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Peace Out! Week Eighty-three

Commentary on federal executions being carried out in Indiana.
Offered by NEC member Kathy McGregor
and Don Davis, a condemned man at
Varner Prison in Arkansas.

Don Davis has spent almost 30 years on Arkansas’ death row. He wrote a letter to me last week that I can only assume was written as renewed feelings about his own fate came up during the federal executions being carried out in Indiana. Perhaps, also, as demonstrations fanned out across the country when the video of George Floyd’s execution was televised all over the world. In that letter he wrote: I need a favor and I know that you are the one who needs to do it. I know how you feel about executions but if the state is going to have them should it not be televised? If the state is going to do it in the name of the people should not the people get to see what they are paying for? How can they say it is a deterrence if no one can see it? What about the cost? This issue needs to be talked about anyway one can talk about it.

Don is one of five men whose appeals have run out and are “eligible for execution” once the state obtains the drugs necessary to put a man to death.

Don was to be the first of eight men executed on April 17, 2017. He was taken to the “quiet room” just steps away from the death chamber and had his last meal of fried chicken and mashed potatoes before he was granted a last-minute stay of execution. This was the second time since 2006 he received a stay this close to being executed.

Don wrote the following piece for me to read at a town hall meeting organized by the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty in Little Rock prior to the mass executions that were to be carried out just after Easter 2017. Don has written extensively over the past few years about how solitary confinement has caused him to face his crimes so that he may become the man he is today – remorseful, forgiven by God, and redeemed:

Hello. My name is Don Davis and I am a death row prisoner who has been sentenced to Death by lethal injection for a murder that happened in 1990.

First, I think it is important for you to know that I know who and what I was 25 years ago. I do not believe that I am the same person that I was. I do not believe that the state ever executes the same man that they convicted. It is hard for me to believe that after all these years of being in this cage that I have not grown in some kind of way. Maybe not in the same way as a person who is out in the world would, but I have done the best I could under the sentence of death.

I know better than most how society looks at us. Most think we are nothing but monsters who have nothing to contribute. Society has been trying to kill me for 25 years. The leaders in our society have been thinking of ways to kill men who are sitting down here in a cage cut off from the world – a place of darkness and depression; a sewage of dejection where words like love, compassion, and empathy are swallowed up with words like hate, trash, plague, animal. A place somewhere between life and death.

How do you do 25 years in a single man cell in solitary confinement without going completely crazy? I will say that I have held up better than most. One way I think I have made it through is a good imagination. I have been places. I have done and seen things that people who are free have never done. I have built a world on a far-away planet seven times bigger than Earth. I have been the quarterback in the Super Bowl (Cowboys) and yes…we won. I have been what I consider to be a real man. One who puts his family first – that works all his life so that his family will have a place to call home; food on the table; clothes to wear…making sure his family is safe from people like I was 25 years ago.

Imagination is a powerful instrument that one can use to escape solitary confinement. If you want to kill a person on death row without using drugs, find a way to stop imagination. Game over.

I believe in the Bible. I believe that God is the true God. I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of the living God. I believe that God sacrificed his son, Jesus Christ, for the sins of all men. This means everyone. Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “everyone but Don Davis.” What I read was “to whomever asks for forgiveness with a sincere heart, if you are truly repentant of your sins, then forgiveness shall be given.”
This is what I believe. Not only do I believe this, it is what I do every day of my life.
As I Am – Don Davis, Death Row, April 2017

Prayer to End the Use of the Death Penalty

God of compassion,
You let your rain fall on the just and the unjust.
Expand and deepen our hearts
So that we may love you as you love,
Even those among us
Who have caused the greatest pain by taking life.
For there is in our land a great cry for vengeance
As we fill up death rows and kill the killers
In the name of justice, in the name of peace.
Jesus, our brother,
You suffered execution at the hands of your state
But you did not let hatred overcome you.
Help us reach out to victims of violence
So that our enduring love may help them heal.
Holy Spirit of God,
You strengthen us in the struggle for justice,
Help us to work tirelessly
For the abolition of state-sanctioned death
And to renew our society in its very heart
So that violence will be no more.
Amen.

Sister Helen Prejean CSJ

Watch this space! Coming soon, your opportunity to view a filmed version of the stage production of "On The Row." EPF National Executive Council member Kathy McGregor will make this impactful film available to our Peace Partner Parishes and Chapters via Zoom on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 4:30 pm Eastern/1:30 pm Pacific. Tickets available on Eventbrite soon for a $30 contribution to EPF.
About The Prison Story Project: The Prison Story Project offered incarcerated women and men an opportunity to explore their truths through poetry, creative writing, literature, song-writing, and visual art. Their work was then curated into a staged reading performed by actors and presented first to those on inside prison, and then outside to the community.

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

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

Op ed from The Tennessean concerning the legal appeals of our brother, Abu Ali Abdur’Rahman.

Read it here.

Our colleagues at Anglican Peace Fellowship share this link to their compelling service on the 75th commemoration of the U.S. bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Thanks to all from EPF who were able to attend.
Trinity Cathedral-Cleveland held a healing Eucharist last Thursday to lend support to combat human trafficking in our country. That day was United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. You can watch the recording hereb, which features people from throughout the diocese, for the Healing Eucharist service. The service was followed by a discussion about the effects of COVID-19 on human trafficking in Northeast Ohio.
Special Healing Service for Victims of Human Trafficking
Save the Date: September 13
4PM ET/1PM PT
VFHL Online Film Salon
“Roadmap to Apartheid”
Hosted by Voices From the Holy Land and EPF-Palestine Israel Network

The film “Roadmap to Apartheid” graphically asserts that the Israeli system of total military, economic and social control over the lives of Palestinians constitutes Apartheid. Historical footage and the compelling testimony of South Africans take us back to see and understand the system of White Supremacy that gave its name to a UN-banned crime against humanity.
Side-by-side with what happened in South Africa, the highly acclaimed film takes us to Palestine-Israel, where we see the same kind of rules and the same brutality inflicted on Palestinians. South Africans make the connection and say: “This is another Apartheid.” Palestinians and Israelis detail how Israeli Apartheid operates and how it is being resisted.

Is it really Apartheid? Many in Israel and the U.S. deny it. …
On September 13, please join us in a 90-minute interactive discussion of the film, which will be made freely available to view in advance at your convenience. Guest experts will update us on subsequent developments that are making the Israeli-Apartheid reality ever more evident and ever harsher.
In a time of crisis, when Americans and the whole world are waking up to the profound harm of racism – and insisting that things must change – the issue of Israeli-Apartheid demands our urgent attention and response. Please mark your calendars for Sept. 13 and be on the lookout in the coming weeks for registration details and instructions for accessing the film.

VOLUNTEER NEEDED

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship is recruiting an experienced volunteer who is deeply committed to the mission of EPF. This person will play a significant role in leading the organization’s sustainability initiatives. The individual will collaborate with the EPF Sustainability Committee in the creation and implementation of institutional advancement strategies; including major gift procurement, fundraising, and grant submissions. Episcopalians and candidates with identifiable connections within The Episcopal Church will be given preferential consideration. Specific volunteer responsibilities will include working with the Executive Director and the EPF National Executive Council, as well as supporting leadership of national EPF Action Groups, and the EPF Palestine Israel Network (EPF-PIN). Effective oral and written communication and presentation skills, grant writing and fulfillment, creative “out-of-the-box” thinking, planned giving and execution of annual campaigns are essential requirements for becoming an effective addition to our team. Please send letter of interest with reference to specific experience and accomplishments in development to EPF Executive Director Melanie Merkle Atha at epfactnow.

The annual Jonathan Myrick Daniels and the Martyrs of Alabama Pilgrimage will take place virtually this Saturday, August 15, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. Central time. This year’s preacher will be Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary and author of The Black Christ. Details here.

JOHN NEVIN SAYRE AWARD
NOMINEES SOUGHT

Episcopal Peace Fellowship seeks nominations for its John Nevin Sayre Award. EPF established the Sayre award in 1979 to honor founding EPF member Rev. John Nevin Sayre for his lifetime of service waging the Gospel of Peace. Sayre was an Episcopal priest, pacifist, missionary, teacher and author who gained notoriety when he challenged President Woodrow Wilson to address the devastating events of World War I. Because of Sayre’s efforts, Wilson agreed recognizing conscientious objection as a legal alternative to military service. Sayre has been described as a peace apostle whose life was devoted to the waging of peace and opposition to war.

In 1979, two years after Sayre’s death, Episcopal Peace Fellowship honored his lifelong commitment to peace by establishing the John Nevin Sayre Award. The award is conferred every three years at General Convention for courageous witness in the cause of justice and peace to a recipient selected by the EPF National Executive Council. Through this award Episcopal Peace Fellowship publicly recognizes Episcopalians who are actively living their baptismal promises of striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being. Like the person for whom the award is named, recipients have dedicated their life’s work to courageously promoting a culture of peace and nonviolence in the face of cultural opposition. Past recipients include Rev. Naim Ateek, Madeline Trichel, Mary Miller, Louis Crew, Newland Smith, Very Rev. Canon Patrick Augustine, Caroline Stevenson, and Patty and the late Rt. Rev. Ed Browning.

