July 14th, 2015

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A week in photos, 3-9 July, 2015



Pictured here: Scouts group walking through the Old City in Hebron, which in this area is an act of resistance and steadfastness.

July 10th

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: IPS team supports Anishinaabe Water Walk from Eagle Lake to Shoal Lake, Treaty 3

Push 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen (tar sands oil) from Hardisty, Alberta to St. John, New Brunswick through a 40-year old natural gas pipeline. What could go wrong?

On 3 August Anishinaabe walkers and their allies will begin walking on the eastern edge of Treaty 3 territory at Eagle Lake First Nation and proceeding along Transcanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline to Shoal Lake, Ontario. The five-day walk is planned by the Grassroots Indigenous Water Defence (GIWD) to draw attention to the threat TransCanada, Inc project poses to the water and mobilize people in surrounding Anishinaabe communities.

“Transcanada’s pipeline is going through the process of consultation and approvals to push the oil through these lands,” said GIWD organizer and Grassy Narrows First Nation’s environmental advocate, Judy da Silva, at this year’s World Water Day in Kenora, ON. “These are the kind of serious water issues people need to look at in Kenora and in Treaty 3 if they want to keep the water pristine for the future generations.”

July 9th

GREECE: The blistered feet of the refugees on Lesbos

Since the beginning of 2015 the number of asylum seekers trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean has continued to increase; the tiny island of Lesbos alone has received more than 25,000 over the past six months.

Last year when I was working on the island of Lesbos the number was high, but nothing compared to this year.  As a consequence, some new issues facing the refugees and places for dealing with the refugees have sprung up.  It is worth mentioning that many of the new issues were present last year, just on a smaller scale and some of the new ones are the result of bad old policies and inhumane laws.

One of the new temporary places for refugees that has sprung up is called Kara Tepe, an old driving training field on the outskirts of Mytilene. Mytilene is the capital of the north Aegean island of Lesbos, which is the only place where refugees who arrive at any spot on the shores of the island can be registered.

July 8th

Prayers for Peacemakers, July 8, 2015 Oceania

Prayers for Peacemakers, July 8, 2015  Oceania

Please pray for the Christian Peace Pilgrims arrested for disrupting the ‘Talisman Sabre’ US-Australian war rehearsals this morning. The activists entered the training area in objection to the Australian-US military alliance, and to the human, economic and environmental costs of those wars for Australian soldiers and the Australian taxpaying public. Participants in the action included two members of CPT-Oceania.

 *Epixel for Sunday, June 28, 2015 
From left: Peace Pilgrims Simon Reeves, Rev. Simon Moyle and CPTer Greg Rolles
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Psalm 85:8-10
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

July 6th

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Teenage resistance to oil extraction

“These are my fields and these are my guests”, fourteen-year-old Ibrahim spoke boldly to the security guard who blocked the way leading to the oil field near the tiny Kurdish village of Haji Ahmed.  He and his younger brother Zaid sat on the bus with CPT delegates waiting to be able to look at their vineyards as well as the oil exploration site.

As we planned the visit, we had discovered that our friend, Kak Mirro, was serving his military time on the front against ISIS but his teenage sons were quite willing to show us around. We knew that the bus would not be able to navigate the tortuous farm road and so we wondered how we would be able to overlook the fields. However, we were very surprised when Ibrahim guided the driver onto the paved road and up to the guard cabin with the barrier stretched across the entrance to the oil field that had once been the village’s land.

July 1st

Prayers for Peacemakers July 1, 2015 Colombia

Prayers for Peacemakers July 1, 2015     Colombia

Give thanks that Colombian Christians at the International Ecumenical Gathering for Peace in Bogota had a chance to fellowship with Christians from other countries embroiled in lethal conflicts and share peacebuilding experiences.


  *Epixel for Sunday, June 28, 2015 
 Photo: Justapaz
So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

June 30th

NIGERIA: Women widowed by Boko Haram find healing in mutual support


Among the most vulnerable of Boko Haram’s victims, are the Nigerian women who have lost not only lost their homes and possessions, but also their husbands, and have to find a way to care for themselves and their children alone.  In my three months among them, I have met a number of such women, but three I have come to know more personally. 

One-year-old Hope crawls around on the floor of the reception area at the headquarters of EYN (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria or the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in Jos.  She has a quick smile and inquisitive face.  Every time she heads toward the door to the outside steps, Naomi, her mother, gets up and catches her just in time.

