For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 21)
At 75 years old, PPF continues to be a body of Christ in action. The different parts of PPF that make up our body as a whole–Gun Violence Prevention, Fossil Free PCUSA, Accompaniment, and more–have been on the move in recent weeks. What connects us is that at the heart of the body of PPF is a commitment to nonviolence, the lifeblood of all our work.
The mass shootings of the past weekend have been yet another reminder of why this work is still so necessary, why the world continues to need people like you–because weapons and white supremacy continue to to be forces of evil in this country and world. Yet we are called to put our bodies into action and on the line to help create the kind of world we believe God intends for creation.
In keeping with the body of Christ metaphor, the mouth of PPF recently has been talking nationally about gun violence prevention. In early July, Rev. Deanna Hollas was ordained to her position as Gun Violence Prevention Ministries Coordinator with PPF and it caught the attention of national media (like the New York Times, CNN, Morning Edition, and the Trace) as well as Presbyterian media. And after the shootings of the weekend, the requests for media continue. Deanna does not do this work alone, of course, but her story and the story of the church ordaining someone to this work has inspired and engaged many.
And the feet of PPF continued the spiritual and physical practice of walking as Fossil Free PCUSA went to Puerto Rico to learn about climate change and Hurricane Maria, the resiliency of Puerto Ricans after Maria, and how they are calling Presbyterians in the mainland to be in solidarity with them. The delegation did not realize all that would be happening politically when they were in Puerto Rico, but they joined in the protests and walked in one of the most inspiring examples of nonviolent political change.
The eyes of PPF witnessed the cruelty of the ICE detention facility in El Paso, Texas on July 29 as members gathered to pray and demand change with leaders of the Moral Monday movement. We did not know at the time that the same white supremacy that puts migrants in concentration camps in El Paso and around the country would show up in El Paso a few days later in the form of a young white man killing 22 people in the Wal Mart not too far from the detention center where we had gathered to pray and witness against the evil of ICE.
And in Agua Prieta, the hands of PPF have continued to offer our presence as the request for accompaniment continues. In July, the PPF Activist Council committed to providing accompaniment on the border for at least another nine months. Accompaniers may offer water or sandwiches to people who are waiting to petition for asylum at the US southern border, but what we really are able to offer is our physical presence that we hope serves as help, protection, and support to the migrants and the local Mexicans who support them.
We are one body made up of many parts, joined together by our commitment to follow the nonviolent Jesus Christ.
These are just a few examples of how PPF has been engaging in July and early August. We also joined in a disruption and protest of Christian Zionism organized by Friends of Sabeel North America, the work of accompaniment in Colombia continues, and much more. I hope you’ll join us in Baltimore September 26-28 for the Activist Council Gathering as we continue to plan and strategize for our work going forward. Whether you’re new to PPF, new to peacemaking, or have been engaged for years, we need what you bring to this work.