The 2021 John Nevin Sayre Award will be presented at the EPF General Convention reception on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The Rev. Bob Davidson, chair of EPF’s National Executive Council, looks forward to EPF’s reception each Convention. “It isn’t often that we are witnesses to peacemakers of such magnitude living in our midst. These awards remind us that working among us are living, breathing models of God’s call to follow the Prince of Peace,” said Rev. Davidson.

Nominations should be emailed to EPF Executive Director Melanie Merkle Atha at epfactnow by November 1, 2020, including in the letter of nomination the ways in which the nominee has worked for peace and justice.

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Peace Out! Week Eighty-wo
A special invitation from Anglican Peace Fellowship, to all members of Episcopal Peace Fellowship:

Join us for an online vigil marking the 75th anniversary of the bombing of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The hour long event will include reflections, prayers, readings and songs with contributions from APF members, trustees and friends, including Bishop Paul Bayes and Canon Paul Oestreicher.

Tomorrow, Thursday 6 th August 11 am Eastern time, on Zoom.

To attend, register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/5315961192026/WN_XsFCGsoeT9iPlsbChoIesQ

Episcopal Peace Fellowship has worked collaboratively with the Anglican Peace Fellowship and the Global Anglican Network for Peace and Justice throughout the years to bring attention to the work of peace and justice worldwide. We are grateful to be able to share this invitation with you, the members and friends of EPF.

Do more to prevent use of nuclear weapons. EPF has recently endorsed the work of Back from the Brink. Read more here.
Remember that time before Covid-19 when we could gather in large groups?
Early in 2020, Arkansas EPF and Pax Christi Little Rock, the Catholic Peace Organization, hosted Ira Helfand, MD in Little Rock. Dr. Helfand spoke at the Clinton School of Public Service and Hendrix College in Conway, AR. Dr. Helfand is co-chair of Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Nuclear Weapons Abolition Committee and he also represents IPPNW, International
Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War at the annual World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.

We’re happy that our national Episcopal Peace Fellowship has signed the Back From the Brink: A Call to Prevent Nuclear War. Now, let’s call on our church and local communities to do the same. We also can sign this resolution as individuals. This is one tangible action we can take to make the world a much safer and saner place for all. www.psr.org.

Caroline Stevenson
Arkansas EPF
Little Rock, AR

For an inspiring story of peace, love and justice, long after the horror of the bombing of Nagasaki, click here.

Escape from Portland
offered by Rev. Jeremy Lucas
former member of
EPF National Executive Council
Portland, Oregon

Watching the news and social media lately you might be forgiven if you thought Portland, Oregon had been turned into the latest installment of John Carpenter’s 1981 classic Escape from New York. [Cut to the streets of Portland] Black clad, gas mask wearing, antifa terrorists are laying siege to the city, oh my!! What is a president to do, now that the local and state government have been overrun? [Pan to fires burning bibles, and people screaming “Black Lives Matter and ACAB” at police officers and federal agents in fatigues]

Most of you reading this article from the Episcopal Peace Fellowship will have heard by now that Portland has not been reduced to a burning pile of rubble and that a deal has been made to withdraw federal troops. Graffiti and some broken windows in a 10-block area of downtown are the only physical damage to the city. Most residents went about their lives without experiencing even the slightest whiff of smoke.

The real damage done to the city was by those who have sworn an oath to protect it, and the propaganda puppets sent by a failing president to boost his re-election chances. After the video of George’s Floyds death brought America to life again, attacks on citizens by officers of the law became shockingly common. Every night for over two months the Mayor of Portland, who is also the police commissioner, had protestors gassed, beaten, shot with rubber bullets and pepper-balls, and assaulted by sonic assault weapons.

As a member of the National Lawyers Guild, I have seen and read harrowing stories of official legal observers and the press being assaulted and arrested without cause. I have also watched the overwhelmingly disproportionate response by those in authority against peaceful protestors and have been shocked and outraged. All of this happened before the President decided to use Portland as a propaganda tool for his reelection.

Do not be fooled, sending federal agents to Portland, after the protests had largely ended, was a show. It is a page out of the new social media propaganda playbook. Images from Portland were meant for white suburban families in battleground states.

Save the Date: September 13
4PM ET/1PM PT
VFHL Online Film Salon
“Roadmap to Apartheid”
Hosted by Voices From the Holy Land and EPF-Palestine Israel Network

The film “Roadmap to Apartheid” graphically asserts that the Israeli system of total military, economic and social control over the lives of Palestinians constitutes Apartheid. Historical footage and the compelling testimony of South Africans take us back to see and understand the system of White Supremacy that gave its name to a UN-banned crime against humanity.
Side-by-side with what happened in South Africa, the highly acclaimed film takes us to Palestine-Israel, where we see the same kind of rules and the same brutality inflicted on Palestinians. South Africans make the connection and say: “This is another Apartheid.” Palestinians and Israelis detail how Israeli Apartheid operates and how it is being resisted.

Is it really Apartheid? Many in Israel and the U.S. deny it. …
On September 13, please join us in a 90-minute interactive discussion of the film, which will be made freely available to view in advance at your convenience. Guest experts will update us on subsequent developments that are making the Israeli-Apartheid reality ever more evident and ever harsher.
In a time of crisis, when Americans and the whole world are waking up to the profound harm of racism – and insisting that things must change – the issue of Israeli-Apartheid demands our urgent attention and response. Please mark your calendars for Sept. 13 and be on the lookout in the coming weeks for registration details and instructions for accessing the film.

VOLUNTEER NEEDED

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship is recruiting an experienced volunteer who is deeply committed to the mission of EPF. This person will play a significant role in leading the organization’s sustainability initiatives. The individual will collaborate with the EPF Sustainability Committee in the creation and implementation of institutional advancement strategies; including major gift procurement, fundraising, and grant submissions. Episcopalians and candidates with identifiable connections within The Episcopal Church will be given preferential consideration. Specific volunteer responsibilities will include working with the Executive Director and the EPF National Executive Council, as well as supporting leadership of national EPF Action Groups, and the EPF Palestine Israel Network (EPF-PIN). Effective oral and written communication and presentation skills, grant writing and fulfillment, creative “out-of-the-box” thinking, planned giving and execution of annual campaigns are essential requirements for becoming an effective addition to our team. Please send letter of interest with reference to specific experience and accomplishments in development to EPF Executive Director Melanie Merkle Atha at epfactnow.

John Lewis’ posthumous op ed in the New York Times reads like it was written as inspiration for EPF’s work of justice and peace. Read it here.
The annual Jonathan Myrick Daniels and the Martyrs of Alabama Pilgrimage will take place virtually on Saturday, August 15, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. Central time. This year’s preacher will be Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary and author of The Black Christ. Details here.

JOHN NEVIN SAYRE AWARD
NOMINEES SOUGHT

Episcopal Peace Fellowship seeks nominations for its John Nevin Sayre Award. EPF established the Sayre award in 1979 to honor founding EPF member Rev. John Nevin Sayre for his lifetime of service waging the Gospel of Peace. Sayre was an Episcopal priest, pacifist, missionary, teacher and author who gained notoriety when he challenged President Woodrow Wilson to address the devastating events of World War I. Because of Sayre’s efforts, Wilson agreed recognizing conscientious objection as a legal alternative to military service. Sayre has been described as a peace apostle whose life was devoted to the waging of peace and opposition to war.

In 1979, two years after Sayre’s death, Episcopal Peace Fellowship honored his lifelong commitment to peace by establishing the John Nevin Sayre Award. The award is conferred every three years at General Convention for courageous witness in the cause of justice and peace to a recipient selected by the EPF National Executive Council. Through this award Episcopal Peace Fellowship publicly recognizes Episcopalians who are actively living their baptismal promises of striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being. Like the person for whom the award is named, recipients have dedicated their life’s work to courageously promoting a culture of peace and nonviolence in the face of cultural opposition. Past recipients include Rev. Naim Ateek, Madeline Trichel, Mary Miller, Louis Crew, Newland Smith, Very Rev. Canon Patrick Augustine, Caroline Stevenson, and Patty and the late Rt. Rev. Ed Browning.

The 2021 John Nevin Sayre Award will be presented at the EPF General Convention reception on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The Rev. Bob Davidson, chair of EPF’s National Executive Council, looks forward to EPF’s reception each Convention. “It isn’t often that we are witnesses to peacemakers of such magnitude living in our midst. These awards remind us that working among us are living, breathing models of God’s call to follow the Prince of Peace,” said Rev. Davidson.

Nominations should be emailed to EPF Executive Director Melanie Merkle Atha at epfactnow by November 1, 2020, including in the letter of nomination the ways in which the nominee has worked for peace and justice.

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Peace Out! Week Eighty-one

Witnessing to the God of Life: A Letter to the Episcopal Church

Rt. Rev. Dan Edwards, a member of EPF’s National Executive Council, is also a member of Bishops United Against Gun Violence. Read Bishops United’s powerful witness to the Episcopal Church here. Is your bishop a member of Bishops United? Check the website here and if your bishop is not, consider encouraging her or him to join to stand with other brave and righteous clergy for this life-giving advocacy.

