Frequent Questions

1. Who are CPTers and how did they get involved with CPT?
2. How do I join?
3. Do I have to be a Christian to join?
4. How many people are in CPT?
5. What qualifications and training do CPTers have?

6. Who supports CPT, and where do you get your money?
7. How are CPTers compensated?
8. How much does your work cost?
9. Who are your teams accountable to?

10. Isn't your work dangerous?
11. Do you only work in countries outside the USA and Canada?
12. How do you decide where to go, and when to leave?
13. Why aren't you working in…?
14. Why are you so anti-US?

15. I can't join CPT, is there something else I can do?
16. Is there a local CPT group I can connect with?
17. What good is a CPT delegation, and why should I go on one?

18. What have you accomplished, and what difference do you make?
19. Is CPT a missionary organization?
20. Aren't you duplicating the work of other groups?
21. What good is a CPT prayer vigil or other symbolic public witness?
22. Isn't violence inevitable in any society?

 

1. Who are CPTers and how did they get involved?

CPTers started out by participating in a short-term CPT delegation, open to anyone with a commitment to nonviolence. CPTers are ordinary people from diverse backgrounds. They are students, clergy, engineers, homemakers, administrators, teachers, retired elders, farmers, nurses, academics, auto mechanics, veteran activists, and those newly on the road of active peacemaking. These CPTer profiles introduce a few CPTers and describe how they got involved.

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2. How do I join?

First you need to go on a short-term CPT delegation. Afterward, if CPT is a good fit, you will fill out an application to join the Peacemaker Corps - the group that staffs our projects. The next step is training, which is a continuation of the application process. Mutual discernment between CPT and the trainee regarding acceptance into the Peacemaker Corps occurs at the end of the training period. Contact us for more information or to talk to someone about this process. Click to Join a Delegation.
Delegation -> Application -> Training

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3. Do I have to be a Christian to join?

No.  CPT welcomes both peacemakers who are committed to the nonviolent community of Christ, and other people of faith/spirituality, who seek God’s will in their work, worship, and decision-making.  CPT does not have a "litmus test" to determine whether someone is a Christian.  On project sites, CPT works enthusiastically with local partners from a variety of faith traditions, and we encourage the formation and development of other faith-based, nonviolent peace teams.  CPT delegations are open to anyone, regardless of faith commitment.  Read our “Statement  on Identity and Membership.”

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4. How many people are in CPT?

CPT has around 30 full- and part-time stipended peacemakers and nearly 200 part-time volunteers who serve in violence-reduction projects around the world. This work is supported by a Steering Committee (board of directors) whose members represent organizations and denominations officially sponsoring CPT. Both full-time and part-time members serve for three years. For the full-timers, serving on CPT project locations is their job. Reservists commit to serve at least two weeks a year for three years.

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5. What qualifications and training do CPTers have?

CPTers are people of faith committed to nonviolence, willing to take personal risk in the work of front-lines peacemaking and violence-reduction, and able to work as healthy members of a team in high stress environments. Prospective CPTers first participate in a short-term delegation, and then attend a month-long intensive live-in training program. The training includes modules on violence-defusing role plays, interpersonal conflict transformation, security in war zones, the biblical basis for peacemaking, undoing racism and sexism, work-style profiles, and much more.

CPTers enter this work with a deep spiritual grounding and commitment to nonviolence. All applicants submit a personal statement and sign a statement of responsibility in which they agree to accept the risks involved in entering a conflict zone.

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6. Who supports CPT, and where do you get your money?

We rely on your prayers and donations. Christian Peacemaker Teams was founded in 1984 by three historic peace churches, Mennonite, Church of the Brethren and Quaker, and now enjoys support and membership from a wide range of Christian denominations, including Catholics, Baptists and Presbyterians. A range of denominations and groups are official sponsors. Thousands of individuals and hundreds of congregations make up by far the largest percentage of financial support. CPT receives a smaller percentage from grants and foundations. CPT does not accept money from any government or governmental agency. All CPTers fund-raise within their communities to support their peace ministry. We provide this financial summary of our income and expenses.

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7. How are CPTers compensated?

Our stipended workers (Full and Part-Time) receive a monthly subsistence support stipend to cover basic needs.  Reservists commit to fundraise a specific amount to cover the costs of their ministry.  Reservists are also responsible for their own health insurance expenses.

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8. How much does your work cost?

We estimate it costs US$15,000 each year to support one full-time field worker. While this may seem high, we note that the U.S., Canada and the UN spend roughly US$150,000 or Cdn$220,000 per soldier per year to maintain a war-fighting or "peace-keeping" capability. CPT's over-all budget is around US$1 million. We are able to keep costs down, because CPTers choose to live simply and stipends are based on what will cover their needs, rather than on what would support a middle-class lifestyle.  Read our Annual Financial Report.

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9. To whom are your teams accountable?

Teams are accountable to their local partners and inviting bodies, and to the whole of CPT through a twice-yearly review of their work by the CPT Steering Committee (board of directors). The Steering Committee is made up of representatives from groups and denominations that are official sponsors of CPT, some at-large members, and representatives from CPT's Peacemaker Corps.

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10. Isn't your work dangerous?

Sometimes - operating in conflict zones can be risky. But we believe that until Christians are willing to devote the same discipline and sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that soldiers dedicate to war-making, violence will always prevail. That said, most of the time CPTers engage in the rewarding work of relationship-building - drinking tea, sharing meals, making friends.

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11. Do you only work in countries outside the US and Canada?

