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Episcopal Peace Fellowship

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship Pledge of Commitment describes the group's mission:

In loyalty to the person, teaching, and Lordship of Jesus Christ, my conscience commits me to His way of redemptive love: to pray, study, and work for peace, and to renounce, as far as possible, participation in war, militarism, and all other forms of violence.

In fellowship with others, I will work to discover and create alternatives to violence and to build a culture of peace. I urge the Episcopal Church in accordance with our baptismal vows "to renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God", and to wage peace across all boundaries, calling upon people everywhere to repent, to forgive, and to love. https://epfnational.org/join/

There is currently an active chapter at Trinity Cathedral which is currently reaching out to other parishes to spread the work of Christ's peacemaking. 

Because of the EPF commitment above, our local group has three priorities:

1)  Human Trafficking, in conjunction with the efforts of the Episcopal Church Women. Resources and information here.
2)  Yemen,  keeping this humanitarian crisis in the news,
3)  Anti-Death Penalty group, working with Ohioans to Stop Executions (OTSE) and Intercommunity Peace& Justice Center (IJPC) in Cincinnati.
 


Invitation to join
Episcopal Peace Fellowship
as a Peace Partner
in Prayers for Peace Sabbath!
 

 
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry has endorsed the “Prayers for Peace Sabbath” organized by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (“EPF”). You are invited to join this commemoration of our 81st year of social justice action and ministry. The kickoff of “Prayers for Peace Sabbath” is November 15, the Sunday immediately following November 11, formerly Armistice Day, now Veteran’s Day, which is the anniversary of EPF’s founding on November 11, 1939.
 
Enclosed here is a litany which EPF encourages you to use through the Season of Epiphany as part of your worship liturgies. We are grateful for the Presiding Bishop’s enthusiastic support and hope you will be similarly moved to pray for peace during these challenging times. 
 
Your parish is also invited to join EPF as a peace partner in supporting the social justice and nonviolence work of EPF in the Church and in the world.  Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Peace Partner Network consists of individuals and institutions, such as congregations, dioceses, chapters and seminaries, who are seeking to grow their justice and peace ministries with the support of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship.
 
Historically, dues to become a congregational member of EPF have been $250 per year.  This year, however, in commemoration of 81 years of social justice advocacy, we request that you commit a Sunday or series of Sundays through Epiphany to asking parishioners to make individual contributions to EPF.  Designating EPF as the recipient of loose plate monies collected during services, if you are back to in-person worship, would be most appreciated. It is suggested that you use this link if you are still meeting virtually.  The option remains for your congregation to contribute $250 to affiliate with EPF as a peace partner parish if that is preferable. 
 
EPF will make available to you, in addition to the enclosed litany, a videotaped sermon from Rev. Bob Davidson, EPF National Chair, which will be available for broadcast during your worship services on November 15 or otherwise.  His message makes a natural connection with a forum on social justice you may wish to hold.  This combination is an ideal opportunity to evangelize about our Baptismal promise as Episcopalians to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being.
 
You will receive a Peace Partner Congregation certificate (suitable for framing) and the Bishop Paul Jones Icon poster, as well as our logo that you can use on your website to identify as a parish committed to working for Gospel justice.  These symbols of your affiliation as a Peace Partner of EPF will be become familiar to members of your congregation and to those that visit your parish.
 