Special Healing Service
for Victims of Human Trafficking
July 30, 2020
Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, OH

Trinity Cathedral’s Episcopal Peace Fellowship chapter is planning a special virtual Healing Eucharist for the victims of human trafficking on Thursday, July 30, 2020 which is the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. You can attend the virtual service by tuning into our YouTube channel (freeman.bruce or Debbie Hunter hunterd16 for more information.

Please register in advance for this meeting at:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYlc-6rpj8rHtSi7GOoJcc5mVFi4J2fLqLM

Support Congressional Measures to Prevent Gender-Based Violence!

The Keeping Women and Girls Safe from the Start Act of 2020 (S.4003) expands the ability of the U.S. government to prevent gender-based violence and provide early interventions at the onset of humanitarian emergencies. By formalizing the Safe from the Start initiative currently administered by the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Aid (USAID), the legislation will help strengthen staff training and integrate important interventions to mitigate risks for gender-based violence in all humanitarian sectors. Contact your Senators and Representatives to support this bill.

General Convention Policy
2015-A049: Prioritize Gender Equality Concerns in Foreign and Church Aid
2012-A139: Endorse Efforts Against Gender Violence

Do more to prevent use of nuclear weapons. EPF has recently endorsed the work of Back from the Brink. Read more here.
REPARATIONS NOW!

Where does the Episcopal Church stand on this? The City of Asheville, North Carolina recently approved reparations for Black residents. Read moreepfactnow

The annual Jonathan Myrick Daniels and the Martyrs of Alabama Pilgrimage will take place virtually on Saturday, August 15, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. Central time. This year’s preacher will be Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary and author of The Black Christ. Details here.

JOHN NEVIN SAYRE AWARD
NOMINEES SOUGHT

Episcopal Peace Fellowship seeks nominations for its John Nevin Sayre Award. EPF established the Sayre award in 1979 to honor founding EPF member Rev. John Nevin Sayre for his lifetime of service waging the Gospel of Peace. Sayre was an Episcopal priest, pacifist, missionary, teacher and author who gained notoriety when he challenged President Woodrow Wilson to address the devastating events of World War I. Because of Sayre’s efforts, Wilson agreed recognizing conscientious objection as a legal alternative to military service. Sayre has been described as a peace apostle whose life was devoted to the waging of peace and opposition to war.

In 1979, two years after Sayre’s death, Episcopal Peace Fellowship honored his lifelong commitment to peace by establishing the John Nevin Sayre Award. The award is conferred every three years at General Convention for courageous witness in the cause of justice and peace to a recipient selected by the EPF National Executive Council. Through this award Episcopal Peace Fellowship publicly recognizes Episcopalians who are actively living their baptismal promises of striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being. Like the person for whom the award is named, recipients have dedicated their life’s work to courageously promoting a culture of peace and nonviolence in the face of cultural opposition. Past recipients include Rev. Naim Ateek, Madeline Trichel, Mary Miller, Louis Crew, Newland Smith, Very Rev. Canon Patrick Augustine, Caroline Stevenson, and Patty and the late Rt. Rev. Ed Browning.

The 2021 John Nevin Sayre Award will be presented at the EPF General Convention reception on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The Rev. Bob Davidson, chair of EPF’s National Executive Council, looks forward to EPF’s reception each Convention. “It isn’t often that we are witnesses to peacemakers of such magnitude living in our midst. These awards remind us that working among us are living, breathing models of God’s call to follow the Prince of Peace,” said Rev. Davidson.

Nominations should be emailed to EPF Executive Director Melanie Merkle Atha at epfactnow by November 1, 2020, including in the letter of nomination the ways in which the nominee has worked for peace and justice.

Our popular marching shirts are back in stock! Order here!
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Peace Out! Week Eighty

Can the Episcopal Peace Fellowship embody militant non-violence?

Offered by Rev. Bob Davidson
EPF National Chair
Diocese of Colorado

In these times of social change in our world, voices strain to be heard above the protests and uprising. Some have advocated for a complete dismantling of all social institutions and public safety by any means necessary. This tactic seems justified in the face of persistent and pervasive racism and brutality toward communities of color and indigenous peoples. Countering force with force has enlisted many activists in the cause of racial justice to show their all-out willingness for the movement. Perhaps a more aggressive stance is required to get the attention of those in power and radicalize others on the sidelines who witness the retaliation of law enforcement with indiscriminate acts of violence and brutality.

One must be very, very careful to criticize the call toward violence when the alternative of using other means of change, such as political or judicial change, has historically favored those with privilege and left the oppressed and marginalized disenfranchised.
It is also true, however, that seasoned activists and change agents have come to the realization that change birthed and achieved through violent methods will inevitably result in the perpetuation of more violence. Caesar Chavez declared in the struggle for justice for farmworkers, “In some cases non-violence requires more militancy than violence”. Is there a militant form of non-violence?

Advocating for militant non-violence has at its core three guiding principles which also are reflected in the identity of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship.

First, the radical vision which is reflected by Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount declares that this new Kingdom of Heaven will be ushered in by those who are called to be peacemakers. While people of faith are challenged to engage in the affairs of the world order around them to demand justice, equality and fairness we are also the vanguard for God’s Kingdom to break forth. When the promise that “justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” comes to fullness we will be witnesses of divine power establishing the Beloved Community.

Secondly non-violent peacemaking is an imperative that requires total and unwavering allegiance to the promise made at our Baptism: Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

Daniel Berrigan, a Roman Catholic activist described this wholesale conviction of our lives to peacemaking. "Because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total- but the waging of peace, by our cowardice is partial.” To follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace, demands that for all our life and with every breath, we must strive for justice and peace.

Finally, non-violent peacemaking contains within its definition both the means and the ends of our vision for a more just and equitable world. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated it so eloquently, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” To succumb to violence as a means of achieving change offers a blueprint that another more powerful might follow that same path to power and dominance. When non-violence is the means to establish change, it also becomes a sustainable future where conflict and hostilities can be mediated, where grievances can be addressed, and where humane treatment and dignity is the core of human existence.

Can the Episcopal Peace Fellowship offer a path toward militant non-violence and peacemaking in these turbulent times. Yes!! We invite all who are seeking a collective voice and instrument for change to join with the EPF as we embark into the future.

EPF National Vice Chair, Rev. Will Mebane, among others, remembers John Lewis. Read the story here.
REMEMBERING
JOHN LEWIS

"He was an example, a model of how to get things done without having to resort to violence."

Photo credit: ReckonAlabama
REPARATIONS NOW!

Where does the Episcopal Church stand on this? The City of Asheville, North Carolina recently approved reparations for Black residents. Read moreepfactnow

Special Healing Service
for Victims of Human Trafficking
July 30, 2020
Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, OH

Trinity Cathedral’s Episcopal Peace Fellowship chapter is planning a special virtual Healing Eucharist for the victims of human trafficking on Thursday, July 30, 2020 which is the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. You can attend the virtual service by tuning into our YouTube channel (freeman.bruce or Debbie Hunter hunterd16 for more information.

Please register in advance for this meeting at:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYlc-6rpj8rHtSi7GOoJcc5mVFi4J2fLqLM

Episcopal Church leaders, including EPF’s own NEC member Kathy McGregor, our Death Penalty Abolition Action Group convener, spoke out against the resumption of the death penalty for federal crimes. Read the ENS story here.

Read more from Death Penalty News here.

Support Annexation Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act

The Episcopal Church has maintained a longstanding commitment to peace in the Holy Land, in particular opposing unilateral annexation by Israel. In doing so, The Episcopal Church has joined with other churches, including Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, in advocating for a just resolution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

General Convention has long held the stance that any sovereign Palestinian state must be comprised of territories within the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and that the presence of Israeli settlements within these territories is illegal. The possibility of a peaceful resolution is made more difficult by Israeli government efforts to annex settlements within the West Bank. If annexation moves forward in violation of international law and numerous UN resolutions, it would “bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process” according to the heads of churches in Jerusalem and Palestinians would suffer greatly.

In response to the Israeli discussion of annexation, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) has introduced an amendment to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prohibit Israel from using funds provided by the United States to annex West Bank territory. If passed, this amendment would be a significant step towards reinforcing the United States’ commitment to a two state solution. This amendment is not created to undermine U.S.-Israeli relations, but instead to maintain understanding and dialogue between the U.S., Israel, and Palestine.

General Convention Resolutions:
2018-D018: Commit to a Negotiated Solution to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
2015-B013: Reaffirm a Policy of Reconciliation and Restorative Justice in the Middle East
2012-B019: Support Israeli-Palestinian Peace
2003-D008: Urge Israel to End Policy of Demolition of Palestinian Homes
1994-D065: Recognize Illegality of Israeli Settlements in Gaza and the West Bank
1991-D008: Urge a Peaceful Resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Additional resources:
Churches Against Annexation from Churches for Middle East Peace
Statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches on Israeli Unilateral Annexation Plans
American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem

Becoming Beloved Community NOW gathers leaders for action
online July 28-30; register now

Racial justice and healing leaders and practitioners across The Episcopal Church will gather to build community, craft strategy and equip each other for action during a series of “Becoming Beloved Community NOW” online gatherings at 4:00-6:00 p.m. EST on July 28-30.