Naomi was working as a secretary at the former headquarters near Mubi, when Boko Haram attacked there on 29 October 2014.  She and her daughters, Blessing (18) and Hope (1) fled with throngs of others. Her husband, Bello Philip Mwada, and their three sons, Moses, Emmanuel, and Haruna, who left a little later, were shot and killed by Boko Haram fighters. She believes that her husband, a member of the Nigerian Police Force, was targeted because several times he found out that militant fighters were coming to a particular community, and he warned the residents to flee.

June 27th

COLOMBIA: “Cain, where is your brother?” International churches share peacebuilding experiences


International Ecumenical Gathering For Peace
Bogotá, April  8-11,  2015

Photo: Justapaz

There is no one recipe for building peace. Each country has suffered pain from war at levels that others cannot imagine. These are just some of the shared examples of wisdom that came out of the 8-11 April International Ecumenical Encounter for Peace in Colombia.   

The event drew seventy-plus women and men from around the world to discuss ways the church can build peace in the face of the ongoing war in Colombia. The group exchanged peacebuilding experiences from the regional, national and international levels. 

Representatives of Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Mennonite, Assemblies of God, Foursquare Church, Presbyterian, Methodist, United Church of Christ, Reformed and Colombian communities participated.  They discussed strategies to deal with lost loved ones, threats, and displacement from the ongoing conflict over land and power. 

June 26th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A week in photos, June 14-20, 2015


Pinwheels for Peace


Pictured here: The NGO Rebuilding Alliance led an activity for the children of Susiya—a village in the South Hebron Hills under imminent threat of demolition by Israeli authorities. The activity consisted of drawing the meaning of peace in a square piece of paper that was turned into a pinwheel, and pinned on a pencil.

“For Such A Time As This” Esther 4:14 –An open letter to Stephen Colbert

“For Such A Time As This” Esther 4:14 –An open letter to Stephen Colbert

On June 24, 2015, the children of the martyred Clementa C. Pinkney had to walk beneath the Confederate flag to where their father lay in state, in the South Carolina Capitol building.  That flag stood for their enslavement, their dehumanization. That flag was on Dylan Roof’s car when he drove to Mother Emanuel, planning to slaughter your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Black people—adults and children—all over the United States continue to be killed and brutalized with impunity by law enforcement.

Brother Stephen, you are possibly the most privileged white Christian South Carolinian on the planet.  We are not criticizing you for your position.  We know that you have often used your media platform to speak out for marginalized people.  Christians in South Carolina have told us of your generous gifts to public education there and we know you have made significant charitable contributions to other worthy causes.

We are asking you to do more.  Black Christians are asking White Christians to stop white people from killing them.  You could use your media platform to speak out against the police murder and brutalization of  communities of color.  Asking you, as we have this week, to use your privilege to take down the flag in Columbia is also a very small thing.  We know it is not without risk.  CBS executives may not like it.  You have an extremely slim chance of ending up in jail.  You could receive threats from people who want the flag to stay up (which is why we have offered accompaniment.)

But unlike Queen Esther, you are not facing certain death at the hands of a capricious monarch (Esther 14:11.)  And you have not lived out the violence that  Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Ethel Lance, Tywanza Sanders, Sharonda Singleton, Myra Thompson, Susan Jackson and millions of your black fellow Christians have under the Confederate Flag.

So make a statement, Brother Stephen.  Call on White people, whether they are wearing uniforms or flags, to stop killing and brutalizing black people.  There are Christians in South Carolina waiting to meet us.  Let’s take down that flag.

Today’s Open Letter is the last posting of the Colbert Campaign.  We are asking our constituency  to

  • go to and in the comments section post the link to this open letter and tell Colbert that now is his Esther 4:14 moment. Today he can start creating a less violent future for all the black and brown children in the United States.
  • For those of you with Twitter accounts:  You can send messages to @StephenAtHome.  We have no way of gauging how many are getting through or who is reading them.  Doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.  Good hashtags are #BlackLivesMatter and #TakeDownTheFlag. But the MOST IMPORTANT hashtag is #LSSC ( which stands for LateShowStephenColbert). Use pictures, if possible. Again, remind him that God may have put him in his position for just such a time as this, and that black and brown children deserve not to live in fear of white violence.  Use pictures. 
  • Check out:   Favorite the #LSSC tweets of other Brothers and Sisters who are encouraging Colbert to travel to Columbia with CPT and Suey Park. Doing so will give these tweets more prominence.

 To donate to the cost of the CPTers’ travel to Columbia, SC, click here. IF WHITE PEOPLE RUN SCREAMING THROUGH THE STREETS OF COLUMBIA, SC EXORCISING THE CITY OF ALL SYMBOLS OF WHITE SUPREMACY BEFORE STEPHEN COLBERT, SUEY PARK AND CPT GET THERE, the money will go toward CPTers’ travel to project locations in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Northern Ontario, and Palestine.