The following member benefits will be afforded you as a Peace Partner Congregation:
  • A listing in EPF's Online Peace Partner Congregation Directory on our new website. 
  • Connection to a worldwide network of people and parishes dedicated to social justice ministry -- our Action Group networks -- which include Anti-Racism, Gun Violence Prevention, Abolition of the Death Penalty, Environmental Justice, Palestine-Israel Network, Gender Violence Prevention, Advocacy in Support of Refugees and Immigrants, and our longstanding Anti-War Efforts (including support for Conscientious Objectors, Abolition of Nuclear Arms, and Abolition of Drone Warfare).
  • Access to the EPF Constant Contact account to send informative emails to large groups    
  • Consultation time with EPF’s leadership on your congregation’s peace and justice work
  • A beautiful poster of the Bishop Paul Jones icon, a piece created by the Rev. Canon Robert Two Bulls for the Episcopal Peace Fellowship
  • A certificate identifying your congregation as a Peace Partner Congregation
  • Use of our logo on your parish website
  • Weekly Peace Out newsletter, highlighting the work of EPF across the globe
  • Access to our online preaching series, which is tied to the lectionary and will highlight our social justice ministries
  • A visit from our Executive Director when she is in your neighborhood.  She is available for leading forums, preaching, participating in demonstrations and witness, recruiting for new ministries, and educating people about our Gospel call to social justice advocacy
  • Access to our curricula for certain of our social justice ministries, as you have a need for adult Christian education classes
 
We will be featuring our Peace Partners periodically in our weekly e-mail, Peace Out, and on our EPF Facebook page.   Please send your news to us at epfactnow@gmail.com so we can help promote your congregation’s justice work.
 
From the National Executive Council of EPF, and our entire membership, we hope you will partner with us in our work for justice and peace!
 
Melanie Merkle Atha
Executive Director 
epfactnow@gmail.com
 

Suggested Actions December 2020

 

Our three (3) priority areas for 2020 are focused on the Yemeni Civil War, Abolishing the Death Penalty and Human Trafficking 
 
You will recognize some of these suggestions from before. It’s not an accident! They’re still important and timely to add our prayers, study, calls and letters. As you may know, responses pro or against are counted diligently by the staffs of the legislatures and provided to the legislators or Governor if applicable. Every contact counts…
 
Yemen/Iran 
*Post-election note: A potentially supportive President/Vice President are expected to take office January 20, 2021. The Biden campaign has indicated likely support for below Yemen measures below. A lot hinges on the fate of the U.S. Senate. Your voice is still needed now.

  • Contact your 2 Ohio U.S. Senators Brown and Portman and your House representative to take legal action to reestablish Congress’ legitimate role in authorizing acts of war
  • 41 acts of war in 19 countries. A move afoot to repeal the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force AUMF
  • Contact your Congressional representatives to have them take action to end arms sales to United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in light of their continued use to fuel the Yemen conflict, and due to evidence the 2019 so-called “emergency” declared by the Administration allowed the direct sale of 8 billion dollars of military aid without Congressional approval , and the lack of consideration of the deadly effects on the Yemeni population was largely ignored by the current Administration
  • Latest news has the current President seeking to punish the Houthi movement in Yemen as a terrorist organization; in reality, this is largely meant to try and punish Iran, but in fact this will prolong the  continuing misery for Yemeni civilians, currently with 80% of the population currently in need of relief.
Some additional background supplementing above: Congressional members had expressed concern that the benefits to the U.S. workforce of arms sales had been grossly inflated, that transfer of weapon technology to Mideast countries jeopardizes our national security, and that previous claim of an “emergency” that resulted in $ 8+ billion of arms sales without Congressional oversight last year was a “phony” emergency. Also adding to this is the now completed $23.87 billion U.S. arms sales to the United Arab Emirates subsequent to the signing of a UAE/Israel /Kingdom of Bahrain cooperation agreement Israel (using the tool of the Abrams Accord greenlighting the sale as a purported hedge against an increasingly militaristic Iran).  Per NBC News, “…the UAE was able to purchase high-tech weapons from the United States, including Reaper drones, EA-18G Growler jets and F-35 fighter planes”. Yemen’s fragile civilian population is at an increased risk by this American sale.
 
