NEC members at St. Timothy’s, Littleton, CO at the April, 2019 NEC meeting: Rev. Bob Davidson, Rev. Kay Houck, Bob Lotz, Melanie Atha, Maryann Philbrook and Ellen Lindeen
Renewing the Vision of EPF
As We Turn 80
By Rev. Bob Davidson, Chair, EPF National Executive Council
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
The prophet Joel rang through our Episcopal parishes this past Sunday just as the National Executive Council was preparing to gather in Providence, Rhode Island to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the founding of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship on November 11 (Armistice Day), 1939.
Within EPF are sons and daughters who have relentlessly chosen to dream dreams and see visions of the new creation where another prophet, Isaiah proclaimed, “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore”.
It is not enough for the Episcopal Peace Fellowship to proudly claim 80 years of inspired witness to the vision of our founders who stood strong in a nation healing from the “war to end all wars” to provide a safe haven for those conscientiously opposing war. This vision for 80 years has prophetically spoken to a church and a world often bent on fanning the flames of white supremacy and privilege, sanctioning state sponsored violence, and equating blind patriotism with love of country and faith.
It is not enough for the Episcopal Peace Fellowship to lift up to the church and the world models of members and Chapters and Peace Partner parishes who live out our mission to do justice, dismantle violence and strive to be peacemakers.
It is not enough that for 80 years EPF has worked to engage young adults to create the next generation of peacemakers through pilgrimages and a presence at the last 6 General Conventions. For 80 years EPF has tirelessly resisted gun violence and its earlier forms now with an Action Group leading our witness through advocacy, public witness and partnering with other GVP groups. For 80 years the commitment of EPF to abolish capital punishment has captured the energies of countless members to stand vigil, to give testimony and to cast light on the blatant racism of those sentencing people to death. For 80 years EPF has mobilized its members and chapters, now through the Palestine Israel Network, to humanize communities and persons as brothers and sisters within occupied areas targeted with our own nation’s complicity to marginalize and colonize in Palestine and regions of the Middle East. For 80 years EPF has been guided by a vision to unwaveringly illuminate the underlying justification for corporate, community and relationship violence to be spawned from racism and poverty which has marked this year’s anniversary commemoration pilgrimage for racial reconciliation.
As the national chair of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, I call on all of our membership, any who are committed to the work of peace and justice and those who claim a relationship with the Episcopal Church to renew a NEW VISION for this beloved organization. Where might we be called to DO JUSTICE now in this time of injustice and inequity? Where would you encourage EPF to DISMANTLE VIOLENCE in a time when children fear going to school and refugees are turned back from our borders to face certain death in their homeland? As we STRIVE TO BE PEACEMAKERS what vision would you bring that will propel our work in the next years of our existence.
May this November 11th cause us to be discontent and indignant rather than restful and satisfied with where we’ve come in our history. Join with the leadership of the National Executive Council and those coming for our Pilgrimage Toward Racial Reconciliation in Providence, Rhode Island. If you are unable to be there in person, I urge you to support our work with your prayer and gifts at: https://www.classy.org/event/year-of-action-pilgrimage-for-racial-reconciliation/e249556
An invitation from
EPF NEC Chair,
Rev. Bob Davidson
Year of Action Celebrations in
Bristol and Providence,
80th Anniversary Commemoration!
