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Peace Out! Week Ninety-one
Domestic Violence Awareness
Offered by EPF NEC member
and Gun Violence Prevention Action Group Convener,
There are several kinds of gun violence that Episcopal Peace Fellowship is working to prevent. One, obviously, is suicide – in any “normal” year, about 2/3 of gun deaths are suicides. Another is the assault turned deadly by the presence of a gun, especially in domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And mass shootings, in which a man – virtually always a man – takes his anger against others into a crowd of innocents, are a horrible product of our gun-crazed society.
But this month I want us to think also about the possibility of political gun violence. We have a history of it in this country, most notably the rebel guns firing on Fort Sumter to launch the Civil War, and the assassin’s gun that murdered President Lincoln after its end. Today, we are facing a slow simmering of this violence… and we may be about to experience even more of it in the wake of next month’s election.
I worry because we do not seem to have a plan in place to deal with this. We are simply in denial that the election’s outcome could devolve into widespread violent conflict. It reminds me of hearing Chris Hedges, former NY Times war correspondent talk of being in Sarajevo shortly before the siege began, and in Kosovo just before the Serbian assault on the Albanians: in both cases, he said, the people there believed that widespread violence was impossible in their society, things would calm down. Yet within weeks they were caught in conflicts that raged and required outside intervention.
Here is a story from someone who lived through the violence in Sri Lanka, comparing it to the situation in 2020 US. She describes awful violence… but also going to pool parties and movies in the same days. Kind of like how we have violent attacks on anti-racism demonstrators in a few cities, and Covid death all over, but most of us continue our everyday lives. We are so close to violence in the upcoming election season, but we are already inured to the death of over 200,000 of our fellow Americans from the pandemic. How far are we from being able to accept death from conflict?
We have seen “law enforcement” agencies encourage violent right-wing shooters in Kenosha. We saw them used as the President’s private militia for his re-election propaganda in Portland and at an Episcopal church in D.C. They stood aside as neo-Nazis attacked clergy and others in Charlottesville. They show up in kevlar vests with military-grade equipment and provoke protesters with tear gas, water hoses and truncheons. Is it a good idea to count on them?
It is not the place of the EPF to produce a “plan” for dealing with political violence. It is beyond the scope of a GVP group. But certainly there should be preparations, and prayers. Some of them are outlined here, in an article from Waging Nonviolence. May we find we did not need to fear this; but may we also not be surprised.
We hope you will join our Gun Violence Prevention Action Group monthly call, each month on the first Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. Email Bob Lotz at bob.lotz.epf to request the Zoom link.
Prayers for Peace Sabbath
A liturgy for
Sunday, November 15
in commemoration of
Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s
81 years of social justice
advocacy and action
Watch this space
WPWP Daily Prayer online at 8pm London (3pm New York) for 30 mins
It runs from Sunday, October 11 to Sunday, October 18.
In October, 1974, the Week of Prayer for World Peace was launched. It was an Anglican Peace Fellowship (APF) initiative and began with a letter to the then Archbishop of Canterbury. From the beginning it has been a multi-faith activity. The first Chair of WPWP was the late Dr. Edward Carpenter, former Dean of Westminster Abbey, and he laid the guiding principle of the Week in these words “The peace of the world must be prayed for by the faiths of the world”.
Each year a leaflet of prayers is produced, which can be used throughout the year. To request a copy, please email epfactnow.
There are ‘themes’ for each day in the week and this year include: Peace Education, Nonviolence, Remembering the end of WW2, the United Nations, Environment and Security, Leadership for Reconciliation and the Pandemic. There is also a section of prayers for young people.
To support the week, APF will be holding prayer sessions each day (Monday, 12 October to Saturday 16 October). While the time in London is 8 pm, it will be 3 pm on the US East Coast. The same zoom link applies to each day.
Our prayers for peace continue to be so needed in a world that seems more divided and violent than ever.
It’s not too late to help our brother, Abu Ali Abdur’Rahman, in his fight against his death sentence. Watch "You Don’t Know Me" today, October 7 and vote for it to receive an Audience Award. Link to purchase a ticket is here.
