Signs of the Times: Fall 2000 Vol. X, No. 4




by Kathleen Kern
As this issue goes to print, violence continues to escalate in Hebron and throughout the Occupied Territories and Israel. Following are portions of an October 15 letter to Kathleen’s family and friends.

The violence of the last few weeks has affected everyone here that we know and love.

The brother of one of our Campaign for Secure Dwellings (CSD) families was shot and killed by settlers from Beit Haggai, the settlement closest to Al Sendas mountain where many of our CSD families live.

The brother of Tarik, one of our CSD translators, was seriously wounded by snipers. From his brother's bedside in a Jerusalem hospital, Tarik told us, "You know I have always been for peace...Use my name and tell everyone I am not for peace anymore. You have to see what I am seeing here," he said, referring to the wounded persons streaming into the hospital's emergency room. "Then you would understand."

The neighbor of one of our first friends here in Hebron was shot in the back with a dum dum bullet (which explodes on impact.) A father of three, he had left the Al-Andalus mall because he thought the rock throwing and shooting were all over and it was safe to go out. He could have been saved, but the military would not let an ambulance bringing blood from Ramallah through.

Hani Abu Heikal, yet another old friend, was with him and was shot in the foot. We ran into him yesterday, limping and delivering coffee. He said that the soldiers must have put silencers on their guns because he heard nothing before he felt the pain in his foot. Every night there are barrages of gunfire into the Hart iSheik and Abu Sneineh neighborhoods. Helicopters circle above without lights on targeting anything that moves (which is how Tarik's brother got shot.) There are Palestinian gunmen in these neighborhoods shooting down into the settlements and soldiers’ camps as well, so what it sounds like here is 4 or 5 "pops" and then fifteen minutes of automatic weapons and missiles from the Israelis.

People are deeply, deeply wounded and angry about the comments of Madeline Albright and company defending Israel's right to bomb Palestinian cities in retaliation for three soldiers getting killed. "They said it was a warning," one friend said. "What kind of warning is that? We don't have the capacity to bomb their towns, to put all Israelis under curfew, to punish entire cities for the actions of a few. We have had 90 people killed! Why are there lives not worth the same response as three soldiers?"

Our Israeli friends are feeling helpless as they watch their government bomb and destroy cities and relationships. Some have been keeping vigil outside Barak's house demanding an end to Israeli retaliation.

Picture: Israeli soldier views burning tires and rock-littered street in Hebron

A recent team worship focused on the passage from Amos 5:24: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowing stream." Teammate Anita Fast reflected that it’s a scary image. Justice is like a flash flood causing chaos and destruction in its path. Maybe that is the way to look at the recent violence. The false peace of the Oslo Accords which institutionalized Israeli economic, political and military hegemony of the region and facilitated the ongoing confiscation of land, had to be crushed and destroyed and swept away.

Please lift up those who mourn in prayer, both Palestinians and Israelis. Pray for justice to sweep away the occupation and the politicians for whom polls are more important than human lives, for there to be a renewal of hope and dignity among Palestinians, and for our team to be in the right place at the right time.

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Hebron is a divided city with 20% – the Old City where some 400 Israeli settlers and 35,000 Palestinians live – under Israeli control (H2) and 80% with 105,000 Palestinian residents under Palestinian administration (H1). CPT’s apartment is located in H2. The team sent daily reports of events in Hebron during the recent outbreak of violence. These are just a few entries.

Wednesday, October 4 – At 9:00pm round upon round of machine gun fire shattered the silence. Israeli soldiers fired from the roof?tops on either side of the CPT apartment. The team sat huddled on the kitchen floor during 20 minutes of shooting. Later the team learned that Israeli soldiers had opened fire on the hill across from the CPT apartment after a Palestinian man fired into the Israeli-controlled H2. Israeli soldiers riddled the houses with bullets. The Palestinian man was killed and six other Palestinian civilians were injured.