  • Write our U.S. Senators and your Congressional representative and the President and indicate your strong support of the U.S. remaining a full member of the U.N.’s World Health Organization (WHO) with its 194 members, and continuing our financial support of work on global health issues, such as the Covid19 epidemic . (Above election note applies here too, and  President-elect Biden has indicated executive action is planned to promptly restore our relationship with the W.H.O.. Letters/calls to Congress still advised)
    • Some additional background: President Trump has formally notified the World Health Organization of the U.S. departing the WHO on July 6, 2021. The U.S. is currently in arrears of membership dues for $198 million dollars. Many legal scholars are indicating the action would be illegal without the concurrence of Congress. Many health experts and officials feel the action will jeopardize the U.S. access to critical medical technology and vaccines.Many leading scholars say Congress can prevent our departure from the World Health Organization. It’s not too late for congress to act, with our support!
    • “The problem is not about the money. It’s not the financing that’s the issue. It’s actually the relationship with the U.S. that’s more important and its leadership abroad,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during an interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt hosted by the Aspen Security Forum. 
    • Here is the State Department’s Status Report from September, 2020.
   
Anti-Death Penalty            Suggested content of your letter to newspapers:
 
- In such a divisive political climate, it's incredible to see both sides of the aisle coming together on the issue of death penalty repeal.
- The fact that Ohio conservatives are stepping up to repeal Ohio's death penalty is great. I --- I think repealing the death penalty certainly represents conservative Ohioan values of being pro-life and fiscally responsible. 
- I love seeing the momentum for repeal building across the state! It's amazing to see all communities - conservatives, faith leaders, lawmakers, former office holders, liberals, etc - creating a buzz for repealing Ohio's death penalty. 
·       Send a letter, or email to Governor DeWine and ask him to grant clemency for Gregory Lott,   recommended for clemencyon May 2020 by the Ohio Parole Board. The victim’s family provided testimony asking that Mr. Lott, who is intellectually disabled, not be executed. It has been six months since clemency was recommended. This delay is cruel not only for Mr. Lott, but for the families involved. 
·       Send a note of support to Elwood Jones, on death row in Ohio since 1997, and has been scheduled now for a new court hearing on December 11, based on new evidence and a confession by another man. Mr. Jones is scheduled for execution in April 2021. 
 
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Update! From Jessie @IJPC:
 
“Hi Bruce,
I'm not sure the last update you heard about. His hearing, which was supposed to be at the end of August, was pushed back to December (11) because of COVID. I know Elwood is very upset, as this hearing has been pushed back for quite some time now...longer than IJPC has even known about it. I'm in the process of figuring out how we can take action or try to at least provide morale for Elwood, if nothing else. As soon as I get more details and plans together, it will go out in an email.
Thanks for checking in on it!
Jessie”
 
Address support letters to:
Elwood Jones # A339441, 
Chillicothe Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 5500
Chillicothe, OH 45601
 
  • Federal Executions: There have been 10 Federal executions in 2020.  Lisa Montgomery is scheduled to die on January 12, 2021, the first woman executed by the Federal government in over 60 years. See the NYT recent review of her case. She would be the 11th Federal execution in the current killing sequence. Two additional persons are scheduled  to die in 2021 by the current administration.
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Lisa Montgomery
Suggested actions are to write your Congresspersons, legislators and/or Mike DeWine, Governor of Ohio and ask them to please initiate action in their respective jurisdictions (Federal/State) to end the Death Penalty.
 
Human Trafficking
  • Contact your Ohio House Representative and ask her/him to support the passage of SB 13, The Protect Trafficked Minors Act. Bipartisan support. Has passed the Ohio Senate last year and is in the House Judiciary Committee as of February 2020.
    • Background: Senator Theresa Fedor Testimony-Sponsor (see her Sponsor Testimony and others here)
  • Send a note to Senators Brown and Portman supporting their introduction of a Bipartisan bill Protecting Rights of Those Exploited by Coercive Trafficking (PROTECT) Act. Summary is here.
  • “A bill to amend chapter 77 of title 18, United States Code, to clarify that using drugs or illegal substances to cause a person to engage in a commercial sex act constitutes coercion and using drugs or illegal substances to provide or obtain the labor or services of a person constitutes forced labor.” Introduced 7/2019; SB2197
  • Special Alert: Covid 19 is still putting significant stress on organizations aiding trafficked person in Greater Cleveland. How you can help: Salvation Army and Renee Jones Empowerment Center are still seeking donations of money, clothing and personal hygiene items. To volunteer or become a mentor at the RJEC, contact Renee Jones at 216/417-0823. The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center is also seeking volunteers and donations. 
 