Convened by the Presiding Officers’ Advisory Group on Beloved Community Implementation, the three gatherings will focus on three urgent themes:

  • Truth – Telling the truth about participation in white supremacy and racial oppression. (Tuesday, July 28)
  • Justice – Changing racist systems, especially “criminal” justice and public health/COVID response. (Wednesday, July 29)
  • Healing – Breaking free of white supremacy via training and formation (Thursday, July 30).


Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and President of the House of Deputies Gay Clark Jennings will offer prayer and reflections throughout the sessions.

“We are inviting leaders, practitioners and communities currently engaged in the work of racial reconciliation, healing and justice to attend any or all of these gatherings,” said The Rev. Edwin Johnson, who chairs the advisory group. “This is a moment to gather and strengthen our movement for the long haul.”

The sessions will feature presentations and panels, along with breakout groups for practitioners and leaders to meet and share with each other. “Everyone who attends should leave with a path to action and deeper relationships with people doing similar work,” Rev. Johnson said. “Through prophetic action, we can turn a moment of pain into a moment of progress.”

Becoming Beloved Community NOW is open to the public. Register salphin or 212-716-6102.

JOHN NEVIN SAYRE AWARD
NOMINEES SOUGHT

Episcopal Peace Fellowship seeks nominations for its John Nevin Sayre Award. EPF established the Sayre award in 1979 to honor founding EPF member Rev. John Nevin Sayre for his lifetime of service waging the Gospel of Peace. Sayre was an Episcopal priest, pacifist, missionary, teacher and author who gained notoriety when he challenged President Woodrow Wilson to address the devastating events of World War I. Because of Sayre’s efforts, Wilson agreed recognizing conscientious objection as a legal alternative to military service. Sayre has been described as a peace apostle whose life was devoted to the waging of peace and opposition to war.

In 1979, two years after Sayre’s death, Episcopal Peace Fellowship honored his lifelong commitment to peace by establishing the John Nevin Sayre Award. The award is conferred every three years at General Convention for courageous witness in the cause of justice and peace to a recipient selected by the EPF National Executive Council. Through this award Episcopal Peace Fellowship publicly recognizes Episcopalians who are actively living their baptismal promises of striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being. Like the person for whom the award is named, recipients have dedicated their life’s work to courageously promoting a culture of peace and nonviolence in the face of cultural opposition. Past recipients include Rev. Naim Ateek, Madeline Trichel, Mary Miller, Louis Crew, Newland Smith, Very Rev. Canon Patrick Augustine, Caroline Stevenson, and Patty and the late Rt. Rev. Ed Browning.

The 2021 John Nevin Sayre Award will be presented at the EPF General Convention reception on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The Rev. Bob Davidson, chair of EPF’s National Executive Council, looks forward to EPF’s reception each Convention. “It isn’t often that we are witnesses to peacemakers of such magnitude living in our midst. These awards remind us that working among us are living, breathing models of God’s call to follow the Prince of Peace,” said Rev. Davidson.

Nominations should be emailed to EPF Executive Director Melanie Merkle Atha at epfactnow by November 1, 2020, including in the letter of nomination the ways in which the nominee has worked for peace and justice.

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Photo credit: AP
Strike for Black Lives!

Joining what is dubbed the "Strike for Black Lives", tens of thousands of fast-food, ride-share, nursing-home and airport workers in more than 25 US cities are planning to walk off the job on Monday, July 20, 2020 for a full-day strike. Support these efforts in your community, or inspire your own strike if there is not one planned. This is the work of EPF — finding action and advocacy and making it happen to bring real Gospel change. Read the full story here.

BACK TO SCHOOL?
All politics is local, and often the most compelling example of leadership in times of crisis comes from the grassroots efforts of bright, passionate, intelligent leaders. Even as school districts across America resist efforts to put teachers and school children in harm’s way, the Richmond (Virginia) Education Association offers this compassionate position statement. Feel free to share these points to help your school district RESIST:
CALLING ALL PEACE ACTIVISTS WHO WANT TO SERVE EPF. OUR COMMITTEES ARE RECRUITING, AND WE WELCOME YOUR ENERGETIC LEADERSHIP!

Communications Committee: Support the communications strategy for EPF; provide new content for website , social media, and Constant Contact communications; consider adequacy of communications for our needs; help manage social media platforms and “comments”; blogging; volunteer to help with virtual office details. (NEC leadership: Bruce Freeman (OH), Jessica Jew (CA), Rob Burgess (MI))

Sustainability Committee: Develop a multi-year diversified development plan and goals for EPF; help with fundraising, budgeting, determining long range financial needs and campaigns; help consider how EPF money should be managed; determine electronic banking needs and look at bank investments to determine suitability for managing EPF’s money. (NEC leadership: Rev. Will Mebane (MA), Kathy McGregor (AR))

Membership Committee: Create the requirements and commitments for EPF membership for individuals; recruiting member initiatives; help look at donor and contact database management; chapter and peace partner recruiting. (NEC leadership: Rev. Richard Wineland (TN) , Rev. Bob Davidson (CO), Rt. Rev. Dan Edwards (CO))

Programming Committee: help with creation resources for missions of EPF (curriculum, materials, preacher’s/speaker’s bureau, etc.) and pilgrimages (Year of Action and urban pilgrimages); consult on management of EPF virtual store; review and expand partnership with other peace organizations. (NEC leadership: Rev. Cody Maynus (SD), Bob Lotz (MI), Rev. John Floberg (ND); and Rev. Mike Wallens (TX))

Are you looking for a unique worship experience that informs and supports your work for social justice for the poor? Watch Freedom Church of the Poor, hosted by the Kairos Center, LIVE each Sunday from 6:00 pm until 7:30 pm Eastern time on the Kairos Center’s Facebook page. Learn more here.

Our Episcopal Bishops United Against Gun Violence group is sharing news that their partners at Brady launched a Democracy Access project with March for Our Lives ("MFOL") focused on voting rights in an effort to highlight the link between gun violence prevention and democracy.

We have backed many initiatives to end or at least reduce gun violence, only to see them voted down by NRA-purchased state and US legislators. When we support candidates pledged to the policies we need, they often lose because too few people have access to the most basic democratic right: the vote.

Gun violence prevention is an anti-racism movement. The suppression of voting rights is an act of racism meant to keep us in a Jim Crow world of White privilege and Black oppression. Poll taxes and literacy tests have been replaced by the closing of polling places in Black neighborhoods, purging of voter rolls, and lifelong disenfranchisement of felons in the age of mass incarceration. Even though a majority of our people support common-sense gun laws, voter suppression keeps many from being able to vote for them.

Brady, MFOL and Bishops United are highlighting four aspects of the battle for voting rights:

  1. Vote-by-mail and absentee voting
  2. Online and same-day voter registration
  3. Early voting
  4. Restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions

You can find the campaign website here:
https://www.bradyunited.org/program/democracy

Are you living in a state that votes reliably blue or reliably red and yet you want to make an impact in a swing state? Check out Common Power and find a way to move our country towards compassion and inclusive democracy. You can make a difference! Vote your baptismal covenant and help change the world!

JOHN NEVIN SAYRE AWARD
NOMINEES SOUGHT

Episcopal Peace Fellowship seeks nominations for its John Nevin Sayre Award. EPF established the Sayre award in 1979 to honor founding EPF member Rev. John Nevin Sayre for his lifetime of service waging the Gospel of Peace. Sayre was an Episcopal priest, pacifist, missionary, teacher and author who gained notoriety when he challenged President Woodrow Wilson to address the devastating events of World War I. Because of Sayre’s efforts, Wilson agreed recognizing conscientious objection as a legal alternative to military service. Sayre has been described as a peace apostle whose life was devoted to the waging of peace and opposition to war.

In 1979, two years after Sayre’s death, Episcopal Peace Fellowship honored his lifelong commitment to peace by establishing the John Nevin Sayre Award. The award is conferred every three years at General Convention for courageous witness in the cause of justice and peace to a recipient selected by the EPF National Executive Council. Through this award Episcopal Peace Fellowship publicly recognizes Episcopalians who are actively living their baptismal promises of striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being. Like the person for whom the award is named, recipients have dedicated their life’s work to courageously promoting a culture of peace and nonviolence in the face of cultural opposition. Past recipients include Rev. Naim Ateek, Madeline Trichel, Mary Miller, Louis Crew, Newland Smith, Very Rev. Canon Patrick Augustine, Caroline Stevenson, and Patty and the late Rt. Rev. Ed Browning.

The 2021 John Nevin Sayre Award will be presented at the EPF General Convention reception on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The Rev. Bob Davidson, chair of EPF’s National Executive Council, looks forward to EPF’s reception each Convention. “It isn’t often that we are witnesses to peacemakers of such magnitude living in our midst. These awards remind us that working among us are living, breathing models of God’s call to follow the Prince of Peace,” said Rev. Davidson.