Sunday, October 8 – When asked whether his family had enough food, a Palestinian doctor replied, “Food?! Food isn’t the problem. The problem is the soldiers on our roof! They shoot all night and the children can’t sleep. They are afraid! No one should have to live like this!”

Monday, October 9 – The Hebron municipality tried to deliver food to poor families living under 24?hour?a?day curfew, but Israeli soldiers would not allow it. CPTers took pictures and talked with the soldiers until they allowed the municipality to pass. A Palestinian family showed CPTers a “necklace” made out of a hundred M?16 shells, all of which fell into their courtyard from Israeli soldiers stationed on the roof of their home.

Thursday, October 12 – The team heard periodic bursts of automatic weapons fire and saw bright red flashes of tracer bullets shooting from soldiers' outposts into the Abu Sneineh hills, 150 yards from the CPT apartment.

Saturday, October 14 – The team spoke with young men at a clash who were enraged by the situation and hostile toward the American members of the team. One said that he once had believed that nonviolence was the way to resist the Israeli occupation, but no longer.

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by Bob Holmes

When I arrived in Hebron during the worst summer of street violence since the CPT project started five years ago, the Israeli settlers' greeting for a peaceful Sabbath – "Shabbat Shalom" – rang hollow. For weeks, the Sabbath (Shabbat) had been the occasion for settler violence in Hebron, set off by an alleged sexual assault on a young settler woman by a Palestinian man in July. Large numbers of settlers marched to the Tomb of Abraham, throwing stones and vandalizing parked cars.

The next Shabbat, 30 Yeshiva students started pushing Palestinian boys on Shuhada Street. CPTers Grace Boyer and Sara Reschly were spit on, called Nazis and had a glass bottle thrown at them when they intervened.

One day Reservist Jeremy Bergen called in from street patrol. "I've just been attacked by settlers," he said. About 100 Israeli settlers were gathered on the street taunting Palestinians in the market. My teammates were penned in by aggressive Israeli soldiers. Vegetables were thrown in both directions. Settlers walked freely on the street, hurling verbal insults, telling the Palestinians to get out of Hebron.

Palestinians, barricaded inside the market, shouted back. Soldiers grabbed an angry Palestinian man, dragged him over the barricade and arrested him. CPTers Natasha Krahn and Bergen were pushed to the ground along with several Palestinians as soldiers forced the crowd back with their guns.

We realized that getting in between the soldiers and agitated Palestinians could reduce this violence, and in many instances it worked. However, for three hours the settlers remained on the street and we in the market.

This lack of a peaceful Sabbath prompted the Hebron team to fast and pray on Saturdays for six weeks starting September 23 through October 28.

Members of CPT-Hebron July through October were: Nait Alleman (Grove City, PA), Jeremy Bergen (Etobicoke, ON), Jamey Bouwmeester (Elgin, IL), Grace Boyer (Hampton, VA), Anita Fast (Vancouver, BC), Andrew Getman (Washington, DC), Michael Goode (Washington, DC), Bob Holmes (Toronto, ON), Kathy Kamphoefner (North Manchester, IN), Bourke Kennedy (Skaneateles, NY), Kathleen Kern (Webseter, NY), Natasha Krahn (Waterloo, ON), Rich Meyer (Millersburg, IN), Paul Pierce (North Manchester, IN), Sara Reschly (South Bend, IN), Dianne Roe (Corning, NY), Jim Satterwhite (Bluffton, OH) and Gene Stoltzfus (Chicago, IL).

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by Rachel Beth Miller

On July 29, six CPT delegation members along with the Hebron team witnessed against the construction of 200 new homes in the Israeli settlement of Harsina, overlooking the Beqa'a Valley east of Hebron. With stones taken from a Palestinian home demolished there in 1996, we built a circular terrace and planted a small plum tree. “Settlement Expansion Demolishes the Road to Peace,” our banner proclaimed from a nearby retaining wall.

