We are a wide network of peacemakers who engage with issues in the US and internationally.
Our call is to be movers and shakers within the PC(USA) and beyond, encouraging one another to take seriously God’s call to God’s people to participate in God’s nonviolent work of love, peace, and justice in the world.
The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship started in the 1940s as a group that provided support to Conscientious Objectors to World War II, a war in which objection was quite unpopular. Since our birth we have continued to be a prophetic voice in our church, urging the abolition of war and encouraging our sisters and brothers to enact peace in the midst of our broken world. We have helped lead the PC(USA) to take bold stances in the face of violence.
• Ending gun violence in the United States
• Accompanying partners in the work for peace in Colombia and along the U.S.-Mexico border
• Working to promote peace in Palestine and Israel by supporting Palestinian rights and a Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)
• Mobilizing for climate justice as an issue of peacemaking, including promoting divestment from fossil fuels in the PC(USA)
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
… neither shall they learn war any more.
— Micah 4:3
… all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
— Matthew 26:52
The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship recommits itself to opposing all war. We maintain that the realism of Jesus is more compelling than the so-called realism that attempts to justify war.
The ever-growing destructive power of war threatens to destroy civilization and many forms of life on earth. To avoid that fate and to build peace requires the repudiation of war. It requires not learning war—not learning to think in warlike ways. Instead, it requires learning and practicing nonviolent methods for resisting aggression and injustice. These requirements flow from the nonviolent life of Jesus Christ and from the scriptural affirmation that God is love.
We condemn military action by any party to a conflict, holding it to be usually counter-productive and always contrary to the Christian gospel. We call upon churches and ethicists to reject “just war” theory. It is a trap that has too long ensnared the consciences of Christians. However admirable its principles may be, no real war can adhere to them.
We believe that God calls us to adopt a “preferential option” for the poor and the powerless. We see nonviolence not merely as having value as an end in itself but also as a strategy of direct action against poverty, racism, degradation of the environment and other forms of “structural violence.”
We call upon all Christian communities, in particular our own Presbyterian Church (USA), to embrace gospel nonviolence as the only stance consistent with Christian discipleship. We invite all persons of good will, and especially followers of Jesus, to work with us in projects aimed at building peace. The making of peace requires no less courage and self-sacrifice than does the making of war.
Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem because it did not know “the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:41-43). Our calling is to study the things that do make for peace, to put them into action, and to summon others to do the same.
We proclaim this message of hope for a world transformed.
Developed by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship’s National Committee – Holy Week 2015
The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship started in the early 1940’s to provide support for Presbyterians who were conscientious objectors during the Second World War. In the 1950’s PPF worked to oppose the development of nuclear weapons. During the 60’s and the 70’s, our members were doing draft resistance counseling and working to end the war in Vietnam. In the 1980s PPF was one of the founding organizations of the US-Soviet Bi-Lateral Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, leading the PC(USA) to become the first major church to endorse the proposal. In the 1990’s PPF’s work included the Jubilee 2000-Third World Debt Relief. Throughout the last couple of decades, PPF members have also shown a great commitment to dealing with gun violence and landmines.
Since the late 1990’s, though, there has been a marked change in the PPF. Slowly, our language has shifted to an emphasis on nonviolent direct action, and we’ve begun to make it clear that our desire is to be known not for our words, but for our invitation to all Presbyterians and followers of Jesus who believe that we must take action together to create the peace that we long for in our world.
In 1980, members of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship were instrumental in encouraging the Presbyterian General Assembly to pass the document called “Peacemaking: The Believers’ Calling”, which initiated the annual Peacemaking Offering in many churches, and established the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the denomination. More than twenty-five years later, we work very closely with the PPP. Often our role as the PPF is to push the denomination to new and bolder policies and actions on behalf of peace, while the PPP works within the policies of the denomination. We’re pleased to count the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian denominational offices in Washington and at the UN among our most important Presbyterian partners.
In addition to these Presbyterian partners, we are honored to work with a wide community of partners who share a commitment to nonviolence, such as Christian Peacemaker Teams, Eyewitness Palestine, Friends of Sabeel North America, Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the Latin America Working Group. Our accompaniment program partners with the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia and the Centro de Atención al Migrante “Exodus”, who request accompaniment in Colombia and in Agua Prieta, Sonora (Mexico).
The truth is that our core convictions haven’t changed much over the years. From supporting pacifists in their claim for conscientious objection sixty years ago to supporting nonviolent direct action in situation of conflict today, our first commitment is to follow the Prince of Peace.