Nominations should be emailed to EPF Executive Director Melanie Merkle Atha at epfactnow by November 1, 2020, including in the letter of nomination the ways in which the nominee has worked for peace and justice.

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pow wow
Photo credit: Shannon Berndt
Standing with Standing Rock
Offered by Rev. Dr. John Floberg
Rector of the Episcopal Churchs on the North Dakota Side
of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation

The Episcopal Congregations on Standing Rock are grateful for the news of the shutdown of DAPL pending a full Environmental Impact Study. This Study is at the heart of this year’s long protest. Little consideration had been given to the consequences that would be endured by the Standing Rock Nation in the event of a pipeline failure within the boundaries of the reservoir on the Missouri River. Neither were critical aspects of identification of the historic nature of the land to the Indigenous People of the region that the pipeline traverses fully reconciled in the construction of the project. As in most situations that threaten the environment, there are populations of less powerful communities that are placed at risk. We are grateful that the Episcopal Church and its members came to Stand With Standing Rock and acted as a catalyst for the larger Christian Community to find its place to stand with us as well.

Read the ENS story of the Episcopal Church’s support for this decision here.

EPF is proud that Standing with Standing Rock was the first stop of its Year of Action pilgrimage in commemoration of its 80th anniversary in the fall of 2018.

The Falmouth, MA, Clergy Association, including EPF’s national vice chair, Rev. Will Mebane, created a video with a powerful and encouraging message of love and hope. View it here:

https://www.capenews.net/falmouth/unmasking-racism-video/video_d00e86eb-d9c6-50ce-bf85-08becb492966.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

From our friends at the North Dallas Chapter of EPF

As the “water hose” of issues related to public justice does not seem to abate, we are continually forced to decide which ones to address. This is a matter of both prayer, and of our individual resources – I for one can choose only one or two, else my attention (which I find already stressed) grows too thin. And even as I’m writing this, it serves as a reminder to myself to engage in prayer for inner peace, as well.

This week’s first link makes the interesting connection between the Black Lives Matter movement in our country and the Palestinian struggle for freedom. (Note that the Netanyahu government has been forced by international pressure – in part from some US Senators and Representatives – to pause the Israeli plan to annex West Bank land.)

https://www.votervoice.net/PCUSA/Campaigns/75255/Respond

The Episcopal Church USA urges us to action on an issue by the end of the week, as July 15 marks the closing date for public comment on this proposal (comments which the DOJ and DHS are required to read and consider). If passed, the rule would both make legal immigration harder and “severely restrict action to asylum in the US.”

https://episcopalchurch.org/OGR/action-alerts?vvsrc=%2fCampaigns%2f75543%2fRespond

Finally, an issue which likely weighs on all our hearts and minds: systems in our country which perpetuate injustice, particularly toward the most vulnerable, in the very name of “justice.” The Friends Committee on National Legislation is urging support for an Act now before Congress which would help to end the militarization of our police forces:

https://www.fcnl.org/updates/tell-congress-support-justice-in-policing-2822

In prayer, hope and action for peace and for justice,

Ron Damholt
for the North Dallas Chapter of Episcopal Peace Fellowship

Are you looking for a unique worship experience that informs and supports your work for social justice for the poor? Watch Freedom Church of the Poor, hosted by the Kairos Center, LIVE each Sunday from 6:00 pm until 7:30 pm Eastern time on the Kairos Center’s Facebook page. Learn more here.

Our Episcopal Bishops United Against Gun Violence group is sharing news that their partners at Brady launched a Democracy Access project with March for Our Lives ("MFOL") focused on voting rights in an effort to highlight the link between gun violence prevention and democracy.

We have backed many initiatives to end or at least reduce gun violence, only to see them voted down by NRA-purchased state and US legislators. When we support candidates pledged to the policies we need, they often lose because too few people have access to the most basic democratic right: the vote.

Gun violence prevention is an anti-racism movement. The suppression of voting rights is an act of racism meant to keep us in a Jim Crow world of White privilege and Black oppression. Poll taxes and literacy tests have been replaced by the closing of polling places in Black neighborhoods, purging of voter rolls, and lifelong disenfranchisement of felons in the age of mass incarceration. Even though a majority of our people support common-sense gun laws, voter suppression keeps many from being able to vote for them.

Brady, MFOL and Bishops United are highlighting four aspects of the battle for voting rights:

  1. Vote-by-mail and absentee voting
  2. Online and same-day voter registration
  3. Early voting
  4. Restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions

You can find the campaign website here:
https://www.bradyunited.org/program/democracy

Are you living in a state that votes reliably blue or reliably red and yet you want to make an impact in a swing state? Check out Common Power and find a way to move our country towards compassion and inclusive democracy. You can make a difference! Vote your baptismal covenant and help change the world!

JOHN NEVIN SAYRE AWARD
NOMINEES SOUGHT

Episcopal Peace Fellowship seeks nominations for its John Nevin Sayre Award. EPF established the Sayre award in 1979 to honor founding EPF member Rev. John Nevin Sayre for his lifetime of service waging the Gospel of Peace. Sayre was an Episcopal priest, pacifist, missionary, teacher and author who gained notoriety when he challenged President Woodrow Wilson to address the devastating events of World War I. Because of Sayre’s efforts, Wilson agreed recognizing conscientious objection as a legal alternative to military service. Sayre has been described as a peace apostle whose life was devoted to the waging of peace and opposition to war.

In 1979, two years after Sayre’s death, Episcopal Peace Fellowship honored his lifelong commitment to peace by establishing the John Nevin Sayre Award. The award is conferred every three years at General Convention for courageous witness in the cause of justice and peace to a recipient selected by the EPF National Executive Council. Through this award Episcopal Peace Fellowship publicly recognizes Episcopalians who are actively living their baptismal promises of striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being. Like the person for whom the award is named, recipients have dedicated their life’s work to courageously promoting a culture of peace and nonviolence in the face of cultural opposition. Past recipients include Rev. Naim Ateek, Madeline Trichel, Mary Miller, Louis Crew, Newland Smith, Very Rev. Canon Patrick Augustine, Caroline Stevenson, and Patty and the late Rt. Rev. Ed Browning.

The 2021 John Nevin Sayre Award will be presented at the EPF General Convention reception on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The Rev. Bob Davidson, chair of EPF’s National Executive Council, looks forward to EPF’s reception each Convention. “It isn’t often that we are witnesses to peacemakers of such magnitude living in our midst. These awards remind us that working among us are living, breathing models of God’s call to follow the Prince of Peace,” said Rev. Davidson.

Nominations should be emailed to EPF Executive Director Melanie Merkle Atha at epfactnow by November 1, 2020, including in the letter of nomination the ways in which the nominee has worked for peace and justice.

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Jesus: Breaking the Political Binary
Offered by Bob Lotz
EPF Gun Violence Prevention Action Group Convener
and Secretary to the NEC
Lexington, Michigan

We are in one of those times when people are divided and angrily at odds with those they see as on the "wrong" side. It has happened before, when we were also on the verge of great changes: before the Civil War, and during the Great Depression, for example.

As part of the Jesus Movement we must stand for justice. But we are not here to choose between the two sides in the national argument. We represent a third way, the way of love. We have to see the spark of the divine in all God’s children. It is our hope to be part of the transformation of all of us, to reconcile all people to each other and to God.
We are here to bring good news to the poor, freedom to the imprisoned, and recovery to the disabled.

That requires us to defend the oppressed and the marginalized, and to oppose all violence. That means the violence of the police, of course; the police are always charged with managing inequality and maintaining the existing social order. We also oppose the violence expressed as the denial of health care, the denial of adequate housing, the denial of adequate food and clean water, the denial of the dignity of work. These are all forms of violence that are visited upon the poor every day.

We also oppose the acts of violent desperation that the marginalized sometimes commit. But we draw a distinction between the theft or destruction of property, and the destruction of human lives. We will always raise up and defend lives.

Some will downplay or ignore the murders committed by agents of the government but demand further violence in response to protests against the police. We of the Jesus Movement respond to this with love, not hate…. but with a militant love that actively seeks to protect the oppressed.

We cannot be passive if we truly love. We can’t be sanctimonious on the sidelines. Jesus teaches us a non-violent love that is militant and transformational.

This is what makes the way of the Jesus Movement unique: the possibility of a third path, a way of love, of transformation, to a world that is truly "on earth, as it is in heaven."

Thanks to our friends at Ordinary Liturgy for this liturgy for anti-racism.

Five reasons to become
a monthly giver to EPF!

+ At least once a month, you are reminded of your dedication to the work of EPF. When the automated notice of your gift arrives in your inbox, you have a reason to pause and think of our brothers and sisters for whom we advocate: the condemned, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the incarcerated, the stranger, the displaced, and the “other,” then to pray for their safety and liberation, and to consider what other action you might take on their behalf.

+ Electronic, regular giving is environmentally friendly and eliminates/reduces our carbon footprint because we don’t have to use paper for transfers of resources or manpower to move soliciting paper from us to you.

