The Peacebuilder: Newsletter (Email)

peacebuilder thumbnailThe Peacebuilder

A biweekly email newsletter for the On Earth Peace community. This e-newsletter is designed for friends and supporters of On Earth Peace to keep up with our work.

Sign up to receive The Peacebuilder emails.

Email us to request a copy of a back issue.

Click here to view most recent issue online.

 

Recent Issue: 2014/07/30 - Peace Day Invitation

 

Peace Day is Sunday, September 21 

Will You Pray With Us?

 

We reel in the face of it:  

 

Military activity around the world, mass shootings by civilians and killings by police, flagrant destruction of the environment, minimal incomes for workers and obscene wealth for corporation owners, violence in the home and in the neighborhood, and ever-renewing disrespect and hostility for groups who are different based on religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, race. . .    

 

Asking for God's inspiration, On Earth Peace seeks congregations and community groups to hold special prayers for peace as part of the International Day of Prayer for Peace, Sunday, September 21, 2014.


Inspired by the Book of Acts, we invite groups to ask God for "Visions and Dreams of Building Peace." Can we dream of overcoming violence and sharing God's love with all? This is the heart of the Gospel. Will you find a vision of how you and your congregation can build peace with justice? Dream and pray with us!

Peace Day 2012 Manassas
Peace Day 2012 in Manassas, Virginia

"We're hoping that every congregation receiving this invitation will include special prayers for peace as part of their services on Sunday, September 21," shares On Earth Peace staffer Matt Guynn.  Worship resources and half-page peacebuilding discussion starters are available on the Peace Daywebsite.

 

"You don't need to be overwhelmed by this!" says Larry O'Neill of Skippack Church of the Brethren near Philadelphia, PA. "Any congregation, no matter how small or large, can easily participate in Peace Day." A Peace Day worship service might include personal sharing, prayers, a topical sermon, special music, and a related children's story.  

 

Sample plans from 2014:   

  • The Quinter (KS) Church of the Brethren will gather around their peace pole for special prayers.
  • The Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren (Ft Wayne, IN) will lift up Peace Day in their Sunday service and emphasize peacemakers in the world, along with a peace-oriented intergenerational Sunday School lesson.
  • The Lacey (WA) Community Church writes that they will "plant seeds, affirm values, dream dreams, practice peace."
  • Manassas (VA) Church of the Brethren will host Unity in the Community's interfaith gathering with the theme, "Sharing Water, Sharing Air, Sharing Our World in Peace."

Elizabeth Ullery, Peace Day campaign organizer, shares, "Building peace is about building relationships. By sharing our visions and dreams and listening to each others' experiences, we can start to create peace in our congregations, communities and world."

Kids as Peacemakers Childrens' Mural Kit - Have your kids paint an enduring mural as part of your 2014 Peace Day event! (Kit includes curriculum, mural header banner, instructions) - $40 reduced cost for Peace Day groups. Order when registering for Peace Day.

Schedule a free consultation:  

What's next in your work to build peace? 

What are your visions and dreams? 

 

Upon registration as a Peace Day 2014 participant, you can also schedule a free consultation with On Earth Peace staff about your dreams and plans for building peace in your congregation, community or our world.  These one-to-one consultations are a time to reflect about your own call and efforts to challenge violence and build peace, your visions and dreams of next steps, and relevant On Earth Peace ministries and offerings. You will receive several core On Earth Peace handouts introducing concepts and practices for building peace. Consultations will take place via phone or webcam and will be scheduled for October-December 2014.
 

Register now to let us know your congregation or community group will participate in Peace Day 2014, and to schedule your free peacebuilding consultation.

 

  



Visions & Dreams of Building Peace 

"I can remember the first time that I thought something was really wrong with war. " 

 

In 2014, On Earth Peace is celebrating its 40th anniversary!  As part of this celebration, we are collecting stories of people's visions and dreams of peace building. Through interviews, we are inviting people to share their stories of working for peace and their visions and dreams of future peace building.  In each issue of the Peacebuilder, we are sharing one of these conversations.  To submit a conversation for the Peacebuilder, please email Marie Benner-Rhoades.
 
In May, Karen Carter shared some of her visions and dreams of building peace with Marie Benner-Rhoades.  Karen is a member of the Church of the Brethren who has served on the General Board (currently Mission and Ministry Board) and with Brethren Volunteer Service.  She grew up in Germany during WWII.  A full transcript of this interview, including Karen describing her early formation a peace activist and reflections on family as key to peacemaking, is available at On Earth Peace's 40th anniversary blog, VisionsAndDreams.us.

 

Marie: So, the first thing I was hoping you would do is tell me something of your life experience that makes you want to build peace.

 

Karen: I can remember the first time that I thought something was really wrong with war. It came in 1945 right after the end of World War II.  I was almost ten years old then.  American troops had come in to Bad Harzburg, where we had lived during the second year of our evacuation from Berlin, and had occupied the town. Many people had been forced out of their homes to make room for some high ranking officer or other. At that time, the town was densely populated because it housed so many refugees.   A house across the street from us had just been requisitioned, the former occupants  had left to find refuge elsewhere, and American soldiers were carrying out everything besides the furniture that the people had not been able to take with them or left behind in their hast: paper and cardboard trash, some ragged towels, a dishcloth,  and deposited these at the feet of an MP. Apparently, the MP was in charge of watching the large fire on the sidewalk for burning such trash.

             Attracted by the "bonfire," I drew closer to watch.  I saw in the fire a bag of sugar that was just tilting over at that moment to spill its contents. In a flash, I reached in to get the bag out.  Immediately, I was pushed back by a watching MP.  Obviously, he was trying to protect me, but I didn't know that, I was reaching for this precious commodity, the bag of sugar.  Of course, I didn't know why he was pushing me back, but my reasoning at that time was: there is something not right here.  You don't want it, and you won't let me have it.  You know, I always had been told that war is caused by some people wanting something and taking it by force, that kind of stuff.  You want a piece of land that doesn't belong to you and so you fight for it.  This is not one of these issues.  You didn't want it, you burn it, but you won't let me have it.  Of course, there were rules about that.  The MP had their rules.  But that I didn't know, I didn't figure that at all.  But that thought really bothered me, that there is something different going on here with this war than what I had been told.  That was the first time that I thought that war is really something wrong.  



Annual Conference 

Visions and Dreams - Welcoming Together

 

On Earth Peace's presence at Annual Conference 2014, in Columbus, OH, may have been best summed up by the participant who approached Executive Director Bill Scheurer as he was setting up the booth space, and asked, "Is this the welcome center?". Whether through the Ministry of Reconciliation's service to Annual Conference and the delegates, celebrating 40 years of peacemaking together within the Church of the Brethren, the invitation to all to participate in sharing visions and dreams for the next 40 years of peacemaking together, or just being a welcoming place to sit and relax for anyone- nothing could have better epitomized the intention behind On Earth Peace's display, workshops, and overall spirit at Annual Conference.

 

We can't thank enough the volunteers, staff, and board members who made this true. And we especially can't thank enough the visitors and participants in the work of On Earth Peace during conference, sharing their visions and dreams of building peace with us. We certainly hope that is something that will continue through the use of the Visions and Dreams website!

 

This same spirit was present as On Earth Peace continued our conversation with Standing Committee regarding the Statement of Inclusion. Board Chair Jordan Bles and Executive Director Bill Scheurer joined Standing Committee delegates before conference to follow up on the conversation begun when delegates from Standing Committee visited On Earth Peace's board meeting in the fall of 2013. Good conversation was had, and sisters and brothers from across the spectrum had the chance to have their voices heard. To read more about the details of the conversation and meeting, Brethren News Service had a good article summing it up. In the end, Standing Committee adopted a statement reading, "Standing Committee does not support the 2011 Statement of Inclusion of On Earth Peace as an agency of the church, but we will continue to commit ourselves to walk in love together in the face of differing interpretations of scripture and Annual Conference statements and decisions." At the core of the conversation was a desire to continue to be in relationship with one another, and continue to be in conversation with one another - even if and especially when our interpretations of scripture and Annual Conference decisions differ.

 

Again, we can't thank enough all of you who participated in the ministry of On Earth Peace at Annual Conference - through our workshops, through our annual breakfast, through sharing your visions and dreams at our booth space, through the Ministry of Reconciliation, or even offering words of support for the work On Earth Peace has done, is doing, or will continue to do in the future. Annual Conference is an opportunity for us to say thank you for your support of our ministry throughout the year, and have the opportunity to greet so many friends. And for that, we absolutely give thanks.

 


Many Thanks to this Summer's 

Ministers of Reconciliation Teams!

Photo Credit: Jonathan Frye

Serving the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference:

Audrey deCoursey, Karen Duhai (Bethany Theological Seminary ministry intern & co-coordinator), Peggy Gish, Leslie Frye, Sara Haldeman-Scarr, Tim Harvey, Reba Herder (co-coordinator/trainer), Michael Himlie, Nate Hosler, Barbara Lewscak, Janet Mitchel, Larry O'Neill (Standing Committee liaison), Don Parker, Rick Polhamus (co-coordinator/trainer), Dan Rudy, and Samuel Sarpiya; Irv Heishman was available to be a Spanish-speaking resource.  It was also great to have Emily Harvey join us for the training!

Photo Credit: Jonathan Frye

Serving the Church of the Brethren National Youth Conference (to view our Public Service Announcement, click here):

Jerry Bowen, Karen Duhai (coordinator), Leslie Frye, Melisa Grandison, Katy Herder, Michael Himlie, Nate Hosler, Barbara Lewscak, Rick Polhamus, Samuel Sarpiya, Jennifer Scarr, Carol Spicher Waggy, Dawna Welch, and Chris Zepp.

 

For more information about Ministers of Reconciliation Teams, click here or contact our director of the Ministry of Reconciliation, Leslie Frye.

 


A Prayer for Peace

and An End to Violence

 

Peace Day El Salvador
 

 

O Loving God,
We so often and for so long hear about the guns and rockets, drones and bombs
We see the pictures of death in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Congo, Nigeria, Sudan and South Sudan, Ukraine, Israel and Palestine, Central African Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala,...


 

Wrap all and each of these your people in your love.

Let them hear: "Come to me you who suffer

and are burdened and I will give you rest."

 

In these few months of 2014, we have heard the weapons and seen the blood of mass shootings and gang violence
In Los Angeles and Detroit, Minneapolis and Miami, in Denver and in 138 other cities, towns and villages across our nation.

 

Wrap all and each of these your people in your love.
Let them hear: "Come to me you who suffer

and are burdened and I will give you rest."

 

The bombs are exploding again in Gaza and Israel.

 

Wrap all and each of these your people in your love.
Let them hear: "Come to me you who suffer

and are burdened and I will give you rest."

 

Violence continues hidden in so many homes and families around the world - and the abuse of innocent children....

 

Wrap all and each of these your people in your love.
Let them hear: "Come to me you who suffer

and are burdened and I will give you rest."

 

Click here to see the rest of the prayer.

 
Prayer by  Jim Hug, S.J. and Pax Christi USA

 

On Earth Peace LogoCommitted to stopping violence and building reconciliation, On Earth Peace is an agency rooted in the Church of the Brethren. On Earth Peace extends this 300-year faith legacy by equipping new generations of Christian peacemakers and partnering with grassroots groups to build peace and justice.