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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.

Suggested Actions December 2021
Our three (3) priority areas for 2021 remain focused on the Yemeni Civil War, Abolishing the Death Penalty and Human Trafficking 
You will recognize some of these suggestions from past editions. They remain 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 matters…you have made a 
Difference! Items in red are usually new additions.
The United Nations in Yemen | United Nations in Yemen
Yemen’s Capital Old Sana'a-U.N. Photo
War Powers Resolution and Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF): 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, as provided in Public Law 93-147 (11/7/1973), and to carefully consider a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Kaine and Young to repeal the outdated 1991 and 2002 War Resolutions that have led to low boil “forever wars” in the Middle East and Africa. This in my opinion is an extremely important piece of legislation as it prevents the Executive Branch from wresting control from Congress in initiating and continuing what has become known as “forever wars.” Additionally, as reported in the Washington Post “… “It’s impossible to close the era of endless war without closing Guantanamo,” Wells Dixon, a defense attorney for one of the prisoners, said on Twitter.””
  • U.S. Attacks in Syria in February ordered by President Biden rekindled this effort.
    • Item 1: PL 93-147 (Original War Powers Resolution)
    • Item 2: Senate Joint Resolution 10 Kaine and Young et al, introduced March 3, Committee on Foreign Relations Hearing held July, 2021; a second  CFR hearing held in August. Passed in Committee and is still on Senate Legislative calendar as of 12/15/2021
    • Effort to add to the components of SJR 10 instead to National Defense Authorization Act 2022 failed in the Senate
  • Contact your Congressional representatives and the White House to have them take action to end arms sales to United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia considering their continued offensive use to fuel the Yemen conflict. The Biden Administration had paused all arms sales to the U.A.E and Saudi Arabia to study the situation. Recently though, The Biden Administration ok’d 280 air-to- air missile sales to Saudi Arabia worth $650 million. The WSJ had noted many of the sales may ultimately move forward if restrictions are in place to not use the military equipment in the 7+ year civil war in Yemen.  An earlier view as of 4/21 from the NY Times is here. Sales to Saudi Arabia proposed to be scaled back to be used only for “defensive purposes. This review by Brookings is more comprehensive.
    • UAE arms sales currently still in limbo. France picking up some of slack. F-35 sale by U.S.to UAE still active, although action has paused. U.S. is said to be viewed as a less powerful a force in Middle East having left Afghanistan. U.S. is concerned with UAE relationship with China. Complicated…
    • Item 1: UAE still deeply involved in Yemen despite claims of withdrawal, experts say - Middle East Eye
    • Congressional and civil society groups hesitancy on sales to UAE
  Of note is recent vote by the U.N.’s Human Rights Council to shut down any investigation of war crimes in Yemen Civil War. The U.S. had no vote due to the previous action by the Trump Administration to leave the Council. The U.S. will be back on in January, 2022. New: A glimmer of hope in the future! A Yemeni version of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) for Syria.
  • And More: U.N. Envoy Hans Grundberg’s Yemen comments
  • Houthi attack on U.S. Embassy in Yemen’s capital Sana’a November 12, adding to further diplomatic complications in a very fragmented scenario
  • Disappointing news from the United Nations Human Rights Council- The UN Human Rights Council voted to end the mandate of experts investigating war crimes in Yemen in a blow to Western nations who wanted the probe to continue.” I would suggest contacting your Congresspersons to express your views. The U.S. is currently an observer on this Council, not able to cast a vote. This will change in January, 2022. The Trump Administration had pulled out of the body in 2018. New: A glimmer of hope, though. See above.
We have continued meeting virtually with retired former Suffragan Bishop Jay Magness, who had authored the previous (and only) GC Resolution specifically on Yemen (2018-B013). We’ve been meeting on Zoom commiserating on a path to peace in Yemen. We met for a planning session on Monday, November 22 with Archbishop Michael Lewis, Archdeacon Bill Schwartz, Rt. Rev. “Jay” Magness, The Rev. David Copley, Global Partnerships of the Episcopal Church; Bruce Freeman and Catherine Smythe-Szac, Episcopal Peace Fellowship; Jenny Grant, Global Partnerships of the Episcopal Church, Rev. Christopher Bishop in Iraq with SWIC (Stand with Iraqi Christians) and others. Next meeting of the Yemen Action Group in January 2022; possible production of a TEC Yemen webinar; likely focus on focusing on a “presence” in Aden area, Christ Church, and Ras Morbat Clinic with the diverse, largely Muslim Yemeni population. Funding foe a new Priest at Christ Church in Aden has progressed and for continued funding for the successful Ras Morbat Eye Clinic was discussed. Focus very much on becoming more involved in the Aden area in a communal sense in terms of advocacy, presence, and long-term mission. Emphasis on long-term Christian witness in Yemen. A trip to Aden was discussed as a possibility in May 2022 if safe conditions exist. Also, the need for an updated GC Resolution was mentioned, with perhaps a video prepared by Jenny Grant et al.
Aden may become a city of more important national influence. Chris Bishop has previously noted the story of Yemen needs to be told as was done in Iraq by SWIC. $150,000 for a new priest needed for 3 years. It appears $110,000 has now been secured . Setting up a 501c3 mechanism for channeling financial support to be investigated further. Ecumenical support considered important, including with conservative Christians. The Roman Catholic presence is being restored. Mother Teresa’s Missions for Charity organization active in Aden since 1992. Four nuns were killed in Aden in 2016, plus 12 additional persons. A film, “Garden of Eden” focuses on the story of Missions for Charity in Aden. It is in the process of being completed.
Ethiopian and Eritrean immigrants a factor in future of Yemen and should be factored into future discussions.
***Way to Donate to Ras Morbat Eye Clinic in Aden***
Anti-Death Penalty-Change is in the Wind
             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 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 one year since clemency was recommended by the Parole Board. This delay is cruel not only for Mr. Lott, but for the families involved. 
o   Inquiry re: status made to Karen Kasler, Statehouse News. She indicated, and she is correct, if an execution date is moved up, the clemency appeal starts all over again, even if the Board voted in the affirmative to grant clemency. She reported on this May, 2020. Thank you Karen! I am reaching out to the case manager at Ohio Parole Board on this. She has responded on voice mail. More info soon (I hope)! Lott’s caseworker at Ohio Parole Board contacted (new)
·       Send a note of support to Elwood Jones, on death row in Ohio since 1997. He has been waiting for a new court hearing for a new trial based on new evidence and a confession by another man. The hearing now may occur in 2021. Mr. Jones is scheduled for execution on December 6, 2023. 
A person posing for the camera

