Art above, by Fabio Gomez, Lancelot Armstrong, and Richard Knight, is from the Death Row Support Project exhibit
The Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy works in Washington, DC to advocate for Brethren values like peace and simplicity in the context of U.S. policy.
In Romans 12, we see the call to be personally transformed and bear witness to the peace we have received. The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy seeks to live the peace of Jesus publicly by educating on issues and peace theology, organizing Church of the Brethren members and congregations to take action, and advocating in Washington, DC around issues of concern for the denomination.
Our denomination’s 1989 annual conference statement on Church and State says that “Christians and the church are called at times to speak a prophetic word to the state. When the state is doing things that negate and deny God’s will as revealed in Jesus Christ and the Bible, Christians must speak out, doing so in love and respect for those engaged in wrongdoing and those being wronged (Eph. 4:15). When the state is doing things which move in the general direction of God’s will and way (human well-being, justice and peace), Christians can give support and commendation.”
We take the Biblical call to use our voices to speak out for justice seriously. We amplify the voices of Nigerians impacted by Boko Haram violence, call for an end to drone warfare, raise awareness of the importance of creation care, and advocate on a variety of other peace-related issues.
Our office also coordinates with a wide variety of faith-based organizations that work on peace issues, in line with the 2018 annual conference statement on ecumenism. These organizations include:
- Center on Conscience and War
- National Religious Campaign Against Torture
- Creation Justice Ministries
- Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare
- Churches for Middle East Peace
- Christian Peacemaker Teams
- New book emerges from new international Anabaptist peace network
A new book titled A Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace: Global Mennonite Perspectives on Peacebuilding and Nonviolence, edited by Fernando Enns, Nina Schroeder-van ’t Schip, and Andrés Pacheco-Lozano, is related to the emergence of the new Global Anabaptist Peace Network.
- The Holy Spirit is the first firefly
This year I caught a glimpse of the first firefly next to a pile of refuse near our back gate, blinking beautifully and hopefully in an abandoned place. When we celebrate Pentecost we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. The disciples gathered in prayer, hidden in a room, in fear. While there may have been hope and expectation, it was likely tentative. I imagine it felt like an abandoned place. Into that place of fear and disorientation came a blinking light. A flicker of flames amidst a rush of wind.
- The new NFWM Harvest of Justice: Studying farmworkers and racism
The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy encourages congregational study of the situation of farmworkers, with new resources provided by its long-standing partner the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM).
- Chidinma Chidoka begins as fellow at Office of Peacebuilding and Policy
Chidinma (Chidi) Chidoka has begun as a fellow at the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C.
- Letter calling for end to US involvement in Yemen war is signed by 105 groups
On Wednesday, Dec. 7, a letter was sent to Congress urging members to support efforts to repeal the authorization for the US to participate in the ongoing war in Yemen. The Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy was one of the faith-based and civil society organizations that signed the letter.
- Webinar will focus on ‘drone warfare, tech assassinations, and the future of conflict’
A webinar sponsored by the Interfaith Working Group on Drone Warfare is the subject of an action alert from the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy. Titled “Drone war, tech assassinations, and the future of conflict: Theological, legal, and policy developments,” the webinar is planned for Dec. 13 at 12 noon (Eastern time).
- Heifer International board welcomes new CEO Surita Sandosham
Last week the Heifer Project International board gathered in Little Rock, Ark. Though I have been representing the Church of the Brethren on this board for two years, this was the first time I met fellow board members and most of the staff. In addition to physically meeting board members and staff, who I’ve been with for many hours of Zoom, I met the new CEO, Surita Sandosham. Having joined the board only 20 days earlier, Sandosham was still in intense listening mode.
- Faith groups’ letter to Pres. Biden urges pursuit of diplomacy to avoid nuclear catastrophe
More than two dozen faith groups, including the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, have written a letter to President Biden urging the abolition of nuclear weapons, and stating that “the possession and use of nuclear weapons cannot be justified.” The letter comes after the Biden administration responded with threats of “catastrophic consequences” to Russian Pres. Putin’s veiled threats to use nuclear weapons.
- Office of Peacebuilding and Policy signs letter on Cuba, statement on Iran nuclear deal
The Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy is one of the faith-based groups signing on to a letter to President Biden concerning Cuba and a statement calling for a return to the Iran nuclear deal.
- Taking action on gun violence
Action is defined as the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim. There are many good ways to take action, and while it is less important which action you take, it is of the utmost importance that we act and act together in ways that get us closer to our goal. During the month of May, the mass shootings at Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, N.Y., and Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, spurred the Washington, D.C.-based faith community to take action to address the scourge of gun violence in a few different ways.
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Office of Peacebuilding and Policy blog posts
The Arms Sales and Accountability Project website shows how to hold members of congress accountable when votes for arms sales come up in congress. Continue reading →
- What Would Jesus Do…with $813 Billion?
Barring political complications, by the end of the summer Congress will have discussed, marked up, and voted on a spending package to fund the government through the upcoming fiscal year. More specifically, this process will determine how much discretionary spending … Continue reading →
- Ecological Injustice in Lagos, Nigeria
One of the more visible effects of global warming is flooding, and coastal cities -like Lagos, Nigeria- are seeing a rise in sea levels, due to melting polar icecaps. As one of the most populous cities on the continent of … Continue reading →
- The Saudi-Arabia-Iran Cold War and the Looming Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East
by Angelo Olayvar “While recognizing our limitations in fully perceiving the complexities and ambiguities pertinent to the Middle East conflict, we feel compelled to articulate our concerns on matters which are critical in modifying tensions in the area and moving … Continue reading →
- US Militarism and Climate Change
by Angelo Olayvar Earth Day is an annual one-day event on April 22 that seeks to show support for the protection of the environment. According to the official website, the 2021 Earth Day theme is ‘Restore Our Earth’, which focuses … Continue reading →
- The war on terrorism and the erosion of human rights
By Angelo Olayvar It is exactly one month before the impending May 1 deadline to pull out all US troops in Afghanistan. The destruction brought by the wars waged by the United States in the Middle East against terrorism along … Continue reading →