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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 May 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’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 matters…
 
Yemen -The War Continues Unabated…..
  • 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 “forever wars” in the Middle East.
 
  • 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 has paused all arms sales to the U.A.E and Saudi Arabia to study the situation. The WSJ has noted many of the sales may ultimately move forward as long as restrictions are in place to not use the military equipment in the 6+ year civil war in Yemen.  A current view as of 4/21 from the NY Times is here. Sales to Saudi Arabia proposed to be scaled back to be used for “defensive purposes. This review by Brookings is more comprehensive.
    • Item 1: UAE deeply involved in Yemen despite claims of withdrawal, experts say - Middle East Eye
    • More Congressional hesitancy on sales to UAE history as of 5/15
 
  • Help the innocent children in Yemen in their continuing struggle with floods, malnutrition, disease, water  shortages, poverty and violence through UNICEF and other global health organizations.
  • Doctors Without Borders is valiantly working in Yemen to help women and children receive critical medical care in Yemen. We can help DWB in their efforts under extreme conditions. 
  • Support the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) efforts in Yemen, esp. Covid19, by donating
Become familiar with the work of the Yemen Accountability Project at Case Western University’s Cox International Law Center. In September 2020, YAP published its White Paper #1, “Aiding and Abetting: Holding States, Corporations, and Individuals Accountable for War Crimes in Yemen” that explores the atrocities that have led to the loss of over 100,000 lives since 2015 and offers policy proposals for accountability actions. Recently released White Paper #2 “Starvation: Building the Case For Prosecuting Starvation Crimes In Yemen”. A webinar on this White Paper #2 is available here. This material provides background on accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity in general as well as in Yemen.
   
 
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   My inquiry to the Forgiveness Foundation: (feel free to send an inquiry to https://www.theforgivenessfoundation.org/)
Hello:  What is Gregg's status with Parole Board's recommendation 5/2020 and Governor DeWine's response for clemency. Why has this taken a year for inaction by Ohio Governor DeWine's office?
         Bruce Freeman, Akron, Ohio
·       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!!
   
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 Senators Brown and Portman supporting their introduction of a Bipartisan bill Protecting Rights of Those Exploited by Coercive Trafficking (PROTECT) Act.
  • “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 Referred to Committee on the Judiciary 7/2019
 
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. (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 of 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 Rough Spring)
 
We pray for the recent victims of mass shootings in Indianapolis, Boulder, and Atlanta/Cherokee County. Visit here for list of all U.S. mass shootings so far in the United States 1/1-5/14
    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 sits awaiting action. Governor DeWine 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 House gun control efforts.
 
Emilia Strong Sykes
House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes-Akron (the centeraquare.com)
 
Israel/Palestine-The Cycle of Violence Flares Yet Again·       President Biden has restored $235 million in funds for Palestine, restoring part of assistance cut by former President trump.
  • Violence has flared with the Ramadan holy month in April 2021 and continues unabated and intensifying as of 5/17). U.S. is taking a measured diplomatic approach, while defending Israel’s right to defend itself. Pray for a quick return to peace talks to stop the mass killings, and urge your three Congressional representatives to take a stand for Peace.

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

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. 
  • Sadly, while annexation is technically on hold, new Israeli settlements are still being added in Palestinian-controlled areas, referred to as “de facto annexation…on steroids”. Seems that  strategy is of Israel continuing to add settlements, but saying annexation is on hold for now. Trojan annexations?
  • 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
.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 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) 
This link still works and is current!  https://www.facebook.com/joebiden/
And this is current! (19) Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) / Twitter
 
 
***Suggestion #2! (New!) Want to keep up to date on these events above? Ask to receive our unique EPF Semi-Monthly (2X per month) News Feed re: our priority areas (and more!), gleaned from a variety of sources. Curated by Catherine Smyth-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 observation to action
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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