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Elwood Jones (change.org)
Address support letters to:
Elwood Jones # A339441, 
Chillicothe Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 5500
Chillicothe, OH 45601
Sign the Petition to support Elwood’s new trial!!
  • Per Attorney General Garland: “Serious concerns have been raised about the continued use of the death penalty across the country, including arbitrariness in its application, disparate impact on people of color, and the troubling number of exonerations in capital and other serious cases…”. 
  • Testimony so far in the case being scrutinized by the Supreme Court re: the Boston Marathon bombings appears to lean toward reinstating the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as presented by the Federal government’s attorney. “What is the government’s end game” of the Federal government appropriately asks Judge Coney Barrett. AG Merrick Garland has paused all Federal executions…so far. Decision in 2022. Stay tuned
  • Suggested actions are to write your Congresspersons, legislators and/or Mike DeWine, Governor of Ohio, and President Joe Biden and ask them to please initiate action to end the death penalty in their respective jurisdictions (Federal/State). President Biden has indicated his support for ending the death penalty nationally. A total abolition nationwide would require congressional approval. He can end the Federal executions “…by the stroke of a pen!”
Human Trafficking-Support Your Local Human Trafficking Efforts!
  • Update from Ohio Attorney General Yost and his Human Trafficking Initiative
  • SB 431 (Create Sexual Exploitation Database) 
Signed by Governor DeWine-Previously referred elements here as SB 13, this bill “…requires a juvenile court in specified circumstances to hold a delinquency complaint in abeyance in certain prostitution or human trafficking cases, to provide that the trafficking in persons elements that apply to a victim under age 16 also apply to a victim who is age 16 or 17. Thank you to all who wrote your representative to urge this unfortunate anomaly in Ohio law be corrected.
  • Send a note to Senator Brown to thank him for introducing bipartisan Trafficking Survivors Housing Act of 2021 (new). SB 2049, a modified version of a similar bill previously introduced in 2019 (The Protecting Rights of Those Exploited by Coercive Trafficking (PROTECT) Act) 
  • AG David Yost’s useful tools for parents and children (new)
Special Alert: Covid 19 and its deadly variants are 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. (new) A new Human Trafficking Drop-in Center located at 10450 Superior Avenue is now open. Help the Drop-In Center provide needed toiletries, clothing, towels, phone cards, etc. by visiting the Amazon page that CRCC has developed so you can directly help the victims owikipedia)f human traffickingAmazon Link
  • **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 Q’Anon and their continuing efforts to disrupt legitimate, professional efforts to end human trafficking.
The following are additional EPF areas of interest for possible study and action:
Gun Violence (A bad year continues) As of October, 603 mass shootings and 437 deaths, 2409 victims fit the Mass Shooting Tracker project criterion. (Wikipedia)
We pray for all the victims of senseless gun violence. 
      House Democrats released a new Bill HB 38 which, among other actions, would repeal the recent expansion of the Ohio Castle Doctrine. After 2 years of virtually no action on gun control in Ohio following the mass murders in Dayton, the bill is still in the State and Local Government Committee as of 11/22/2021. Governor DeWine’s proposals have gone nowhere. Write to your Ohio House or Senate Representative and urge consideration of this legislation. Or, contact Leader Emilia Sykes, House minority leader, to express your support of current House gun control efforts.
Emilia Strong Sykes
House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes-Akron (the centeraquare.com)
Want to be more involved with Gun Control? If gun violence has touched your life, and if you are ready to get more involved in this nonviolence issue, please write to convener Bob Lotz at bob.lotz.epf@gmail.com. Includes periodic phone call-ins.


