Israel Palestine + Iraq + Iran + Afghanistan

Peace & Justice Hymns

The following hymns were written by PPF member Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.

This website has all of Carolyn's 150+ hymns:

Christian Peace Witness for Iraq: April 29-30

No Purple Finger for You

Greetings All,

On Saturday, the Team went to Khanaqin, in Diyala Province, as election observers. Tens of thousands of Kurds have been denied the right to vote, something not reported much, if at all, in the west. As I read reports of the 'successful' election, so-called due to the lack of violence, the thought I had was that an election is a success not by the things missing, but by the things present, such as access for all. The situation for the Kurds here reminds me of the shameful history in the United States, where African Americans were denied access to the ballot box by all kinds of 'legal' maneuvering - the literacy tests being just one example. We stood in the middle of a peaceful demonstration by hundreds of Kurds, as they showed us their documentation which should have allowed them to vote, but did not, because they simply did not exist on the voter rolls. Killing your political enemy is one way to 'disappear' him. Erasing him from any access to the political process is another. Many Kurds have effectively been disappeared. The short story which follows is a copy of a press release we sent all over. Thus far, only my hometown paper has shown any interest.

-Beth Pyles

"What Choice Did They Have?"

This is the question a team friend recently posed to me. Story after story poured out of her: the litany of violence and injustice under Saddam was unrelenting. She is a Kurd and her people have suffered greatly in Iraq.

Family and friends killed in horrific ways for no reason save their existence, many resort to violence as the answer. Her question is the punctuation mark to their revenge and it is rhetorical.

This is a common view in Iraq: when it comes to violence, we are a people without choice.

What am I to say in response? That there is always a choice? That violence begets violence? That the oppressed are as likely to exact revenge rather than justice as their oppressors?

Travel Light

Beth Pyles is a Presbyterian pastor who was awarded the 2007 Peaceseeker Award for her service with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq. She has recently returned to Iraq, and the following is her first newsletter:

Preparing for the trip to Kurdistan, I carefully gathered all I would need: sleeping bag, warm clothing, extra wool socks, my pillow, books to read and a headlamp to read them by, along with the usual toothbrush, soap, shampoo, etc., etc., etc.

But I also gathered what was given to me to take: gifts from another team mate for friends; Emergen-C (the vitamin C supplement to help stave off colds); hand-made wool gloves; scarves for me and for gifts; first aid supplies; and of course, The Gospel (according to Dr. Seuss).

But alas, my first week in Iraq did not have the privilege of being enjoyed in the company of my luggage. It seems that while I was getting settled in Iraq, my suitcases were enjoying extended visits to New York City, Paris, and Amman, Jordan.

It's Not the Bombing

by Noushin (Darya-Bandari) Framke, an Iranian-American Presbyterian

This Fourth of July was the 20th anniversary of my U.S. citizenship. We could have had a great party, as we have a perfect view of our town’s fireworks from our patio. But with the drumbeat to war with Iran reaching a crescendo, and being an Iranian-American, I had little to celebrate.

PPF's GA Summary

PC(USA) takes strong action for peace.

As divisions around issues of sexuality continue to dominate conversations in the wake of the 218th General Assembly of the PC(USA), our church has demonstrated remarkable unity in its collective call to peacemaking. In fact, on many issues there was such consensus among commissioners that little or no discussion was offered in plenary sessions. We want to highlight the many ways our denomination adopted policies that will strengthen its larger witness for peacemaking in our broken world.

Urge Congress: Talk, Not War, with Iran

From the PC(USA) Washington Office

Contact Your Representative

The dangerous climate created by the current tensions between the United States and Iran could lead to war. Both governments need to commit to diplomatic talks to ease the tensions and reduce the likelihood of armed conflict.

Assembly calls for peacemaking in Israel/Palestine

Photo of a large room with rows of people seated at tables. Speakers stand on a stage in front of a large screen at the front of the room.
The Committee on Peacemaking and International Issues reported on Latin American issues on Friday afternoon. Photo by Joseph Williams

SAN JOSE, June 27, 2008 — Commissioners to the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) “stayed the course” of being peacemakers around the world. The Assembly called for “responsibly” bringing the troops home from Iraq, continuing peacemaking in Israel and Palestine and supporting human rights in Zimbabwe, the Philippines, North Korea and Colombia.

Issues concerning peace, as it relates to the Middle East and other crisis areas of the world, took the majority of the committee’s time during deliberations earlier this week. Their mindful discernment helped the full General Assembly to move business quickly and collaboratively. As a result, the full assembly quickly passed overtures that affirmed immediate food aid to North Korea, civil rights accompaniment to citizens of Colombia and a careful approach to peacemaking in Israel and Palestine.