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Peace Out! Week Ninety
How to help save a life.

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

Abu Ali Abdur’Rahman

Dear Episcopal Peace Fellowship:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://vimeo.com/298478335

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

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

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

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

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

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

Protest Chaplaincy Training and Discussion on Faithful Civil Action

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

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

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

Walking with Asylum Seekers:
A Training Series for Congregations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Zealand Prayer Book

Photo credit: Bridget Reeves Tytler
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Peace Out! Week Eighty-nine
ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY!
Join EPF this Saturday for a chance to find some inspiration to engage in advocacy against the death penalty. Read on...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More resources are collected below:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Zealand Prayer Book

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Peace Out! Week Eighty-eight
Rev. James Chisholm, commemorated annually on September 15

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

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

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

Read the full text of Bruce's reflection HERE

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

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

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

Registration for Journey Toward Awareness and Understanding of Anti-Racism is here: https://www.stmichaelsbarrington.org/church-announcements/794-journey-toward-awareness-2020-peace-and-justice-anti-racism
to reserve a spot for any of the evenings. Thanks to EPF Peace Partner Parish St. Michael's-Barrington, IL, for this invitation to join them!
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Peace Out! Week Eighty-seven
Rev. Christy Close Erskine
EPF member and supporter
Sisters, Oregon
The Ability to Protest Peacefully:
A Threatened Right or a Right Threat?
by Rev. Christy Close Erskine

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

Read Christy's full meditation HERE

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

WHAT IS LIFE?

Offered by
Rob Burgess
EPF National Executive Council Treasurer

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

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

Read the full meditation HERE

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

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

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

Roadmap to Apartheid virtual screening and discussion with panelists, flyer below, is set for Sunday, September 13. Register in advance here to join the discussion and watch the film.
EPF NEC Vice Chair, Rev. Will Mebane, is in the news again for his anti-racism advocacy and witness. Read the full story, "Staying in the Struggle: Rev. Will Mebane's Lifelong Stand for Racial Equality" in USA TODAY HERE
St. John's-Boulder, CO, shows love for their neighbor in a quite concrete way: guns are prohibited on their campus. What is preventing your parish from demonstrating dedication to our baptismal call in the same way? Let us know if our Gun Violence Prevention Action Group can help!
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Peace Out! Week Eighty-five
The Mystical Body of Christ
Offered by NEC member
Rev. Cody Maynus
Rector, St. Andrew's-Rapid City, SD

In the little more than two months that I’ve been ordained a priest, I’ve been fortunate enough to celebrate the Eucharist with some frequency, both for my congregation and for visitors to the diocesan camp where I serve as chaplain and program director. (Rest assured, every COVID-19 precaution is in place! Being ordained in the midst of a pandemic has made me hyper-vigilant about the precautions necessary to make liturgy happen during this chaotic time.) A visitor to the camp requested that the Holy Eucharist be celebrated using the prayerbook’s Rite I, which, until that time, I had not had the privilege of celebrating. Although we studied both Rite I and Rite II (and, of course, Enriching Our Worship) in seminary, I decided to prepare to celebrate by reading and praying my way through the text prior to the liturgy.

One phrase from the Rite I liturgy in particular caught my eye and my heart, a line from the Postcommunion Prayer: “Almighty and everliving God, we heartily thank thee for that thou …dost assure us thereby…that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, the blessed company of all faithful people” (BCP, 339.)

This phrase—the “Mystical Body of Christ”—has deep resonance for me, having studied liturgy at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, a major hub for both the Liturgical Movement and the Catholic Peace and Justice Movement of the 20th Century. Although the understanding of the Body of Christ is an ancient one, the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ was popularized by Pope Pius XII, who published an encyclical on the Mystical Body of Christ in 1943, smack dab in the middle of World War II.

At the heart of the encyclical, the pope writes, “But a body calls also for a multiplicity of members, which are linked together in such a way as to help one another. And as in the body when one member suffers, all the other members share its pain, and the healthy members come to the assistance of the ailing, so in the Church the individual members do not live for themselves alone, but also help their fellows, and all work in mutual collaboration for the common comfort and for the more perfect building up of the whole Body.”

As is so often the case historically, young people took these words—and the sentiments undergirding them—and ran with it. The student newspapers of Saint John’s University and the neighboring College of Saint Benedict feature at least one article monthly between 1943 and 1950 featuring a student-writer applying the theology of the Mystical Body of Christ to the realities of the War and the War’s aftermath.

These young people write brilliantly and beautifully on the notion that, in Christ, all people are made one. They reflect on the horrible absurdity of War, of people who are united mystically in Christ’s Body fighting and killing one another. They call on the United States, the nations of the world, and the Church to work for racial justice because, as the pope’s teaching says, “when one member suffers, all the other members share its pain.”