+ Regular, electronic giving reduces the amount of volunteer & staff hours, and other resources EPF spends on fundraising and administration, making your gifts to EPF go further, and towards the work you really want us to be doing – advocating for social justice, including abolition of war and the threat of nuclear arms, death penalty abolition, criminal justice reform, gun violence prevention, immigrant and refugee justice, racial justice, justice for Palestine, environmental justice, and non-violence in all aspects of life.

+ With your monthly gift, you are sustaining the work of EPF, assuring us of a steady, reliable stream of income so we can budget and plan, and do such important work as getting ourselves prepared to be effective advocates for our social justice issues at General Convention in Baltimore in 2021.

+ Monthly giving is a convenience to you, the giver. With one simple online form, you are done! You don’t have to remember to send in a check, remember when you sent in your last donation, or otherwise make a conscious effort to donate. You don’t even have to find a stamp or envelope or risk going out to the post office.

Use this link to set up your monthly contribution to EPF. No amount is too small for a monthly gift! And THANK YOU in advance for considering it!

Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852 addressing the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society in Rochester, New York:

"At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

"What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour!"

Israel is considering whether to annex large parts of the West Bank as early as July 1, with the U.S. government supporting and coordinating the annexation. What does this mean? How will this impact the daily lives of Palestinians and the prospect for peace?
Read more for opportunities to get involved, and follow our EPF Palestine Israel Network to learn more.

Episcopal Peace Fellowship seeks nominations for its John Nevin Sayre Award. EPF established the Sayre award in 1979 to honor founding EPF member Rev. John Nevin Sayre for his lifetime of service waging the Gospel of Peace. Sayre was an Episcopal priest, pacifist, missionary, teacher and author who gained notoriety when he challenged President Woodrow Wilson to address the devastating events of World War I. Because of Sayre’s efforts, Wilson agreed recognizing conscientious objection as a legal alternative to military service. Sayre has been described as a peace apostle whose life was devoted to the waging of peace and opposition to war.

In 1979, two years after Sayre’s death, Episcopal Peace Fellowship honored his lifelong commitment to peace by establishing the John Nevin Sayre Award. The award is conferred every three years at General Convention for courageous witness in the cause of justice and peace to a recipient selected by the EPF National Executive Council. Through this award Episcopal Peace Fellowship publicly recognizes Episcopalians who are actively living their baptismal promises of striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being. Like the person for whom the award is named, recipients have dedicated their life’s work to courageously promoting a culture of peace and nonviolence in the face of cultural opposition. Past recipients include Rev. Naim Ateek, Madeline Trichel, Mary Miller, Louis Crew, Newland Smith, Very Rev. Canon Patrick Augustine, Caroline Stevenson, and Patty and the late Rt. Rev. Ed Browning.

The 2021 John Nevin Sayre Award will be presented at the EPF General Convention reception on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The Rev. Bob Davidson, chair of EPF’s National Executive Council, looks forward to EPF’s reception each Convention. “It isn’t often that we are witnesses to peacemakers of such magnitude living in our midst. These awards remind us that working among us are living, breathing models of God’s call to follow the Prince of Peace,” said Rev. Davidson.

Nominations should be emailed to EPF Executive Director Melanie Merkle Atha at epfactnow by November 1, 2020, including in the letter of nomination the ways in which the nominee has worked for peace and justice.

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Peace Out! Week Seventy-six
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The Trinity of Transformation
Offered by Rt. Rev. Dan Edwards
Retired Bishop of Nevada

Distress runs deep among those committed to Jesus’ way of love. The violent death of George Floyd was a particularly graphic case of all too common acts of sado-racism rooted in a domination system (Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers) approach to how we live together on this planet. Power plays are the medium; and, as Marshal McLuhan said, “the medium is the message.” Distress runs deep. So people around the world are taking to the streets. The stores and cafes on my street are boarded up in fear.) As a people, we are taking to the streets. It is right that we do so. The street is where we demand that those in power wake up to the harsh realities of violence and injustice.

But how many times have our protests led to little if any change? We go to the streets, express our feelings, then get on with life as usual. The powers that be sit back and wait for us to “get it out of our system,” then go on as before.

Real change starts in the streets where we express feelings – feelings of anger, grief, hope, and courage. But there are two more key elements. Together these elements constitute the Trinity of Transformation: the street, the table, and the cross.

The table is where in-the-flesh change happens. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in the street, but he was also at the White House and in Congress advocating for civil rights legislation. We don’t just protest. We organize. We organize to advocate for change in policing, in education, in foreign and domestic policies of compassion that make a real difference in people’s lives. America withdrawing funding from the World Health Organization during the pandemic is not acceptable. America vetoing the U N Resolution calling for a Global Ceasefire during the pandemic is not acceptable. America “detaining” (incarcerating without trial) immigrants in hot-bed-of-contagion punitive, for-profit prisons is not acceptable. All such violence is part and parcel of one domination system. It’s all connected. We can and must engage that system on multiple fronts. Organizing for effective advocacy begins with building networks of relationship, like the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. That’s why we’re here.

The third element I have called “the cross” because the cross transforms our spirits. We are not moralistic do-gooders displaying our righteousness. We bring something deeper to the street and to the table. We bring the Spirit of Christ.

Bringing the Spirit of Christ comes from our regular hearing of the word and participating in the sacraments, but also through psycho-spiritual disciplines that cultivate in us Jesus’ way of being and living. One such discipline, Loving Kindness Meditation, comes from the Carmelites (who learned it from Theravadan Buddhism). It’s a daily 10-minute exercise. It goes this way:

For one week, we pray matching these words to our breath.

In: May I be filled with loving kindness.
Out: May I be well.
In: May I be peaceful and at ease.
Out: May I be happy.

We pray for ourselves this way for 10 minutes each day for a week. We always start with ourselves because we cannot give what we have not first received. So, the second week, we pray in the same way for 5 minutes. Then for the next 5 minutes, we pray for someone dear to us.

In: May Jim be filled with loving kindness.
Out: May he be well.
In: May he be peaceful and at ease
Out: May he be happy.

In week 3, we start with 5 minutes of prayer for ourselves again. The next five minutes, instead of praying for our friend, we pay for someone we know but who is not significant to us, someone we just see from time to time in daily life but have no strong feelings about.

In week 4, again we pray for ourselves for 5 minutes, then devote the next five minutes to praying – not for our worst enemy, but — for someone who bothers us, irritates us, makes us angry. Then we repeat the whole process over the next 4 weeks. Albert Einstein said,
A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Loving Kindness Meditation is an exercise in “widening our circle of compassion.” Of course, there are other prayers that can change our hearts. But this is a good one. A disciplined life of prayer changes us and that matters for others. Whether we are on the street or at the table, our ability to effect change depends not so much on the cogency of our arguments as the power of our presence. The quality of our presence proceeds from our prayer.

The Trinity of Transformation calls us to the street, to the table, and to the cross. All three are political practices but also spiritual disciplines. The mission field and the crucible of our own transformation are the same place.

The Diocese of Rochester, and their diocesan bishop, Rt. Rev. Prince Singh, continue to inspire. Click here to read how Bishop Singh is issuing a call for all of the diocese to read the book Unsettling Truths, which explores the Doctrine of Discovery.
Thanks to EPF member Tom Foster for this news. How can you in your parish or diocese replicate this holy work?
To all of you who participated in the Poor People’s Campaign, a National Call for Moral Revival’s Digital Moral March on Washington this past weekend, THANK YOU! Click here to read the Moral Justice Jubilee Policy Platform. Our work for justice continues NOW! #PoorPeoplesCampaign
ACTION GROUP ACTIVITY!

Are you interested in connecting with justice-minded Episcopalians on any of the following issues? EPF is looking for your energy and leadership:

+ Defunding the police
+ Conscientious objectors
+ Nuclear disarmament
+ Voting rights and advocacy
+ Environmental justice
+ Racial justice and reparations

Contact us at epfactnow to be connected!
EPF member and former NEC member, current Fellowship of Reconciliation Board Member, and retired professor of peace studies Ellen Birkett Lindeen of St. Michael’s, Barington, IL, has published a compelling piece in the LA Progressive entitled The Great White Awakening: Health, Wealth and Justice for African Americans. Read it here.
EMM’s third webinar in the Love God, Love Neighbor series yesterday was focused on the administration’s devastating new asylum rule.

Through EMM’s partnership with the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, we are strongly urging all Episcopalians and all people of faith to join the click-to-comment campaign being hosted by CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network). We urge people to submit their own comments.

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Peace Out! Week Seventy-five
#WearOrange for Gun Violence Prevention
THIS SATURDAY! Read on for how you can participate and help the most vulnerable among us to be heard. And, if you still need inspiration, listen to Rev. Dr. William Barber’s sermon at Washington National Cathedral here.

