of faith, we condemn the United States’ dangerous aggression towards Iran, including the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and the deployment of additional troops to the region. We urge the Administration to step back from the brink of war.

Our faith communities see the futility of war, and its power to dehumanize. We know that human flourishing entails breaking cycles of violence, being courageous peacemakers, and focusing on the root causes of conflict. Violent conflict is a path of mutual destruction.

Instead, all actors must move forward in a way that upholds our shared, sacred human dignity:

  • All parties must begin by re-humanizing each other without excusing unjust and violent actions.
  • The U.S. Administration must halt violent attacks and military escalations. It must return to a diplomatic process, recognizing that lasting peace requires a commitment to the shared well-being of every human, from Iran to the United States and everywhere in between.
  • The U.S. Congress must act to reassert its war powers by refusing authorization for war with Iran and related attacks, and to block funding for war with Iran.
  • U.S. actions and strategy in the region must address the root causes of the conflict, such as distrust, trauma, economic resources, and political influence.
  • All of us must support nonviolent creative actions of resistance to any unjust and violent actions.

As communities of faith, we renounce the escalation of violence, and call on the United States to work towards lasting peace with Iran.

Signed,

American Friends Service Committee
Center on Conscience and War
Christian Peacemaker Teams
Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy Churches for Middle East Peace
Coalition for Peace Action
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach Conference of Superiors of Men (Catholic)
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces Faith in Public Life
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Provincial Council Clerics of St. Viator
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas- Institute Leadership Team Unitarian Universalist Association
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society

Updated January 6th, 2020 with the following signers:

Choose Life Abort War Podcast for Peace Church of the Brethren
Disciples Justice Action Network Episcopal Peace Fellowship
Glenmary Home Missioners
Mennonite Church USA
National Religious Campaign Against Torture NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice Pax Christi Metro New York
Pax Christi USA
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice

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Peace Out! Week Forty-five
Beloved Sheriff of Lowndes County, Alabama, John Williams, was shot to death by a white 18 year old boy after asking him to turn down the music in his car.
Good Grief?

Holy God, open our eyes to a fresh vision
for a peaceful world,
along with the will
to seek alternatives to revenge and violence.

Lord, have mercy. Enough with the damn guns, and with violence and racism and all the other ills that prevent us from realizing our sacred humanity. I can barely breath I am so heartsick.

EPF spent a day in Lowndes County, Alabama, back in August, commemorating the feast day of blessed Jonathan Daniels as part of our Year of Action. The hundreds in attendance were, whether they knew it or not, under the watchful, caring eyes of Sheriff John Williams. You see, Lowndes County is — decades after the murder of Jon Daniels for doing nothing more than trying to register people to exercise their right to vote — still not a safe place to be. On Saturday, Sheriff Williams was fatally shot once, right through the head, for doing nothing more than asking a white child to turn down the music in his truck. The murder happened at the convenience store right across the street from the Lowndes County Courthouse where we celebrated a Eucharist in honor of Jon Daniels and all the martyrs of Alabama. Many of us bought cold drinks there on that hot August day. Fresh blood now lies on the concrete.

Four hours after killing Sheriff Williams, and after a manhunt was initiated, the white child (son of law enforcement himself) who committed the crime walked up to the officers at the convenience store, weapon in hand, and turned himself in. He was taken into custody without incident, the newspaper says. Imagine a black child walking back up to the scene of a murder, anywhere in America, holding a gun. Would he still be alive? Not likely. He would not even have to be a suspect to be shot first, tried later. That I believe this makes me ill. You can read a news account of Sheriff Williams’ killing here: Lowndes County Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams shot and killed; 18-year-old suspect surrenders https://www.al.com/news/montgomery/2019/11/lowndes-county-sheriff-big-john-williams-shot-and-killed-in-the-line-of-duty.html

I’ve been trying to find a peaceful place in my heart since I got home from Palestine a month or so ago to write about the racism and violence that I saw there. I can’t find words adequate to share with you how much despair I have after bearing witness to the horrors Israel incessantly rains down on our Palestinian brothers and sisters. Guns are a big part of that story, too. Be patient with me. I will write, but I keep getting gobsmacked with fresh nightmares that make me feel incompetent to say anything useful, or healing, or holy. I just feel paralyzing grief.

