Iraq

"In the Name of Jesus, Stop the War!"

Three hundred Christians worship and witness together, twenty arrested in an act of nonviolent direct action in front of the White House, as President Obama held his “100 Days” press conference inside.

Rev. Lennox Yearwood addresses those gathered for the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq

As more than three hundred Christians worshipped together at National City Christian Church in Washington on Wednesday night, April 29, they heard a rousing call from Tony Campolo to put an end to the war in Iraq. Campolo shared the story of the fourth century Monk Telemachus who was martyred when he entered the Coliseum in Rome during the fights of the gladiators and demanded “In the name of Jesus, Stop.” After he was killed, a hush fell over the crowd and the Coliseum slowly emptied. The tradition of Gladiators fighting for sport had come to an end. Campolo suggested that, similarly, Christians who take the Bible seriously must be prepared to take the greatest personal risks as they demand, “In the name of Jesus, stop the war.”

Join the Witness!

The Christian Peace Witness for Iraq is happening in Washington, D.C. April 29th!

On the 100th day of the new administration, join us in the nation’s capital for witness and worship and nonviolent action to call on the new president and Congress to end the war and occupation in Iraq, support a comprehensive peace process, end the policy and practice of torture and meet human needs at home.

There are ways to be involved whether or not you can be with us in Washington. Please visit christianpeacewitness.org and join your voice to the witness!

Update/Lodging for Christian Peace Witness for Iraq

Plans are in the final stages for the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq worship and action to end the War in Iraq, to be held in Washington DC on April 29th and 30th!!!

Peace & Justice Hymns

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

This website has all of Carolyn's 150+ hymns:
http://www.carolynshymns.com/

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.

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.

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