On this dry, rocky hillside, every tree and every patch of green reflects the love and attention its Palestinian residents give to the land. Our CPT witness gave us the chance to honor that deep sense of rootedness. Moreover, it was a cry against the systematic expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which leaves in its path demolished Palestinian homes, confiscated land, and hearts hardened by injustice. Delegation participants were Don Holsinger (Edmonds, WA), Sarah Koehn (Dighton, KS), John Marks (Portland,OR), Rachel Miller (Dallas, TX), Al Neufeld (Moundridge, KS), and Luke Stocking (Toronto,ON).

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by Jamey Bouwmeester

Esgenoôpetitj (Burnt Church), New Brunswick – Standing on the wharf, an Esgenoôpetitj (es-guh-NO-buh-ditch) community member looked out across the waters of Miramichi Bay at the buoys that mark the community’s lobster traps. “Sometimes I imagine what it would be like if we could fish in peace,” she said thoughtfully. “If we didn’t always have to look over our shoulders to make sure the DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) aren’t there. This could be a beautiful place.”

In my mind I’m transported halfway across the world to the Beqa’a valley outside of Hebron. Sitting under a fig tree and watching the sun set, a Palestinian man beside me says things almost identical to those I’ve just heard on the wharf. “Before they built the bypass road there were never soldiers here; now there’s a patrol every few minutes. When we sat under my brother’s trees it was like a garden in a dream; now they’ve bulldozed those too. This could be paradise if they’d just leave us alone.”

After spending more than two years with CPT in Hebron, I joined the New Brunswick project this fall. I was looking for a change of scenery and I certainly got one. One doesn’t have to look far to find vast differences between Maritime Canada and the Middle East. However, it’s been the similarities that have struck me most profoundly.

In Hebron a few hundred Israeli settlers, with the aid and complicity of the Israeli army, can hold the entire Palestinian population of the city hostage for weeks at a time. In New Brunswick, non?native fishers have destroyed traps belonging to the Esgenoôpetitj community. Lately they have been threatening direct violence and creating a general mood of incitement and anger, all with the tacit approval of the police.

Recently the DFO rammed and sank several Esgenoôpetitj fishing boats, throwing those aboard into the bay, then beating them before pulling them out of the freezing water. Yet it is the natives who have been charged with crimes. Palestinians are routinely arrested in Hebron for being the victims of settler attacks, or for resisting the demolition of their homes.

But the similarities between Esgenoôpetitj and Hebron transcend headlines too. In both places I’ve been welcomed with hospitality and humor. Homes have opened and smiles come easily. The way a little girl’s eyes grow wide when she’s thrown into the air is universal.

I hold up a mirror to Esgenoôpetitj and I can see Hebron. I hold it up to the Bay and in it are reflected grape vines. I hold it up to one face and I see another thousands of miles away. And I hear the echoes come from across the world, spoken by the person sitting next to me. “This could be paradise.”

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Treaty Rights In Esgenoôpetitj

The battle over treaty rights in Esgenoôpetitj (Burnt Church), New Brunswick captured international headlines and dominated the news in Canada for weeks this summer. CPT’s video footage documenting the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ (DFO) aggressive tactics, which included ramming native fishing boats, flashed around the world. Team members kept watch on the wharf day and night in order to alert the community to raids on their fishery.

After a sustained struggle that left them exhausted but not defeated, the native fishers pulled their traps in early October with three weeks remaining in the season. Already, the community is expressing apprehension about next spring’s season as interim agreements between the government and other native communities in Canada's Maritime provinces are set to expire in March, 2001.

CPT maintained a violence-reduction presence with the Esgenoôpetitj First Nation during both the spring and fall 2000 lobster fishing seasons. The team is currently engaged in a listening project to hear from the grandmothers and grandfathers of Esgenoôpetitj as well as their non-native neighbors.
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Picture: CPTer William Payne (right) accompanies Mi’kmaq fishers on the shores of Miramichi Bay.

Esgenopetitj, NB – In the choppy waters of Miramichi Bay, a Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) vessel rammed a First Nations fishing boat three times, cracking its hull before chasing it to shore. CPTer Matthew Bailey?Dick had to grasp the edge of the boat to avoid being thrown into the water. Another man was hospitalized for injuries sustained during one of the collisions. The incident occurred August 17 during an assault by eight DFO vessels in which two First Nations boats were rammed.