No. CPT is currently based in the US and Canada and we see all too clearly the many systems of violence and injustice operating in these countries. CPT's goal is to have at least one violence reduction project in both the US and Canada.

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12. How do you decide where to go, and when to leave?

CPT places teams in conflict areas only if we have established a relationship with a trusted welcoming group. Sometimes CPT initiates contact with local peacemakers to let them know about our work. Usually a delegation or staff will visit an area and learn about the situation. We look for conflicts in which an international presence can provide protection and expand the space for local peacebuilders to do their work. When a situation becomes so unstable that violence rages out of control, CPT's work may become less effective. If the presence of CPTers is endangering local peacebuilders, we leave. CPT empowers teams on project locations to determine when they should evacuate an area.

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13. Why aren't you working in…?

CPT is a relatively small organization and we don't have the capacity to respond to the majority of the conflicts in the world. We wish we did.  CPT started with a vision that some day there would be a 100,000-strong force of Christian peacemakers who could nonviolently intervene in lethal conflict.  We think the world would be a very different place if peacemaking were multiplied by thousands of small teams of disciplined teams.

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14. Why are you so anti-U.S.?

We aren't. In fact, most CPTers are from the United States, and wish that the U.S. would consistently live up to the ideals of justice and freedom it proudly proclaims. Sadly, U.S. actions at home and throughout the world have run counter to these ideals, and as responsible world citizens and citizens of the Kingdom of God, we need to confront those roots of violence that grow within the United States. CPTers who are U.S. citizens are uniquely positioned, and have a responsibility, to speak to U.S. decision-makers about the violence that results from U.S. actions.

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15. I can't join CPT, is there something else I can do?

Absolutely. We rely on your prayers, on your sharing with others about our work, and your financial support. You can:

  • Sign-up for CPTNET, CPT's internet news service.
  • Consider going on one of our short-term delegations. You don't have to be a CPTer to join a delegation; you just need to have the heart of a compassionate peacemaker. Click to Join a Delegation.
  • Act when CPT sends-out an Urgent Action to contact authorities; this kind of home-based advocacy helps create protection for CPTers and our local partners.
  • Join or start a CPT regional group in your community.
  • Invite a CPT speaker from our list to present at your school, congregation or community group
  • Join a Peacemaker Sustainer team to help support the work of a CPTer in the field. Email timn@cpt.org for more information.

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16. Is there a local group I can connect with?

CPT has Regional Groups with which you might connect. Regional Groups are built around a core of trained CPTers and CPT supporters who work to reduce violence both in their local regions and by supporting or serving on already-established CPT projects. If a Regional Group exists in your area, don't hesitate to become involved.

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17. What good is a CPT delegation, and why should I go on one?

Our short-term delegations to project locations are an encouragement to local peace workers. Short term delegations can engage in important dialogue or nonviolent witness that might be difficult or impossible for a long term team to do. Delegates provide important advice for ongoing program activities because of the fresh eyes and ears that participants bring to the situation. When they tell their stories back home they augment the voices for justice. Delegations can have a profound effect on participants, and have forged transformative relationships. Click to Join a Delegation.

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18. What have you accomplished, and what difference do you make?

While this question is hard to answer with numerical data, we can point to many cases in which violence decreased and policies improved becuase of the presence of CPT and other similar groups. We know that we have prevented deaths and deterred violence because we have stopped armed groups from acting. We know that the people with whom we work tell us they are safer because of our presence and work. We know that CPT's work has expanded the "space" for local peacemakers to pursue their already-inspiring peace work. And even when the results of our work seem disappointing at times, we know that we are called to be faithful and not necessarily effective.

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19. Is CPT a missionary organization?

No. CPT is a peacemaking organization focused on reducing violence and protecting human rights in conflict zones. While CPTers have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, they do not proselytize. We do, however, have many opportunities to share the basis of our own faith and our understanding of Jesus' call to peacemaking.

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20. Aren't you duplicating the work of other groups?

Not really. Most Christian organizations are concerned with church planting, economic development or peace education. We are one of only a few groups with a mission to place trained peace workers in explosive situations to do "third party nonviolent intervention." We are regularly in touch with these sister groups and encourage one another and cooperate. We are wholly supportive when other peace teams do similar work because the need is so great.

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21. What good is a CPT prayer vigil or other symbolic public witness?

We believe in the power of prayer to transform lives and structures. A prayer vigil or other public witness brings the search for truth into the public place. A prayer vigil or public witness simply tries to connect the word of God with the search for truth in a symbolic way. We believe Jesus witnessed publically in a prophetic critique of the social, political, religious and economic structures of his time. In this tradition of Jesus - a tradition carried on by Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Badshah Khan, and many, many others - CPT organizes and encourages nonviolent public witness, sometimes called "nonviolent direct action," as a method of social transformation towards an envisioned Reign of God. We believe we must take our Christian faith from the pews to the public space. Public witness is an intentional way of offering our peace perspective to the wider community.

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22. Isn't violence inevitable?

This question is debated by anthropologists. Violence is a fundamental part of most contemporary societies. But must it be that way? Without the efforts of peacemakers, that violence might be more vicious, or transform itself into crusades of violence as occurred in Christianity during the Middle Ages. Our experience is that violence can be disarmed with the witness to peace, truth, love and justice. The willingness to give life instead of taking life has immense transforming power, as Jesus Christ has demonstrated when he sacrificed himself for others.

The human race has had thousands of years and trillions of dollars to develop increasingly destructive forms of warfare in the pursuit of peace and security. This has clearly failed. Now is the time to redirect our energies and resources to alternative ways, to Jesus' way, of achieving peace and security.

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