JUNE 12 – Feast of Enmegawboh
Offered by Rev. John Floberg
Standing Rock Sioux Nation
Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota

The difficulty of some celebrations is our desire to recognize the achievement without remembering the resistance. And so it was for Blessed Enmegawboh. Life is complex and the historical context of those we celebrate is complex. That complexity can and often does result in disorientation. The temptation that we have as people is to return to the familiar and back into what, in comparison, were more comfortable times.
Enmegawboh was involved in conflict between nations. The Ojibwa, the Dakota and the Settlers were divided over land and how to live on that land. Their cultures were in conflict. By the time the Minnesota Conflict erupted in the summer of 1862 Enmegawboh was a priest of the Episcopal Church. He was ordained by Bishop Whipple – a man for his time, ahead of his time and yet part of his time.
It was in this conflicted place that Enmegawboh found himself desiring to return to his own people (Ottowa) and leave the stresses of Minnesota. But Whipple had confidence in Enmegawboh. The Bishop sent Chief Rising Sun, of the Ojibwa in the Dakota Territory to him to learn the Lord’s Prayer, the Creeds and how to Keep Track of Sundays. It is that third point that owns my thoughts. Keeping Track of Sundays is really not about the simple use of a calendar. It is about the profound Truth of the Resurrection. That is why the Church keeps itself centered on Sundays. We need the Hope of the Resurrection in order to confront the complexities of each generation lest we become disoriented and attempt to return to the familiar and retreat to what we may think of as more comfortable times.
The story of the resurrection is often about being sent into the midst of conflict. Peace that is the result of crossing the bridge of justice that rights the wrong. Resurrection rights the wrong.

A dedicated, passionate core of Rochester’s Episcopal clergy, including Rt. Rev. Prince Singh, Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester and all of the clergy members of EPF, have been working, thinking, speaking and writing every day in an effort to articulate a response to the murder of George Floyd and the righteous response that has followed. The group held a purposefully small public gathering on the steps of St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene Episcopal Church in downtown Rochester. Click the link here to read their statement and to see the news story. #BlackLivesMatter
Not Peace, but a Sword
A sermon for the Third Sunday after Pentecost
Offered by Hailey Jacobsen
Virginia Theological Seminary

Bringing the Sword of Holy Transformation

I wonder if you’ve ever seen or prayed with Brother Robert Lentz’s icons? They’re a mix of old and new – portraits in stylized Byzantine positions with Latin inscriptions and golden nimbuses encircling the heads of figures like Martin Luther King of Georgia and Harvey Milk of San Francisco or Mary and the Christ child as members of Navajo Nation.

One of my favorite icons of his is called “The Christ of Maryknoll.” It portrays Christ with a dark olive complexion looking through a barbed-wire fence of what we can only assume is some kind of encampment – a prison, a labor or internment camp, or perhaps an immigration holding center. He’s leaning on the fence and peering through at the viewer – with his fingers carefully placed in between the barbs. Both of his palms bear the wounds of crucifixion. One hand silently covers our view of his mouth. The other hand reaches above his head. It’s difficult to look at. Christ’s gaze is haunting – almost like a Rorschach inkblot test. Is his stare coldly accusatory or one of comforting solidarity? Is he on the inside or the outside of the fence? Are we inside or outside? Whichever side he’s on, we’re on the other, and he’s silently calling to us. The barbed wire on which Jesus is leaning is attached to two wooden beams, framing two sides of our view and evoking the cross – a cross between us and Christ. It’s chilling and comforting and undeniably both modern and ancient. It somehow speaks to our long history of human suffering at our own hands.

I discovered this icon as a teenager when I was looking for prayer items that matched my newfound vocabulary that I was learning in a social justice class at my Catholic high school. This icon continues to resonate with me in a way that only finding it during that formative time as a teenager could.

I bought a print of the icon and brought it with me to college. Carefully, with those little 3-M strips, I hung it up next to my giant Bob Dylan poster, a small foot washing icon my church had given me at Confirmation, a colorful, animal-filled Heifer International poster, and the obligatory Van Gogh prints that I soon came to realize that every girl between the ages of 18 and 22 has on her wall. They took their place amid my roommate’s Johnny Cash and Led Zeppelin posters and our suitemates’ Gandhi and The Muppets Take Manhattan prints and picture collages of high school friends.

A couple of weeks later, one of our suitemates hesitantly approached me: “We’ve all gotten together and decided that you need to take down your Jesus poster. It’s creepy and sad, and it weirds us out. It’s nothing but pain and suffering – that’s pretty messed up, and we don’t need to look at it.” Without protest, questioning if it was actually everybody that felt this way, or any conversation at all, I immediately apologized and said that it wasn’t my intention to creep people out. I took the icon down and put it in a drawer. I didn’t want to hurt people, and I especially didn’t want to get the reputation in my first two weeks of college that I was the creepy, weird person with morbid pictures of suffering on the walls. I gave it away a couple of years later.

I wish now that I had kept the icon up or that I had at least shared why I like it and explained: “That’s the point of this icon: to make us uncomfortable. To make us disturbed with oppression and to help us realize that Christ is in every moment of suffering. To help us fight, like Gandhi, for equality and equity – especially when that fight needs to take place in ourselves.”
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
(Matthew 10:34-36)

My example is a small example but an important one (as many small examples are!). Maybe I would have taken the icon down in the end anyway; but, there was a deep and theological conversation – a holy conversation, just waiting there for my suitemates and me. We missed out on it because I wanted these new people to like me, and I was afraid to sit in the discomfort of conflict. When handled respectfully and openly, our holiest insights can come out of the sword of disagreement. I had been Catholic, and the other women I lived with were Methodist, Presbyterian, and Episcopalian. What a fruitful conversation we might have had about social justice, how we view Christ, what crucifixion means to us, and how our personal theologies were formed – a little summit of Christian unity between the four small walls of a cinderblock dorm room.

Opportunities like these – even more important ones, present themselves every day – especially in the areas in our lives around power. Will I live with the false peace and ignore a racist joke – or will I stand, as lovingly and assertively as I can, with the sword of disagreement? Will I let an acquaintance treat a stranger like an object instead of a person beloved by God because of their sex, country of origin, or political party, or will I hold up a mirror? Will I keep my status or will I risk being not as well-liked by making room for someone’s voice when another knowingly or unknowingly tries to silence them?

I think part of the reason that “The Christ of Maryknoll” icon stays with me is because it is so modern – Christ with crucifixion marks standing in one of our current methods of torture and death – of crucifixion. We have many more. Theologian James Cone wrote about the lynching tree as an American cross. Lynching terrorized Black Americans across this nation for decades. The sin of lynching terrorized people where I grew up in Tennessee and where I now live in Virginia – two young Black teenagers in Old Town Alexandria in 1899. Teenagers whose grandchildren would be alive today if they had been allowed to live long enough to have children – members of our community who could have been living next door, worshiping in the same pew, or attending seminary with my classmates and me. And there were many more such murders across Virginia and the whole US – people stopped from inhabiting the fullness of their calls and lives because they were Black. These murders wounded, traumatized, and cut life off from not only those people but also their families and friends. These sins also marred the lives of all those who witnessed and committed them – whether they supported lynching or just stood silently by as it happened. Jesus is on both sides of the fence – with those being oppressed and those oppressing. He is with us in our suffering and trauma, calling to us for the oppression to stop.

As we hear again today in the voices of activists and as we have heard too many times for this to keep happening, the nightmare of lynching across this country still lives with us. The hate that inspired it still courses through our blood, creating school-to-prison pipelines and continuing to murder unarmed Black people whose only crimes are walking home from school, selling loose cigarettes, jogging, or sitting in their home. Our crosses today? We see them on the news day and night, and I have no doubt that if Jesus had come today, we would have crucified him – because we’re crucifying him still: just as you did it to one of the these who are members of my family and who have the forces of earthly power stacked against them, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:40)

It’s deeply disturbing to hear Jesus talk about bringing a sword and conflict among our family and between us and the people we cherish and love most. Isn’t he the healer and teacher of love, the “Father-forgive-them” guy – the one going after the lost sheep? He is, and he brings the sword, too. Too many people, including me, live with the so-called ‘peace’ of this world. We need more truly holy conflict – not exclusion of groups or wars fought in the name of God but respectful, difficult conversations and hard reckonings about our individual identities in this world, how we treat one another, and how we see God. We need reconciliation and transformation. We need true change, and it begins with true listening. It begins with honest conversations that mutually acknowledge our shared humanity and witness the deep suffering of those inside the fence with Jesus – however those suffering choose to say it. We need conversations between Democrats and Republicans. Between Westboro Baptists and Queer Christians. Between those keeping strict quarantine and those entering capital buildings unmasked with assault weapons. Between billionaires and those who make $7.25 an hour. Between those who assert that Black lives matter and those who believe that even to say this somehow diminishes the lives of non-Black persons. Between me and the person who does or believes the thing that I can’t stand, and between you and the person with whom you have difficulty.

The sword does not just bring conflict among families. We can’t stop reading there. Jesus also tells us that the sword makes foes become members of the same household. It gathers us in to one big house – full of holy conflict, full of love, and undeniably linked forever. A sword brings urgency and clarity to where we stand along the fence with Jesus, and it ultimately destroys that fence. Foes become members of the same household. A sword won’t let us avoid the holy conversation, the holy conflict, and the holy transformation. A sword calls us to action, to relationship. The Lord knows our hurting world – our hurting neighbors and selves, need our immediate attention.

The Christ of Maryknoll
Brother Robert Lentz
ACTION GROUP ACTIVITY!