Sunday, November 10, 2019
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
399 Hope Street
A Commemoration of Witness
4:30 PM Evensong
Preacher: Rt. Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown
Bishop of Vermont
Celebrant: Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely
Bishop of Rhode Island
Followed by A Celebration of Peace
5:30 PM Fundraiser
Swing Band, Wine, Beer & Soft Drinks,
Hors D’oeuvres & Silent Auction
Monday, November 11, 2019
Center for Reconciliation
271 North Main Street
9:00 – 11:00 AM
Benefit Street’s Mile of History
sponsored by Center for Reconciliation
11:30 – 12:30
Keynote & Panel Discussion
12:30 – 2:30 PM
Byron Rushing, Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1983-2019, Vice President,
House of Deputies, The Episcopal Church
Representatives of Racial Reconciliation Ministries,
Province I, ECUSA
Sunday Fundraiser: $60
Monday events including lunch: $30
All events Sunday and Monday: $80
Sunday Fundraiser: $35
Monday events including lunch: $10
All events Sunday and Monday: $40
It is with great sadness that EPF shares the news of the death of member Thomas G. Bias. Thomas, of Flanders, NJ died peacefully at home following a long illness on October 17, 2019 surrounded by his wife and daughter. He is survived by his wife, Linda Bryk, also of Flanders, NJ; his daughter, Fiona Kyle, of Astoria, NY; his younger sister, Nancy Nicholson, of Towson, MD; and his younger brother, George Bias, of Maricopa, AZ. Thomas was predeceased by his first daughter, Sarah Bryk-Bias, and his parents, Guy and Wilma Bias. Our prayers are will all who love him.
Thomas was born in January 1950 in Tulsa, OK. His family left in 1952 and eventually settled in Baltimore, MD where he grew up. He attended the Gilman School in Baltimore and graduated in 1967. In his high school years, he tutored at-risk youth in English and saw first-hand the tribulations they faced, which permanently affected him. Thomas then attended Amherst College in MA, where he graduated with a BA in English Literature in 1971. It was at college that his political activism was ignited, and he tore through the library to learn about issues regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That led him to discover Socialism and set him on a path he would follow for the rest of his life.
Thomas was a lifelong activist and political organizer. He was strongly anti-war and first worked to protest the Vietnam War and continued to oppose and protest all wars that followed. He was a stalwart believer in mankind, peace and justice, and in God. In college, he joined the Young Socialist Alliance and was invited to join the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) after moving to New York City. He remained with the SWP until 1979, and later joined the Fourth Internationalist Tendency (FIT). In 2010, he helped develop what became known as the Labor Fightback Network and was active with them until shortly before he passed. In 2014, he returned to the Episcopal church of his youth.
Inspired by his Oklahoma heritage, and other native son Woody Guthrie, he picked up the 12-string guitar in 1963. He played and sang throughout his life, and it brought him and others great joy. He sang with various groups including The Solidarity Singers of the NJ IUC, and was the organist and choir director of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Succasunna, NJ. He was proud of the songs that he wrote to speak up against injustice as well as the poetry he wrote in his youth. His songs will be a testament to his beliefs and will leave a legacy of hope for the future of the working class.
Thomas began working as a printer in the typographical trade in 1971. He was a proud member of the International Typographical Union. He worked at Arrow Typographers in Newark, NJ for fourteen years and also worked with other typesetting companies, specializing in foreign languages. Until recently, he worked as a Legal Secretary with Bennet D. Zurofsky, Attorney at Law, previously of Newark, NJ. Tom asked that any memorials be made to Episcopal Peace Fellowship: https://give.classy.org/giveEPF
Our upcoming schedule:
Looking forward, EPF will be in:
Nov. 2-3: St. Luke’s, Altoona, PA
Nov. 9-11: EPF 80th Anniversary, Bristol and Providence, RI
Nov. 21-23: Borderland Ministry Summit, St. Philip’s in the Hills, Tucson, AZ
Dec. 4: National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence (TBD)
Dec. 22: National Day of Reparations (FOR) TBD
Are you near any of our planned stops and want to visit? Just shout! Steven and I are planning to spend the winter in the southwest, heading up through California and then into Oregon and Washington. We will come back east in time for our NEC meeting in Detroit in April, 2020. To schedule a visit, contact me at epfactnow.
Until next time,
power to the peaceful!
View of Hebron, Palestine, as seen from
the offices of Youth Against Settlements
(more on my pilgrimage to Palestine in the coming weeks)