And yet, I think that I am supposed to "buck up" and find a reason to be thankful, hopeful, particularly this week, of all weeks, with the Thanksgiving holiday and the beginning of Advent nigh. I certainly have so much to be grateful for, not the least of which is the work I have been called to do — to advocate for those without voices, to promote peaceful resolution to the extravagant bounty of conflicts our world presents, and to love, love, love even those who visit horrors on the weakest among us. So, I’ll just call myself grateful for this grief. Good grief. It makes me human. It has the power to transform. I’ll just sit here with it, and let God do God’s thing, which is to shower grace on all the brokenness, making it whole, making us well, healing the world. And I’ll keep working for peace and justice, in my small, imperfect way, because that is the only way I know to help God, and to honor gun victims like Sheriff Williams.

Beautiful, bountiful altar at St. James, Quincy, Florida,
where I was privileged to worship last Sunday,
Watch your inbox for opportunities to give to EPF on Giving Tuesday! Or, go ahead and hit the link below and donate to EPF — avoid the rush!
Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, congratulates Episcopal Peace Fellowship on 80 years
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
congratulates EPF on 80 years of loving action and witness,
declaring that our activity is,
"Nothing less than the work of God!"

Click HERE to give to our campaign!

The Newtown Action Alliance hosts an annual vigil for all victims of gun violence at an Episcopal church in D.C. They also request that partner vigils be held across the country in every Congressional district.

EPF is a partner in this effort. We would be grateful if EPF members were able to host local vigils in your own areas. The website link here includes their vigil toolkit and the necessary information. Be sure to register you event with them! EPF will be happy to publicize the vigils both before and after the events throughout December! https://www.newtownactionalliance.org/

Our upcoming schedule:

Dec. 1 St. Christopher’s, Pensacola, FL

Dec. 3 Giving Tuesday

Dec. 4: National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence

Dec. 5: Birmingham, AL Poor People’s Campaign

Dec. 22: National Day of Reparations (FOR) TBD

Feb. 8-9 Cathedral of St. John, Los Angeles, CA

Are you near any of our planned stops and want to visit? Just shout! Steven and I are planning to spend the winter in the southwest, heading up through California and then into Oregon and Washington. We will come back east in time for our NEC meeting in Detroit in April, 2020. To schedule a visit, contact me at epfactnow.

Until next time,

power to the peaceful!

Melanie

Sunset view, Jekyll Island, Georgia
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Peace Out! Week Forty-four
Members of the National Executive Council of EPF celebrate 80 years of EPF at our Choral Evensong at St. Michael’s-Bristol, Rhode Island. From left, front row: Rev. Cody Maynus, Rev. Ann Coburn, Bob Lotz, and Rev. Will Mebane. Back row: Rob Burgess, Rev. Bob Davidson, Melanie Atha and Ellen Lindeen.
80 Years of Action,
Celebrated with More Action!
Offered by Dr. Ellen Lindeen, EPF NEC member

