The Christian Peacemaker Aboriginal Justice Team has undergone a transition to a new team name, after much deliberation and discussion. Although the mandate and vision for the team remains the same, the name change represents an effort to maintain currency within Indigenous movements for self-determination, and the team feels Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Team better captures the desired scope of its work. The team has floated this change past some of its Indigenous friends and partners who have welcomed it.
One by one, around the circle, participants held up their drawings, charting their lifeâ€™s journeys. Doris shared about running into the mountains to escape Boko Haram fighters, after Boko Haram killed her older brother, uncle, and several friends. Ibrahim told about the militants arresting him and shooting at him as he ran into the bush to escape. Elizabeth spoke about her grief that her husband and three children are still missing, and presumed dead.
Set in a beautiful rural retreat center, outside Jos, Nigeria, twenty-eight men and women came together for six-day advanced training in trauma healing, sponsored by EYN (Nigerian Church of the Brethren) and MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) in Nigeria. Peter Serete, assistant program coordinator of the Friends Church Peace Team of the African Great Lakes Initiative in Kenya was the head trainer. Each participant had already experienced a basic workshop and was receiving training to become â€śhealing companionsâ€ť to others. Out of this group, fifteen will be chosen to become a trainer and spread what they have learned more widely to trauma victims.
Pictured here: A Palestinian journalist takes a photo of Israeli soldiers during the weekly settler tour of Hebron's Old City. Monitoring the tour through cameras is one of the ways Palestinians have found for deterring some of the violence and aggression from settlers and soldiers. (14/05/2015)
On April 27th, CPT accompanied farmers of Kani Shaya, a village in the Bazian area, to a meeting with a representative of the company which is constructing a new cement factory on agricultural land. Some farmers of the community signed contracts with the company and sold their land. However, the monstrous construction also affects the adjacent fields, whose owners have not received anything. In the presence of CPT the company representative promised that after the construction is finished and the company begins earning money from the cement, the farmers will be compensated. In the meantime, the company expressed that they might be willing to meet the request of the farmers to provide electricity to some of their houses that they use while working on their fields.
Pictured here: This little girl, her mother and three older brothers received a 3:00 a.m. wake up call when a group of Israeli soldiers raided their home and turned it upside down to 'look for guns.' (05/06/2015)
At noon on Friday, 15 May, at government buildings in London, participants in the annual Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Europe Convergence joined other international religious peace activists to draw attention to the deaths of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean Sea and the culpability of the UK government in these deaths.
[Note: CPTer Peggy Gish has been working on a crisis team for the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. This piece has been adapted for CPTnet. The original is available on her website.]
Burned Church of the Brethren in Mubi
In my five weeks in Nigeria, I had been hearing stories of people escaping or seeing family members killed by Boko Haram, but these stories became more real to me as we accompanied a team from the Swiss Embassy to visit the city of Mubi. There, Boko Haram destroyed and ransacked the Nigerian Church of the Brethren (EYN) headquarters, schools, and burned several EYN churches. The Boko Haram soldiers totally destroyed a clinic at EYN headquarters. Among the groups of people we met who had returned to the city to try to rebuild their lives, I sensed that they have held on to hope, rising from their faith and their strong sense of community. Congregations continue to worship out under shady trees next to the church buildings that Boko Haram had burned.
Pray for CPTâ€™s Iraqi Kurdistan teamâ€™s partners who work with children, teaching peacebuilding skills and comforting those who had to flee from their homes.
*Epixel for Sunday, May 17, 2015
Children at Kobane School: "Peace is what it was like before the war. On the right you can see children playing and going to school, trees, flowers, and birds. This is what it used to be like in Syria. Now, there are tanks and rockets, people wounded and dead."
For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. Psalm 1:6
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.
For over fifty years, Colombia has been engaged in an internal armed conflict that has left millions of victims and a country yearning for peace. Colombians have suffered through unspeakable violence, forced displacements, kidnappings, widespread massacres, threats against unionists and human rights activists, and the social exclusion of indigenous, Afro-descendant, and rural communities. As part of the National Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia, we applaud our governmentâ€™s support of the peace process in Colombia and we gather with one message in mind: Tomorrowâ€™s Peace Starts Today. For the Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia on May 15-18, activists around the country are gathering to advocate for U.S. policies that will work with Colombians to end the armed conflict and support a durable peace. We advocate for U.S. policy that will: