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Showing posts from March, 2005

Jim Fitz's 2005 Peace Plans

Greetings friends, I am just back from Colombia and then from a visit with my family in PA at the passing on of my sister-in-law. Here are my plans for 2005 combined with a report on 2004. To start off, here are some photos that catch some of the main aspects of my work in Colombia. Here I am in the midst of a two-hour time of showing my photos and sharing about CPT peacemaking with soldiers on the Opon River. Some of them said that they pray everyday and we had a time of praying together. This kind of sharing with my photos I did often with all kinds of people - from bus or airplane seatmates to taxi drivers to shop keepers, both in Colombia and in the US. I see this as planting seeds for peace - one by one showing people in practical ways how non-violence is working to deal with conflicts. After witnessing the above soldiers, who are to be protecting the petroleum resources of Colo

Reba’s Visit to Valle Nuevo

from David Janzen I have the joyful and impossible task of trying to explain how five men (aged 22 to 64) from Reba Place Church were changed by our visit with our sister village, Valle Nuevo in El Salvador. (As those of you who have visited Valle Nuevo know, our sister community is a village of about 900 persons within the larger municipality of about 5,000 persons called Santa Marta. In the report that follows, I will sometimes merge these two names.) Beside myself (the 64-year-old) there was Allan Howe (current Fellowship leader), David Hovde who has been a member of Reba for about ten years, Joseph Marshak—a seminary student and a Reba novice, and Jesse Miller—a 22 year-old intern among us. In one day, on March 12, we were transported by air, highway, and (you-gotta-feel-it-to-believe-it) rocky mountain road from: --snowy winter to tropical dry season. --urban Anabaptist intentional community to Catholic campesino village. --homes where each of us has our own bedroom to homes wh

Jim’s Peacemaking Update

The Christian Peacemaker Team Booth at Cornerstone Music Festival went especially well. Serious interest in peacemaking seems to be growing amongst Christians. I have already had dialogue with others about helping at the Booth next year so we can reach more brothers and sisters. I had many serious conversations, especially with the 20 persons who expressed interest in joining CPT work. I encouraged those interested to pray about it, saying it is important to sense a clear call from the Lord about this dangerous work. And if we pray, the Lord will answer, something I feel I have come to see more clearly in the last year. So get ready when you pray! Here I am i n a conversation at the Cornerstone Festival. 230 persons signed up there to receive peacemaking news. Later in July I went to the funeral of my brother in PA. That was a sad time, though at the same time it was encouraging to hear the many stories of the way people showed love and care for Wayne. This concern for him is a clea

Colombia Petition

a sample to guide your letter to your legislator. Honorable [your legislator here] We write to voice our concern about what is happening in Colombia. For forty years Colombians have tried to solve their internal conflict militarily and all they have gotten is more deaths, 75% of which are civilians. Our government feeds this war through Plan Colombia with $1.6 million a day in military aid. Human Rights Watch, the U.S. State Dept. and the Colombian justice system itself have found evidence of army collaboration with the paramilitary. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), which has had a presence in Barrancabermeja since 2001, has seen the failure of Plan Colombia's American-funded aerial spraying to kill coca, and the devastating effects on food crops and suffering of local populations caused by the spraying. We add our voice to the growing numbers who are calling on our government to encourage a negotiated solution to the Colombian civil war. As well as ending t

Peace Vigil Conversations

A woman came up at the Peace Vigil at the Princeton Courthouse the other Wednesday and asked me. "Can I give each of you a hug to say thank you for your courage to stand up for peace and question this war? Then, on the edge of tears and with obvious anxiety, she took 10-15 minutes to share her feelings. "I just want to thank each of you for having this vigil. People seldom protest war anymore thank you so much. My husband is in the National Guard and a US soldier in Iraq. My husband has been there for 10 months with 8 to go. He is part of transport unit base in Kuwait that periodically travels to Baghdad -- a very dangerous job these days. I sure hope and pray he comes home alive. Neither he nor his fellow soldiers believe we should be there. Saddam Hussein never did anything to us. Seems we are just there for the oil." She had her 3 children under 5 with her, one wore a shirt that said, "Where is my BagDaddy?" Say a prayer for the family.

Peace Work Update

Here is an overview of slide presentations and other peace work I have done or will do soon. 4/18 Southside Mennonite, Elkhart IN 4/19 Manchester College, IN International relations class 4/20 Midway Mennonite Church Colombiana, OH 4/26 Messiah College, PA Convocation 4/27 New Hope Church of the Brethren, WV 4/28 Church of the Brethren Rossville, IN 5/4 Knox College, Galesburg, IL with Peggy Gish on CPT Iraq. Peggy has given 7 presentations that I arranged in our area regarding CPT's work in Iraq. 5/8 Henry Christian church, IL 6/14 Princeton Rotary Club, IL 6/26 Unitarian Universalist Church in Bloomington, IL 6/29-7/3 Cornerstone Christian Music Festival, Bushnell, IL CPT booth. 8/24-8/28 Bureau County Fair, IL CPT booth July Hannibal, MO talks pending Christian Peacemaker Congress September 8-11, Indianapolis, IN “The courage to engage violence with nonviolence” Ecumenical and open to all peacemakers, Call 773-277-0253 for information. Return to Colombia for 3 m

Jesus and London Bombings

Friends Committee for National Legislation has some very good suggestions for a Jesus response to the London bombing, and you can write letters to all your Government's reps. with one click at . Sooner it is done the better. blessings, Jim July 8, 2005 Here's the letter I wrote, More War is not the answer to the London Bombings, it will just fuel the hatred that the world relations is now full of. An eye for an eye only makes all of us blind. If war and violence led to peace we would be full of it now, so it obviously does not work. It only leads to more hatred and pain and suffering, escalating the violence. Please look into and support the Smart Security Legislations that Rep. Lynn Woolsey's introduced in the House. Please support the legislation to declare that we will and want to bring US troops home from Iraq ASAP. Sincerely, Jim Fitz

Creating a Peace Culture

In 1985, Colman McCarthy and his wife, May, established the Center for Teaching Peace, a Washington- based nonprofit that helps schools begin or expand academic programs in conflict resolution and peace studies. Today, he teaches classes at three universities and three high schools. JW (John Wilson of Hope Magazine) : How do we create a culture of peace- or is that an impossible dream? CM: Schools need to be one of the major solutions. We have 78,000 elementary schools in this country, 31,000 high schools, and 3,100 colleges and universities. All of those need to be teaching the basics of conflict resolution and the methods, history, and practitioners of genuine peacemaking, and the belief that we get strength through peace and not peace through strength. Right now, we have children in our first, second, and third grades who, in fifteen or twenty years, will be convicted and sent to prison for violent crimes. We also have children in those grades who wil

One Pacifist's Answer to 9/11

The following is from Hope magazine's John Wilson's (JW) interview of Colman McCarthy (CM), July/August 2003. His comments on Peacemaking I found challenging and insightful. I hope you do too. Peace to you today, Jim In 1985, McCarthy and his wife, May, established the Center for Teaching Peace, a Washington- based nonprofit that helps schools begin or expand academic programs in conflict resolution and peace studies. Today, he teaches classes at three universities and three high schools. JW: You oppose military solutions, but speaking as a pacifist, what is your solution to September 11? CM: • After September 11, we had four options: military, political, legal, and moral. Predictably, the military prevailed: Got a problem? Go bomb somebody. The political solution: Follow our own advice when we tell Israelis and Palestinians, or the factions in Northern Ireland, or the factions in Sierra Leone, or the factions anywhere -- to sit down, talk, compromise, ne