During the weekend of November 9 – 11, the Pilgrimage for Racial Reconciliation in Providence and Bristol, Rhode Island, was a powerful, enlightening, and beautiful time for all who attended. Episcopal Peace Fellowship commemorated its 80th anniversary, and its history of prayer, study and action, in the Province of New England, where EPF was born. We were able to participate in many events, activities, and services that fed my spirit as a Christian, as an Episcopalian, and as someone seeking information and direction in racial reconciliation. We all owe Rev. Will Mebane, Vice Chair of EPF and rector at St. Barnabas, Falmouth, MA, enormous gratitude for his hard work and dedication that resulted in a phenomenal three days.
The NEC board members convened on Saturday in Providence, Rhode Island, for our semi-annual board meeting. That evening, we had dinner in Bristol at the DeWolf Tavern, established in 1818 as a rum distillery and featured in the film, Traces of the Trade. On Sunday morning, we attended the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost service at St. Michael’s Church in Bristol, RI. Rev. Canon Michael Horvath graciously hosted two services and the celebratory reception for us. After church, we had another session of board meeting business, and then we set up in St. Michael’s Parish Hall for the fundraiser and silent auction that afternoon. At 4:30, we were treated to a gorgeous Evensong service with full choir. The Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely, Bishop of Rhode Island, welcomed the 85+ people in attendance and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown, Bishop of Vermont, gave the homily. The lectors were our own Melanie Merkle Atha, Executive Director of EPF and Rev. Robert Davidson, Chair of EPF. The “Celebration of Peace” fundraiser and silent auction that followed was a delight with delicious appetizers, wine and soft drinks, and an Afro-Caribbean jazz duo providing wonderful music. It was a true celebration of peace and justice.

Monday, Armistice Day, was the day of EPF’s founding, and on this November 11, 2019, we commemorated our 80 years of work beginning at the Center for Reconciliation, housed in the historic Cathedral of St. John in Providence, RI, which was consecrated in 1810 (and before that organized in 1722 as the King’s Church). The 60+ attendees from MA, CT, NH, VT, RI, AL, CO, MI, CA, MN, and IL were welcomed by the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely, Bishop of Rhode Island. The Cathedral, formerly the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island, opened a museum and reconciliation center in 2018 as the first museum in New England to focus on the history of slavery in New England. The Center is dedicated to engaging people in learning about slavery, the slave trade and its legacies in today’s world. The Center is a brave space for brave conversations about difficult topics.

Our anniversary morning consisted of a virtual walk down Benefit Street with information from two brilliant tour guides whose goal is to educate, equip, and engage visitors in the difficult history of the area by presenting information that challenges the dominant narrative of slavery. We learned the painful truth about the participation and complicity of New England, and specifically Rhode Island, in the trans-Atlantic slave trade from 1636 to 1865. The Cathedral where we sat was built by slaves, with money from the slave trade. Bristol and Newport were huge ports for the slave trade and until 1807, Rhode Island sent the more ships than any other colony or state to capture people to be enslaved.

After a break for a delicious lunch at the Center provided by Province I, a panel presentation followed. The chair of the panel was the Honorable Dr. Byron Rushing, Vice President of the House of Deputies, MA House Representative from 1983-2019, and founder of the Episcopal Urban Caucus. Rushing began the afternoon panel with profound remarks, asking us to consider the word “memory” regarding who we are. Much of what passes for the history that has informed Americans has been made up. The dominant narrative of our past is generally not true. If a person robs others of memory, they control the future. We must face and tell the truth. How will we as Episcopalians get to reconciliation? What ever was the “conciliation” in our country, so that we can return to it?

The panel speakers at the Center included Holly Carter and Caitlin Slodden representing Sacred Ground, a new film-and-reading based dialogue series on race and faith that is part of the church’s continuing commitment to racial reconciliation and a priority set by General Convention; Katie Ernst from the Mission Institute, which engages communities and congregations (primarily white folks) around dismantling racism and building courageous community; Lee Cheek, Founding Member of the Social Justice Commission and currently the co-chair of Beloved Community Commission; Rev. Gail Avery, new canon for Transition and Community Engagement in the Episcopal Church; and Rev. Rowena Kemp and Suzy Burke, Co-Conveners of the Racial Justice, Healing, and Reconciliation Ministry in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. Our time together ended as people needed to catch planes to get back home, but we all left better informed about the truth of the past and ways that the Episcopal Church is moving forward by speaking up and educating our members.

Thanks be to God for this work and the opportunity to learn about it on the 80th anniversary of Episcopal Peace Fellowship.

Rt. Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown, Bishop of Vermont, honored EPF with an inspiring homily at our Festive Evensong. Photo Credit: Steven Atha
Episcopal New Service coverage of our 80th Anniversary events can be read here:

https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2019/11/13/episcopal-peace-fellowship-celebrates-80th-anniversary-with-racial-reconciliation-event/?utm_source=ENS+English&utm_campaign=fb373df49b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_11_14_08_52&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d473cad2d8-fb373df49b-42116433
Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, congratulates Episcopal Peace Fellowship on 80 years
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
congratulates EPF on 80 years of loving action and witness,
declaring that our activity is,
"Nothing less than the work of God!"

Click HERE to give to our 80 day campaign!

Rev. Canon Michael Horvath, Rector, St. Michael’s-Bristol, RI; Rt. Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown, Bishop of Vermont; and Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely, Bishop of Rhode Island at the EPF Choral Evensong, St. Michael’s-Bristol
Choral Evensong, St. Michael’s – Bristol, Rhode Island
Dain Perry, Tinka Perry, Kristin Knudsen-Groh, and Constance Perry celebrate 80 years of EPF at our Celebration of Peace fundraiser. St. Michael’s, Bristol, Rhode Island.
EPF leaders Maryann Philbrook and Rev. Cody Maynus toast EPF’s 80th anniversary.
EPF’s Celebration of Peace at St. Michael’s-Bristol, Rhode Island.
Our Caribbean soul steel drum music was provided by Becky Bass (www.beckybass.com).
Byron Rushing, Caitlin Slodden, Holly Carter, Suzy Burke, Rowena Kemp, Gail Avery, Lee Cheek, and Katie Ernst teach us about reconciliation at the Center for Reconciliation in Providence, RI on Monday, November 11. Thank you, Province I of the TEC for this important and healing work. Celebrating 80 years of action, and yet we still have work to do.
Dr. Julie Lytle, Province I, Rev. Debra Sharpe, Center for Reconciliation, and Melanie Merkle Atha, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, collaborated to bring EPF’s 80th anniversary events to fruition. EPF is profoundly grateful for the support of Province I and the Center for their support, contributions, labor and prayers. We could not have done it without you!
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Peace Out! Week Forty-three
Members of EPF of Blair County, Pennsylvania prepare to begin their "Journey of Remembrance" Walk and Vigil in Altoona, PA on Saturday, November 2 — All Souls’ Day. From the left: Cowan Mikolajczyk, Shannon Berndt, Greg Williams, Woody Pyeatt, Marilyn Pyeatt, Yoseph Widirahmaya and David Wirick.
EPF Walks and Prays for
Victims of Gun Violence

Holy God, open our eyes to a fresh vision
for a peaceful world,
along with the will
to seek alternatives to revenge and violence.

EPF of Blair County, PA sponsored a two part ecumenical "Journey of Remembrance" on All Souls’ Day, Saturday, November 2, to honor those who have been the victims of gun violence, and to offer comfort to those who have suffered loss due to gun violence. There was a short walk from the Wehnwood United Methodist Church in Altoona to the Edith Davis Eve Memorial Chapel at Penn State-Altoona, punctuated by brief stops for prayer and the lighting of candles to honor the victims of suicide, armed conflicts and wars, mass shootings, accidental shootings, school shootings, other murders and domestic violence. The Vigil at the chapel gave participants the solemn moment to light candles for victims they had known personally. Later that evening, a memorial service was held at St. Luke’s-Altoona, the parish home of many of the Blair County EPF-ers. The afternoon was a holy opportunity for EPF to shine a spotlight on the waste and lingering effects of the senseless gun violence in our culture.