Charlene Gaffney, then a junior at the College of Saint Benedict, writes in December 1941—published days after the United States entered into World War II—“We are concerned about our friends and relatives in the fighting area. We are eager to join Red Cross units, to drive ambulances, to join the Marines! These are the first effects of this catastrophe. But already the insidious trickle of hate has reached us, a hatred not of oppression and injustice and lying alone, but also of the nations against whom we are fighting…Hatred blinds and weakens…Hatred is uncharitable and unchristian. Though we recognize that unjust aggressors must be punished, we must realize that they are members of the Mystical Body with us; we are fighting aggression, not aggressors…”

These young people were not only concerned about the violence done to the Mystical Body of Christ by war, but also by racism and white supremacy. One editorial from May 1944 calls on Christians to resist hatred of any person regardless of race, class, sex, or creed. The author—W. J. D.—cites the work of Catherine De Hueck, a Roman Catholic laywoman, in saying that “the fruit of the Incarnation and the Redempetion is the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God” and “We are all our [siblings’] keeper and have a personal responsibility, therefore, before God, for the welfare of that [sibling] in Christ] and this embraces all [people], irrespective of race, nationality, or color, for Christ died for all.”

What does this have to do with us, however? Right here and right now, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, surrounded, as we are, by global instability, civil unrest in the streets of our cities and towns, and a pandemic which has shifted our very way of being?

As the Postcommunion Prayer from the Holy Eucharist Rite I says: we give thanks to God in the Eucharist for reminding us that we are members of the Mystical Body of Christ. During this period of anxiety—when most parishes have not celebrated the Eucharist physically together since mid-March; when protester file into the streets crying for respect for Black lives; when those “who hold authority in the nations of the world” are of questionable credibility—we are reminded that it is the Eucharist which unites us together and calls us to work for justice and peace in the world, in our cities and towns, and, indeed, even in our own hearts.

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship does not do what it does out of a commitment to a political agenda, but rather out of a commitment to the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. We are Christians following in a long and steady stream of contemplatives-in-action: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry; Bishop Barbara Harris; Ruby Sales and Blessed Jonathan Myrick Daniels; John Nevin Sayre; Bishop Paul Jones; Blessed Enmegahbowh; Blessed Absalom Jones; and countless others.

When one part of the Mystical Body of Christ suffers due to war or oppression; due to racism or white supremacy; due to gun violence in streets and in schools; due to human trafficking; or due to any other thing which threatens the body, the mind, or the soul, the whole Body suffers. We, as Episcopalians and Christians, are tasked with a ministry of reconciliation. When some among us hurt, we all hurt. And we all must, therefore, take responsibility in the work of healing and reconciliation.

How will you—like those young people writing in central Minnesota in the 1940s—call on your community to engage in this work? How will you ask the difficult questions of your parish, diocese, city, state, and nation? How will you examine your own hearts and consciences?

The good news is that you’re not alone in this work. The Episcopal Peace Fellowship—together with agencies throughout the Anglican Peace and Justice Network—stand by to help you in engaging God’s mission of wholeness in the Mystical Body of Christ. For more information about ways you can actively engage with us, contact Melanie Merkle Atha at epfactnow.

Monday, September 21, 2020 is International Day of Peace! How does your Peace Partner Parish or Chapter acknowledge this day? We'd love to highlight your activities, particularly any virtual celebrations which can be shared with the rest of us so we can be a part of it. Send links to your International Day of Peace event so we can promote them for you here in Peace Out. epfactnow
EPF MAINE
COLLABORATES WITH
MOMS DEMAND ACTION
Report of meeting of Maine EPF chapter with Maine chapter of Moms Demand Action,
submitted by Kathy Coughlan (edited for EPF publication):

The two groups met over their shared opposition to gun violence.

Moms was founded after the Sandy Hook school shooting. Now there is a branch in every state, a total of 6 million supporters nationally. They don't pay dues, but ask members to donate to their sister organization, Everytown for Gun Safety. Everytown has frequent video presentations on gun violence prevention by a variety of people that can be used to draw people together around opposing gun violence.

Moms pursues two types of activities: 1) Education and Outreach, and 2) Legislative/political work, which is supporting "gun sense" candidates in state and national elections

The education program is called "Be SMART for Kids," which stands for Secure guns, Model Responsible behavior, Ask about the presence of guns in homes you visit, Recognize the role of guns in suicide, Tell others about the program.

The legislative work involves keeping records of candidates who support gun safety laws. They send out questionnaires to candidates and monitor voting records. Anyone can look up their state's results on gunsensevoter.org.

In 2016, the Gun Sense campaign in Virginia helped flip the legislature and brought about new, sensible gun laws.

In summary, this is a very organized, proactive group. I think they are a good organization for EPF to collaborate with; our members can look them up in their own state. They are very willing to give presentations and answer any questions.

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

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

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

A Prayer by W.E.B. Dubois

In the solemn silence of this Thy Holy night, O Heavenly Father,
let the Christ spirit be born anew in this our home and in this land of ours.
Out of the depths of selfishness and languor and envy, let spring the spirit of humility and poverty, of gentleness and sacrifice—the eternal dawn of Peace, good-will toward men.
Let the birth-bells of God call our vain imaginings back from pomp and glory and wealth—back from the wasteful warships searching the seas—back to the lowly barn-yard and the homely cradle of a yellow and despised Jew, whom the world has not yet learned to call Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. Amen.