Are you interested in connecting with justice-minded Episcopalians on any of the following issues? EPF is looking for your energy and leadership:

+ Defunding the police
+ Conscientious objectors
+ Nuclear disarmament
+ Voting rights and advocacy
+ Environmental justice
+ Racial justice and reparations

Contact us at epfactnow to be connected!
THIS SATURDAY!
COVID-19 has forced the nation into an unprecedented emergency. The current emergency, however, results from a deeper and much longer-term crisis — that of poverty and inequality, and of a society that has long ignored the needs of 140 million people who are poor or one emergency away from being poor.

In 1968, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others called for a “revolution of values” in America and sought to build a broad movement that could unite poor and dispossessed communities across the country. Today, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has picked up this work. People across the nation have joined under the banner of the Campaign to confront the interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, climate change and ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.
They are coming together to demand that the 140 million poor and low-wealth people in our nation — from every race, creed, gender, sexuality and place — are no longer ignored, dismissed or pushed to the margins of our political and social agenda.

That’s why Episcopal Peace Fellowship is proud to join the Poor People’s Campaign as a mobilizing partner for the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington Digital Justice Gathering, on June 20, 2020. Register to attend as a member of EPF here:
https://actionnetwork.org/forms/rsvp-for-june-20-2020-mass-poor-peoples-assembly-moral-march-on-washington?source=epfnational

Poor People's Campaign Virtual March On Washington
Join EPF on June 20, 2020 for The Poor People’s Moral March on Washington
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Peace Out! Week Seventy-four
#WearOrange for Gun Violence Prevention
TODAY! Have you been urgently looking for a way to connect with other Episcopalians to lead us forward on racial justice in light of recent events? Join us later this afternoon at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time. Please register using this link
Look Me in the Eye

Offered by NEC member Kathy McGregor
Project Director, The Prison Story Project
Fayetteville, AR

I was held up at gunpoint in my driveway by two men wearing ski masks in 1999. What frightened me even more than the gun in my face were the eyes of the man wielding the gun. His stare was blank, soulless…the kind of blankness behind the eyes one might find if encountering a dangerous animal. Shaken and victimized, I was slowly able to get over the shock of what happened and the fear of pulling into my driveway afterwards, but I couldn’t shake the fear I felt when I flashed back to the lack of human to human contact I encountered in my assailant’s eyes that day.

I sought solace and counselling from my pastor at the time. She suggested that I pray for a psychic change and spiritual awakening in my assailant. When she first suggested this, I thought she was crazy and that he didn’t deserve a prayer from me. She gently suggested that she would help me through the first prayer and so, together, we prayed. She asked me to continue that prayer every day and I promised her I would. It was tough to do at first, and I admit I didn’t have a very prayerful attitude when doing so, but eventually – and to my surprise – praying that prayer actually helped with the PTSD I’d been experiencing.

Years later, in May of 2016, I made my first trip to Arkansas’ death row to visit with men who had signed up for storytelling/creative writing with the Prison Story Project, a prison arts ministry I founded in 2012 through St. Paul’s Episcopal Church here in Fayetteville, Arkansas where I live. Our team was given unprecedented access to the men on the row who agreed to participate. They were placed in holding cells on either side of a narrow hallway where we were able to conduct class. Once unshackled, they extended their hands through the bars of the cells to shake ours and introduce themselves as we moved from cell to cell to greet them and hand out pen and paper.

We were able to conduct writing class with them once a month for four hours over a six-month period, spending the time in between following up by US Mail. In October 2016 we made our way back to death row for our final in-person visit to perform their work back to them in the form of a staged reading. We came with 6 actors, a musician, and our creative writing team.

A few months later, in February of 2017, the state of Arkansas announced that it would execute eight men over ten days, just after Easter. Four of the men we served were on that list. We held silent vigils in the chancel of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for each of the eight scheduled executions. Several of us were on our cell phones, following the news on Twitter as last-minute appeals and motions were filed. Two of our participants received last minute stays just before their death warrants expired and two were executed over those ten agonizing days. One of our volunteers said the silent vigils felt like silent screams. In all, four of the eight men scheduled were put to death.

We had our first Prison Story Project board meeting after the executions two months later. We quickly realized that we needed professional counselling after what we had been through. We made an appointment with a kind therapist to help us process our feelings. As our group therapy session began, one of our volunteers told that when he was riding with us on the five-hour drive for our final visit on the row, he admitted he was nervous, as it was his first visit, and he asked if there was one thing he might be able to do that would be of benefit to the men on the row. He said that I spoke up and told him to “look them in the eye.” I had not remembered that until that very moment. Sitting with my team in that therapy session, I had the profound realization that God had answered the prayer I had prayed those many years ago.

Perhaps the victims of some of the men on the row had seen that same blank stare just before their lives were taken. The men we served on the row had been in solitary confinement for twenty plus years. After all those years locked away in a cage from everything except themselves, they found forgiveness and redemption, and their humanity had returned to them. I know this with all my heart. Each month, as we greeted each other, we looked deeply into each other eyes and they often wrote about how important that was to them. They said that our ability to look them in the eye reminded them of their humanity.

Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption says that “each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

I know this to be true for the men I have come to know and love on Arkansas’ death row.

We are reminded by our Baptismal Covenant to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being. We must, therefore, continue to work to abolish state-sanctioned murder as we are called to do by our faith.

Watch this space! Coming soon, your opportunity to see a filmed version of the stage production of "On The Row." EPF National Executive Council member Kathy McGregor will make this impactful film available to our Peace Partner Parishes and Chapters as soon as travel restrictions imposed by reason of the pandemic are alleviated.

Have you been graced with a COVID-19 stimulus check? And are prayerfully pondering how you might share this money in an impactful and much needed way? Please consider sharing your stimulus check to help stimulate EPF’s efforts to eradicate the death penalty with this ambitious new initiative! We plan to focus sharing this "On the Row" film in jurisdictions which have execution as a penalty still on their books, yet have not executed a condemned person in years. Oregon is an example — they have the death penalty, yet no one has been executed since 1962. Jurisdictions like Oregon seem particularly ripe for effective advocacy against the death penalty, and we are hoping to have news of the abolition of this barbaric practice by reason of EPF’s inspiring work towards this goal. Your donation here will support this effort and our other criminal justice reform advocacy initiatives. Thanks for your consideration.

About The Prison Story Project: The Prison Story Project offered incarcerated women and men an opportunity to explore their truths through poetry, creative writing, literature, song-writing, and visual art. Their work was then curated into a staged reading performed by actors and presented first to those on inside prison, and then outside to the community.

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

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

COVID-19 has forced the nation into an unprecedented emergency. The current emergency, however, results from a deeper and much longer-term crisis — that of poverty and inequality, and of a society that has long ignored the needs of 140 million people who are poor or one emergency away from being poor.

In 1968, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others called for a “revolution of values” in America and sought to build a broad movement that could unite poor and dispossessed communities across the country. Today, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has picked up this work. People across the nation have joined under the banner of the Campaign to confront the interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, climate change and ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.
They are coming together to demand that the 140 million poor and low-wealth people in our nation — from every race, creed, gender, sexuality and place — are no longer ignored, dismissed or pushed to the margins of our political and social agenda.

That’s why Episcopal Peace Fellowship is proud to join the Poor People’s Campaign as a mobilizing partner for the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington Digital Justice Gathering, on June 20, 2020. Register to attend as a member of EPF here:
https://actionnetwork.org/forms/rsvp-for-june-20-2020-mass-poor-peoples-assembly-moral-march-on-washington?source=epfnational

Poor People's Campaign Virtual March On Washington
Join EPF on June 20, 2020 for The Poor People’s Moral March on Washington

We have had such an outpouring of admiration for Rev. Will Mebane’s offering in last week’s Peace Out!, that we want to share these as well. First, Will’s Pentecost sermon:

https://youtu.be/POp-NjQvzPg?t=1284

Second, this article from the Cape Cod Times, "Cape Codders of Color are ‘Taking a Stand.’"

https://www.capecodtimes.com/news/20200603/cape-codders-of-color-are-taking-stand

Reminder that June is Episcopal Month of Action:
Register here
In the month of June, join the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations and Episcopal Migration Ministries for Love God, Love Neighbor: Episcopal Month of Action, a series of webinars to learn and advocate with and on behalf of immigrants, DACA recipients, refugees, and asylum seekers.

Newcomers contribute greatly to U.S. communities, enriching our common life, strengthening the U.S. economy, and bringing joy as they join and reunite with families and friends. And yet, immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees face a wide array of challenges, including federal policies and legislation that are outdated and do not address the realities of immigrants in America today. As the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement, we are called to advocate with and for our siblings seeking safety and a better life in the United States.

June 7-13: Episcopal Action on DACA Week
WEBINAR: June 9, 3:30-5:00pm Eastern Time

June 14-20: Episcopal Action on Resettlement Week
WEBINAR: June 16, 3:30-5:00pm Eastern Time

June 21-27: Episcopal Action on Asylum Week
WEBINAR: June 23, 3:30-5:00pm Eastern Time

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