On Sunday, I had the joy of worshiping with St. Luke’s-Altoona. A delicious mostly vegan luncheon reception followed. In this entire year of traveling for EPF, I have not before had the chance to worship with a congregation which was almost entirely comprised of EPF members. It’s a small, deeply dedicated group who take their baptismal covenants very seriously. I was heartened to know that some of the leftovers from our luncheon would be served again later that day, when the "Becoming Beloved Community" workshop, led by Kevin Barron, was going to be held. We had a chance to talk about how racism and white supremacy, which, of course, is the work of "Becoming Beloved," is the sin which undergirds all of the other social ills of violence which EPF advocates against — gun violence, environmental injustice, income inequality, the death penalty, to name a few — and how important that work is to making a just world a reality.

I’ll give a special shout out to Shannon Berndt, who so many of you know as the friendly voice of EPF Member Services and the Palestine Israel Network’s administrative support, who invited me for this visit. Thanks for having me, Shannon, and for all you do for me and EPF and PIN. You bless us with your service and love!

Shannon Berndt and me, back in January of this year, when she came to Birmingham to train me on the administrative jobs of EPF. We stopped for this photo along the Civil Rights trail in downtown Birmingham, where markers have been placed to draw attention to the historic events of the Civil Rights Movement which transpired there.
Father Bob Appeal
An invitation from
EPF NEC Chair,
Rev. Bob Davidson
Year of Action Celebrations in
Bristol and Providence,
Rhode Island!
THIS WEEK!
EPF
80th Anniversary Commemoration!

Sunday, November 10, 2019
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
399 Hope Street
Bristol, R.I.
A Commemoration of Witness
4:30 PM Evensong
Preacher: Rt. Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown
Bishop of Vermont
Celebrant: Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely
Bishop of Rhode Island


Followed by A Celebration of Peace
5:30 PM Fundraiser
Caribbean Soul Band, Wine, Beer & Soft Drinks,
Hors D’oeuvres & Silent Auction

Monday, November 11, 2019
Center for Reconciliation
271 North Main Street
Providence, RI

Pilgrimage
9:00 – 11:00 AM
Benefit Street’s Mile of History
walking tour
sponsored by Center for Reconciliation
Providence, RI

Lunch
11:30 – 12:30

Keynote & Panel Discussion
12:30 – 2:30 PM
Byron Rushing, Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1983-2019, Vice President,
House of Deputies, The Episcopal Church

Representatives of Racial Reconciliation Ministries,
Province I, ECUSA

Tickets:
Sunday Fundraiser: $60
Monday events including lunch: $30
All events Sunday and Monday: $80
Student rates:
Sunday Fundraiser: $35
Monday events including lunch: $10
All events Sunday and Monday: $40

https://give.classy.org/reconciliation

Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, congratulates Episcopal Peace Fellowship on 80 years
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
congratulates EPF on 80 years of loving action and witness,
declaring that our activity is,
"Nothing less than the work of God!"

Click HERE to give to our 80 day campaign!

Our upcoming schedule:

Looking forward, EPF will be in:

Nov. 9-11: EPF 80th Anniversary, Bristol and Providence, RI

Nov. 21-23: Borderland Ministry Summit, St. Philip’s in the Hills, Tucson, AZ

Dec. 4: National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence (TBD)

Dec. 22: National Day of Reparations (FOR) TBD

Are you near any of our planned stops and want to visit? Just shout! Steven and I are planning to spend the winter in the southwest, heading up through California and then into Oregon and Washington. We will come back east in time for our NEC meeting in Detroit in April, 2020. To schedule a visit, contact me at epfactnow.

Until next time,

power to the peaceful!

Melanie

Look up! Inside the chapel at Penn State, Altoona, where Bair County, EPF held its moving "Journey of Remembrance" Vigil in honor of victims of gun violence
 on All Souls’ Day.
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Peace Out! Weeks Forty-one and Forty-two
NEC members at St. Timothy’s, Littleton, CO at the April, 2019 NEC meeting: Rev. Bob Davidson, Rev. Kay Houck, Bob Lotz, Melanie Atha, Maryann Philbrook and Ellen Lindeen
Renewing the Vision of EPF
As We Turn 80
By Rev. Bob Davidson, Chair, EPF National Executive Council

I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.