The Basics of Faith-Based Public Advocacy
A Mini-Series offered by the Public Theology Network
Tuesdays in October, 6 pm Eastern / 5 pm Central
(Oct. 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th)
Join us via Zoom for a mini-series called “The Basics of Faith-Based Public Advocacy.” Register here to attend any or all of the events. They will be recorded for later viewing, also.
Session I. How to be an Advocate – October 6
Mr. Alan Yarborough, Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations, will begin our conversation about the role of advocacy in the broader framework of engaging the wider world, carrying our faith out through action. This will include tips for engaging in advocacy and the role of relationship-building between the Church and government officials, as well as civic participation. He will also review the role of the Office of Government Relations and how people can get involved through the Episcopal Public Policy Network.
Session II. Moses and Jesus as Public Theologians – October 13
The Rev. Dr. Marcia Ledford is the convener of the Public Theology Network. During this session, she will help us explore our call to public advocacy through the Call of Moses and his role in the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and Jesus’s public call to mission on the Road to Emmaus and in the breaking of the bread. Through this lens, we will be grounded in a firm biblical foundation in why we do public advocacy, what our call is, and that we believe it to be both important and doable as an ongoing process.
Session III. "Can I say that?": Religious Speech, the First Amendment and your 501(c)3 Status – October 20
Learn about what the "separation of church and state" means. We’ll explore the relationship of religious speech (by churches and individuals) and the First Amendment. We will touch on the following topics:
1) Church advocacy for social justice;
2) Individual faith-based advocacy in various forms;
3) Using Zoom groups, we will look at IRS case scenarios;
4) The six protections of the First Amendment.
Session IV. What does the world really think about the U.S.? – October 27
The Rt. Rev. Doug Sparks, Bishop of Northern Indiana, will share a compelling story about how the USA is perceived from other places around the world, based on his life-altering experiences in New Zealand. This will lead us into an engaging conversation around racism in the USA.
Online October 4 –
November 3, 2020
The ninth annual Witness Palestine Film Festival is scheduled for October 4 – November 3. With no or very limited access this year to our traditional venues of The Little Theatre and St. John Fischer College, the festival will be online. In this new format, we plan to make four films available via the web at no charge. This year’s films offer perspectives on Palestine/Israel through a variety of lenses: historical; shared heart-felt personal experiences of former Israeli soldiers and of American Jews encountering first-hand the realities of Palestinian life under Israeli occupation; and the stories of Arab Americans in Brooklyn seeking a political voice. Film titles, dates, registration information, and other details may be found at WitnessPalestineRochester.org.
St. Michael’s-Tucson, AZ
takes a prayerful stand
at wall site near Sasabe
On September 15, Anita Rowlands, Karen Moritz, and Ila Abernathy, joined by long-term Guatemala Project and parish friends Dorothy Chao and Kathleen McLaughlin, were present for the second day of a five-day "Resist the Wall: Strengthen the Spirit" interfaith action event arranged by support groups in Arivaca. The site, about 4 miles east of Sasabe, was approached by bumping along dirt roads to a section of "enhanced" wall, 30 feet high, now crossing the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.
A South Dakota firm, hired by a construction company with White House cronies, is responsible for security at the wall. The guard was overly cautious until he realized the 22 of us were not crazed protesters rushing across the construction road at once. He proceeded to monitor traffic, cross us safely, and still have friendly conversations with several of us.
Wall sections are simultaneously under construction from west of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Quitobaquito Springs, at the San Pedro River, and through threatened water sources on the San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge, in an attempt to seal off the entire Arizona border except for the section that divides the Tohono O’odham Nation. Environmental, spiritual, moral, and humanitarian consequences are staggering, as well as "funnel effect" consequences for the Tohono O’odham, whose cultural home encompasses Sonoran desert on both sides of the present international boundary.
At the wall, Ila was able to read the English-language portion of "Ka:cim Su:dagi," a poem about sacred waters by Ofelia Zepeda, which begins in O’odham and ends with these lines:
Toward it we extend only good thoughts
Toward it we extend only good feelings
Toward it we extend kinship
We touched this laying water
and then we left it alone.
So far, events have been homespun, determined and affirmative. We were glad we were present, and happy to support the Arivaca groups in their peaceful resistance.