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Hue Jackson Residential Center
  • **Of concern to all of us: “The child sex trade is a global crisis. Far-right conspiracy theorists are harassing, distracting and intimidating the organizations fighting to end it.”-Huffington Post
Suggest writing your Representative/Senators to indicate your concern with QAnon and their efforts to disrupt legitimate, professional efforts to end human trafficking.
 
The following are additional EPF areas of interest for possible action.
Gun Violence (For information and action)

Israel/Palestine (For information)

·       West Bank Annexation is off the table for now with the “Abrahamic Accords Declaration of Peace, Cooperation, and Constructive Diplomatic and Friendly Relations”

Key questions are now: 1/what exactly is the role of U.S. and is this a “Peace” Agreement;  what Palestinian lands might be annexed in the future?, 3/what happens to Palestinian-owned land?, 4/ Israeli citizenship for Palestinians?, 5/would this in effect be a one-state or two-state solution? and 6/what is the response worldwide to this latest action by Israel/U.S.? Note: “Study the current dialogue on the viability of a one-state or 2-state solution to the Israeli/Palestine situation. Here is one example of this dialogue on Zoom. 
  • Sadly, while annexation is technically on hold, new Israeli settlements are still being added in Palestinian areas.
  • Check out Peter Beinart’s July 8, 2020 article in the N.Y. Times “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State” for a different perspective

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                       Israeli Soldiers Confront Palestinian Woman re: An Unapproved Animal Shed
Suggested Background 1/ “A Founding Generation of Looters-New Research on the Israeli Theft of Palestinian Property in 1948”. To watch this video webinar, go here. Sponsored by the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP)
 
“In a newly-published book (discussed in recent blockbuster Haaretz article), Israeli historian Adam Raz shatters the “conspiracy of silence” that surrounds the widespread Jewish looting of Palestinian property that took place in 1948. Drawing from materials he found in more than 30 archives, Raz documents how in the period around the 1948 War, Jewish civilians – who after the war became the founding generation of the state of Israel – pillaged private Palestinian property throughout the land. Raz also documents how, as the looting took place in full public view, Jewish leaders – including David Ben Gurion – knew what was happening and, even as some expressed disapproval, did nothing to stop it.” 
 
2/ Another excellent Israeli/Palestine webinar of interest to many was also recently sponsored by the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP).Find out more here: https://fmep.org/event/annexation-and-the-aftermath-of-the-u-s-election-analysis-expectations/
 
General Info For You:
 
Contact Info:  It’s easy: email via their websites or call directly; it does make a difference! Taking action on just 1 measure…or more, makes a real difference.
 
Suggestion #1!  If you get a response from your representative or others, please let us know. Their responses are often insightful and valuable for follow-ups. 
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/OH#senators
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/OH#representatives
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/
White House:
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW 
Washington, DC 20500
1-202-456-1414 (Switchboard)
1-202-456-1111 (Comments)
 
Suggestion #2! (New!) Want to keep up-to-date on these events, ask to receive our semi-monthly news feed from a variety of sources. Crafted by Catherine Smyth-Zajc of our EPF team, just let me know you’d like to receive the news feed: freeman.bruce@gmail.com
 

Notes from the January 3, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the December 6, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the November 1, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the August 2, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the July 5, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the June 7, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the May 3, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the April 5, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the March 1, 2020 meeting at Trinity Cathedral
Notes from the February 2, 2020 meeting at Trinity Cathedral
Notes from the January 5, 2020 meeting at Trinity Cathedral
Notes from the December 1, 2019 meeting at Trinity Cathedral
Notes from the October 6, 2019 meeting at Trinity Cathedral
Notes from the September 1, 2019 meeting at Trinity Cathedral
Notes from August 4th, 2019 meeting at Trinity Cathedral