The prophet Joel rang through our Episcopal parishes this past Sunday just as the National Executive Council was preparing to gather in Providence, Rhode Island to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the founding of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship on November 11 (Armistice Day), 1939.

Within EPF are sons and daughters who have relentlessly chosen to dream dreams and see visions of the new creation where another prophet, Isaiah proclaimed, “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore”.

It is not enough for the Episcopal Peace Fellowship to proudly claim 80 years of inspired witness to the vision of our founders who stood strong in a nation healing from the “war to end all wars” to provide a safe haven for those conscientiously opposing war. This vision for 80 years has prophetically spoken to a church and a world often bent on fanning the flames of white supremacy and privilege, sanctioning state sponsored violence, and equating blind patriotism with love of country and faith.

It is not enough for the Episcopal Peace Fellowship to lift up to the church and the world models of members and Chapters and Peace Partner parishes who live out our mission to do justice, dismantle violence and strive to be peacemakers.

It is not enough that for 80 years EPF has worked to engage young adults to create the next generation of peacemakers through pilgrimages and a presence at the last 6 General Conventions. For 80 years EPF has tirelessly resisted gun violence and its earlier forms now with an Action Group leading our witness through advocacy, public witness and partnering with other GVP groups. For 80 years the commitment of EPF to abolish capital punishment has captured the energies of countless members to stand vigil, to give testimony and to cast light on the blatant racism of those sentencing people to death. For 80 years EPF has mobilized its members and chapters, now through the Palestine Israel Network, to humanize communities and persons as brothers and sisters within occupied areas targeted with our own nation’s complicity to marginalize and colonize in Palestine and regions of the Middle East. For 80 years EPF has been guided by a vision to unwaveringly illuminate the underlying justification for corporate, community and relationship violence to be spawned from racism and poverty which has marked this year’s anniversary commemoration pilgrimage for racial reconciliation.

As the national chair of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, I call on all of our membership, any who are committed to the work of peace and justice and those who claim a relationship with the Episcopal Church to renew a NEW VISION for this beloved organization. Where might we be called to DO JUSTICE now in this time of injustice and inequity? Where would you encourage EPF to DISMANTLE VIOLENCE in a time when children fear going to school and refugees are turned back from our borders to face certain death in their homeland? As we STRIVE TO BE PEACEMAKERS what vision would you bring that will propel our work in the next years of our existence.

May this November 11th cause us to be discontent and indignant rather than restful and satisfied with where we’ve come in our history. Join with the leadership of the National Executive Council and those coming for our Pilgrimage Toward Racial Reconciliation in Providence, Rhode Island. If you are unable to be there in person, I urge you to support our work with your prayer and gifts at: https://www.classy.org/event/year-of-action-pilgrimage-for-racial-reconciliation/e249556

Father Bob Appeal
An invitation from
EPF NEC Chair,
Rev. Bob Davidson
Year of Action Celebrations in
Bristol and Providence,
Rhode Island!
EPF
80th Anniversary Commemoration!

Sunday, November 10, 2019
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
399 Hope Street
Bristol, R.I.
A Commemoration of Witness
4:30 PM Evensong
Preacher: Rt. Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown
Bishop of Vermont
Celebrant: Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely
Bishop of Rhode Island


Followed by A Celebration of Peace
5:30 PM Fundraiser
Swing Band, Wine, Beer & Soft Drinks,
Hors D’oeuvres & Silent Auction

Monday, November 11, 2019
Center for Reconciliation
271 North Main Street
Providence, RI

Pilgrimage
9:00 – 11:00 AM
Benefit Street’s Mile of History
walking tour
sponsored by Center for Reconciliation
Providence, RI

Lunch
11:30 – 12:30

Keynote & Panel Discussion
12:30 – 2:30 PM
Byron Rushing, Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1983-2019, Vice President,
House of Deputies, The Episcopal Church

Representatives of Racial Reconciliation Ministries,
Province I, ECUSA

Tickets:
Sunday Fundraiser: $60
Monday events including lunch: $30
All events Sunday and Monday: $80
Student rates:
Sunday Fundraiser: $35
Monday events including lunch: $10
All events Sunday and Monday: $40

https://give.classy.org/reconciliation

Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, congratulates Episcopal Peace Fellowship on 80 years
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
congratulates EPF on 80 years of loving action and witness,
declaring that our activity is,
"Nothing less than the work of God!"

