3,000 Miles Campaign of on Earth Peace Receives Lots of Support

Photo by On Earth Peace
Bob Gross on the walk for 3,000 Miles for Peace

In a recent update on its 3,000 Miles for Peace campaign, On Earth Peace reported that over 60 fundraisers are underway in support. As of last week, over $80,000 has been raised for the Paul Ziegler Young Peacemaker Fund. Twelve riding or walking events have already taken place, and those taking part have already traveled more than 1,000 miles toward the goal of 3,000 miles.

The 3,000 Miles for Peace campaign is a fundraiser for On Earth Peace that honors young peacemaker Paul Ziegler who had the goal of bicycling across the country–a distance of about 3000 miles–before he was killed in an accident in Sept. 2012. “Together, we are fulfilling Paul’s vision,” On Earth Peace said in the update.

Headlining the campaign is a walking trek by On Earth Peace staff member and former director Bob Gross, who is on a 650-mile walk across the Midwest. Gross reported by telephone this week that as of April 17 he has covered 450 of those miles. He expected to walk to the Altoona area of Pennsylvania by today, and to be in Huntingdon and at Juniata College on the weekend.

Celebrating Paul Ziegler’s birthday

A key event in the campaign happens on May 5, Ziegler’s birthday, at his home congregation at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. The church will host a “3KMP Celebration!” that Sunday from 5-6 p.m. (gathering music begins at 4:45). Gross will be welcomed to Elizabethtown as he completes his 650-mile walk and will share highlights of his journey from North Manchester, Ind. There also will be stories and pictures from other individuals and teams who have participated in the campaign and information about upcoming events in the remaining months of the campaign will be highlighted.

“May 5 would have been Paul Ziegler’s 20th birthday,” said pastor Pam Reist. “In honor of Paul and his passion for peace on earth, the celebration will conclude with birthday cake for all. Everyone is welcome to join the celebration!”

Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren is planning an additional event for all who wish to ride, walk, run, or even scooter “for Paul and for peace,” said an announcement from pastor Greg Davidson Laszakovits. Participants will gather at the Lancaster-Lebanon Rail trail on May 4, with registration starting at 9 a.m. and a send off at 10 a.m. The congregation has already raised over $2,000 towards a goal of $10,000. To join the effort, or for more information visit www.etowncob.org/3kmp .

Many events are held in support

Since the launch of the campaign on March 1, interest and participation has been steadily growing. Supporters and participants include bicyclers but also marathon runners, Appalachian Trail hikers, youth groups, canoers and kayakers, college students, weightlifters, congregations, and retirement communities.

Photo by On Earth Peace
A group walks in Minnesota to raise funds for peacemaking, as part of the campaign in honor of young peacemaker Paul Ziegler

Ideas for campaign events “are as diverse as our Beloved Community,” said the On Earth Peace update. A 12 year old at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Ft. Wayne, Ind., walked while on his Spring Break. A 90-year-old resident of a retirement community in Virginia has contacted On Earth Peace to ask how she can get her community involved. Student groups at church-related schools including Manchester University, Juniata College, Elizabethtown College, and McPherson College all have events taking place.

Youth at the Southeast Regional Youth Conference (Roundtable) on March 23 used part of their free time to contribute to the campaign. Said participant Katie Furrow, “We walked through and around campus (at Bridgewater College in Virginia) with signs supporting peace activism and peace education. It was so exciting to see the interaction between the youth and the community as people and vehicles we passed would throw up peace signs, wave, or honk in our direction as we joyfully filed past!”

Also on March 23, Anna Lisa Gross and 14 others associated with Common Spirit Church of the Brethren or Living Table United Church of Christ circled Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis, Minn., collectively walking 57 miles. They wore On Earth Peace’s “When Jesus said love your enemies, I think he probably meant don’t kill them” bumper stickers, and handed them out to interested onlookers.

Paul Fry-Miller, a member of Manchester Church of the Brethren, is planning a “paddle event” co-sponsored by the local Fellowship of Reconciliation. “We are planning a 5.5-mile afternoon float on the beautiful Eel River through North Manchester, Ind., that will include several stations along the way for brief stories and talks about peacemaking and our environment,” he told On Earth Peace. The Kenapocomoco Coalition members of Manchester University Peace Studies program will be camping out Friday night, April 26, in preparation for the float.

A group of bicyclists including denominational staff are planning a ride from the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., to Camp Emmaus in Mt. Morris, a 150-mile roundtrip to be accomplished over two days with an overnight at the camp. Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) president Nevin Dulabaum is one of the organizers and has invited other interested cyclists to join the effort.

Volunteer opportunities

On Earth Peace recently hired a part-time campaign organizer, Becca DeWhitt, to help staff the campaign. The organization also is seeking volunteers gifted in publicity, social media, data management, or outreach, who may have connections to bike clubs, congregations, or campuses where a ride or walk for peacemaking might be held. A number of volunteer positions are available. Contact executive director Bill Scheurer at bill@onearthpeace.org .

For more information visit www.3000MilesforPeace.org . To hold a peace witness as part of the campaign, contact 3kmp@OnEarthPeace.org .

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