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Peace Out! Week Eighty-four

Seeing as Peacemaking
Offered by NEC member
Rt. Rev. Dan Edwards

Unless these people are to be exterminated in a genocidal war or an endless guerrilla insurrection, they must be converted. And no one can show others the error that is within them . . . unless they are convinced that their critic first sees and loves the good that is within them. -- Walter Wink citing Thomas Merton

Premise: before one can be a peacemaker, one must become a person of peace.

You have seen it happen. Someone honks their horn, shouts obscenities, acts aggressively – sometimes prompted by injustice; other times by some inconvenience or afront to their sense of self-importance. The people around them catch the passion like a virus and either join in or react against the instigator. There is never any shortage of blasting cap people to make violence explode. Violence is such a common way of being in the world that it is hard for any of us to be otherwise. In the face of this way of the world, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” You have also seen this. The room is full of turmoil and tumult. But someone enters the room bringing a balance, an equanimity, and the volume lowers, the tension loosens, people begin to breathe. Peacemaking begins with being people of peace. But how is it possible? How do we become people of peace?

Peacemaking has clear political implications challenging all forms of systemic violence, injustice, and oppression. But in itself, peacemaking is a spirituality before it is a political agenda. Any political agenda for peace and justice not grounded in such a spirituality is doomed. So, the first step – which must be taken again and again each day – is to become people of peace. “Peace before us, Peace behind us, Peace under our feet. Peace within us. Peace over us. Let all around us be peace.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pevH0Ez6bms

Such a spirituality of peace includes prayer, reflection, and disciplined acts of mercy. But first, it begins with seeing. Peace begins with how we look at reality including each other. In The Art Of Attention: A Poet’s Eye, poet, literary critic, and translator Donald Revell (an Episcopalian whose first literary influence was the Book of Common Prayer) says that to simply see things as they are is an act of obedience. I do not think he would hesitate to say it is an obedience to God. “Attention,” Revell says, “is an act of obedience informed and/or inspired by faith.” He contrasts this with the aggression of seeing reality through our own agendas.

Aggression is always predicated on fantasy; it is the imagination’s preemptive strike upon sovereign facts whose reality it refuses to concede, much less to worship. To
see the sovereignty of what is seen is quietly, really to worship. And to articulate such worship in a poem Wages Peace.

He goes on to say that there is a kind of ego-transcendence, not in a mystical state but a clear-eyed appreciation of the Reality before us – setting aside the “I” to allow the “eye” to really see. I would add that setting aside our anxious/aggressive assertion and defense of the “I” is possible only through faith that our existence and ultimate well-being is grounded in God, and God is not at risk. Faith allows us to see, to appreciate, and so become people of peace capable of waging peace in a world whose way is war. In classical moral theology, such clear-eyed, unbiased seeing is called prudentia and it was regarded as “the mother of all virtues.”

Perhaps the greatest poem expressing this truth is The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge whose day job was being an Anglican Theologian. He also wrote the best English book of theology in his day, Confessions Of An Inquiring Mind. https://www.amazon.com/Samuel-Taylor-Coleridges-Confessions-Inquirer/dp/1780009356 .The Ancient Mariner is about the spiritual journey of a young sailor who, through his own act of aggression, was left alone on a ship lost at sea. His aggression was the killing of an albatross that was hung about his neck by his fellow sailors before they all died leaving him alone on a “rotting sea,” and unable to pray, his “heart as dry as dust.” His epiphany was a vision of what could have been terrifying, but wasn’t.

Beyond the shadow of the ship,
I watched the water-snakes:
They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire:
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware:
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.

The self-same moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.

We are at odds in the world. We who perceive ourselves as seeking peace set ourselves against those we see as seeking all manner of injustice and oppression, and they look to us like Coleridge’s water snakes. We are right to take our stand. But as Walter Wink and Thomas Merton taught us, “No one can show others the error that is within them . . . unless they are convinced that their critic first sees and loves the good that is within them.” Dr. Martin Luther King followed Jesus teaching to love our enemies. He said that “in seeking to love his enemy (one must first) discover the element of good in his enemy, and every time you begin to hate that person and think of hating that person, realize that there is some good there and look at those good points which will over-balance the bad points.” This is not a matter of tolerating the intolerable or passivity in the face of evil. It is a matter of “respecting the dignity of every human being” no matter how wrong headed, enraged, and ornery.

Becoming people of peace within ourselves, in our personal relationships, and in the public life takes prayer, discipline, and first of all a willingness to see the pain and fear that lie behind the aggression of others and then to find the imago dei in them. That willingness is possible only if we can set aside the “I” in order to allow the “eye” to see as God sees, into the heart.

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 EPF members, Peace Partner Parishes and Chapters via Zoom on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 4:30 pm Eastern/1:30 pm Pacific. Tickets available on Classy for a $30 contribution to EPF. Check the link here for video previews of this compelling work.
About The Prison Story Project: The Prison Story Project offered incarcerated women and men an opportunity to explore their truths through poetry, creative writing, literature, song-writing, and visual art. Their work was then curated into a staged reading performed by actors and presented first to those on inside prison, and then outside to the community.

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

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

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.

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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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