Click HERE to give to our 80 day campaign!

Condolences

It is with great sadness that EPF shares the news of the death of member Thomas G. Bias. Thomas, of Flanders, NJ died peacefully at home following a long illness on October 17, 2019 surrounded by his wife and daughter. He is survived by his wife, Linda Bryk, also of Flanders, NJ; his daughter, Fiona Kyle, of Astoria, NY; his younger sister, Nancy Nicholson, of Towson, MD; and his younger brother, George Bias, of Maricopa, AZ. Thomas was predeceased by his first daughter, Sarah Bryk-Bias, and his parents, Guy and Wilma Bias. Our prayers are will all who love him.

Thomas was born in January 1950 in Tulsa, OK. His family left in 1952 and eventually settled in Baltimore, MD where he grew up. He attended the Gilman School in Baltimore and graduated in 1967. In his high school years, he tutored at-risk youth in English and saw first-hand the tribulations they faced, which permanently affected him. Thomas then attended Amherst College in MA, where he graduated with a BA in English Literature in 1971. It was at college that his political activism was ignited, and he tore through the library to learn about issues regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That led him to discover Socialism and set him on a path he would follow for the rest of his life.

Thomas was a lifelong activist and political organizer. He was strongly anti-war and first worked to protest the Vietnam War and continued to oppose and protest all wars that followed. He was a stalwart believer in mankind, peace and justice, and in God. In college, he joined the Young Socialist Alliance and was invited to join the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) after moving to New York City. He remained with the SWP until 1979, and later joined the Fourth Internationalist Tendency (FIT). In 2010, he helped develop what became known as the Labor Fightback Network and was active with them until shortly before he passed. In 2014, he returned to the Episcopal church of his youth.

Inspired by his Oklahoma heritage, and other native son Woody Guthrie, he picked up the 12-string guitar in 1963. He played and sang throughout his life, and it brought him and others great joy. He sang with various groups including The Solidarity Singers of the NJ IUC, and was the organist and choir director of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Succasunna, NJ. He was proud of the songs that he wrote to speak up against injustice as well as the poetry he wrote in his youth. His songs will be a testament to his beliefs and will leave a legacy of hope for the future of the working class.

Thomas began working as a printer in the typographical trade in 1971. He was a proud member of the International Typographical Union. He worked at Arrow Typographers in Newark, NJ for fourteen years and also worked with other typesetting companies, specializing in foreign languages. Until recently, he worked as a Legal Secretary with Bennet D. Zurofsky, Attorney at Law, previously of Newark, NJ. Tom asked that any memorials be made to Episcopal Peace Fellowship: https://give.classy.org/giveEPF

Our upcoming schedule:

Looking forward, EPF will be in:

Nov. 2-3: St. Luke’s, Altoona, PA

Nov. 9-11: EPF 80th Anniversary, Bristol and Providence, RI

Nov. 21-23: Borderland Ministry Summit, St. Philip’s in the Hills, Tucson, AZ

Dec. 4: National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence (TBD)

Dec. 22: National Day of Reparations (FOR) TBD

Are you near any of our planned stops and want to visit? Just shout! Steven and I are planning to spend the winter in the southwest, heading up through California and then into Oregon and Washington. We will come back east in time for our NEC meeting in Detroit in April, 2020. To schedule a visit, contact me at epfactnow.

Until next time,

power to the peaceful!

Melanie

View of Hebron, Palestine, as seen from
the offices of Youth Against Settlements
(more on my pilgrimage to Palestine in the coming weeks)
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