·       President Biden has restored $235 million in funds for Palestine, restoring part of assistance cut by former President Trump.

Key questions continue to be: 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.  .A group of baseball players standing on top of a dirt field

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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 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/
3/ A recent Independent article 11/16/2021 on Keir Starmer’s speech to Labour Friends of Israel
3/ Finally, join the Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Palestine-Israel Network (PIN), for ways to engage in study and advocacy in this international struggle. Palestine Israel Network (epfnational.org)
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. 
White House:
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW 
Washington, DC 20500
1-202-456-1414 (Switchboard)
1-202-456-1111 (Comments) 
This link still works and is current!  https://www.facebook.com/joebiden/
And this is current! (19) Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) / Twitter
***Suggestion #2! We’re taking a pause…stay tuned! In the meantime,  want to keep up to date on these areas above? Ask to receive our unique EPF News Feed re: our priority areas (and more!), gleaned from a variety of sources. Curated by Catherine Smythe-Zajc of our EPF team, just let her know you’d like to opt-in to the EPF bimonthly news feed: smythezajc@roadrunner.com. It’s our current source for many of the pieces of information we all need to go from simple observation to action. 

Notes from the December 5, 2021 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the November 7, 2021 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the October 3, 2021 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the September 5, 2021 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the July 11, 2021 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the June 6, 2021 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the May 2, 2021 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the April 7, 2021 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the March 7, 2021 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the February 7, 2021 Zoom Mini Meeting

Notes from the January 3, 2021 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