A few nights earlier, the DFO conducted a major raid in which they seized 748 native lobster traps and, according to observers, trained their guns on one of the native fishing boats that went out to protest the confiscation.
Despite such aggression, native fishers returned to navigate the troubled Miramichi waters, resetting their traps and asserting their right to regulate their own fishery rather than accept Canadian government control.
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Awaiting Trial

Fifteen members of the Esgenoôpetitj First Nation and three members of Christian Peacemaker Teams still await trial for incidents which occurred during the spring and fall lobster seasons. Charges include illegal fishing, obstruction of fisheries officers, and assault. CPTers William Payne and Bob Holmes (Toronto, ON) were arrested on charges of obstruction in early May while attempting to retrieve native traps confiscated by DFO agents. CPT Canada Coordinator Doug Pritchard (Toronto, ON) was issued a summons in July in connection with an incident he videotaped of the DFO swamping and ramming native boats.

CPTers in Esgenoôpetitj during August, September and October were: Matthew and Nina Bailey-Dick, Chris Buhler, Christine Forand, and Scott Morton-Ninomiya from Waterloo, ON; Jim Loney and William Payne of Toronto; Jamey Bouwmeester (Elgin IL), John Finlay (Walkerton, ON), Joel Klassen (Kitchener, ON), Gina Lepp (Harrow, ON), Pierre Shantz (Blainville, QC), Janet Shoemaker (Goshen, IN), and Lena Siegers (Blyth, ON).
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Six members of a CPT delegation joined residents of Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, October 1 in calling for an end to the U.S. Navy's practice bombing on the island. Two members – Angela Freeman of Kitchener, ON, and Cliff Kindy of North Manchester, IN – were among 55 people who intensified their witness by entering a restricted area of the Navy base. They were arrested and detained at the Guaynabo Federal Prison in San Juan and released two days later.

“Human presence stops the bombing," said delegation leader Kindy before entering the base. Freeman added, “It is important for North American Christians to examine their role in the destruction of Vieques.”

Other delegation participants joined 5000 Puerto Rican clergy, teachers, attorneys, and members of numerous civic organizations in a march and rally at the entrance to the base.

On October 5, Kindy appeared in court on charges stemming from a similar civil disobedience witness last spring. The presiding magistrate noted that Kindy was in violation of a May 15 court order barring him from “entering any U.S. Armed Forces facility in Puerto Rico.” He was immediately led away in handcuffs while the shocked delegation watched. Kindy was held in jail until October 10 when he pled guilty to both the May and October trespass charges. He was sentenced to time served and ordered to pay a $300 fine. At her arraignment the same day, Freeman pled not guilty. Her trial date has not been set.

Other members of the 10-day delegation included Moses Beachy (Goshen, IN), Cat Grambles (Waterford, CT), Audrey Miller (Willington, CT), and Kathryn Railsback (Seattle, WA). In addition to providing support to their jailed companions, delegation members met with Puerto Rican religious, political, and environmental leaders.

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In Dialogue we lift exchanges from CPT.D, an open e-mail discussion on CPT’s vision and work. The following dialogue was sparked by a CPTNet release describing the scene on the shores of Miramichi Bay near Burnt Church, New Brunswick at 11:00am on September 22. Several hundred members of the Esgenoôpetitj First Nation gathered to pray, along with their supporters from across Canada, as the deadline set by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) for native fishers to have all of their lobster traps out of the water approached. The anticipated DFO raid never came.

Martin Suter, Kitchener, ON: I am very disappointed and disheartened by CPT’s call for a prayer vigil in response to the DFO ultimatum. There is a time and place for people to resist the oppressor with whatever force necessary to defend themselves. The DFO doesn't really [care] about a handful of self-righteous, white Canadians silently praying that "no one gets hurt." What the government cares about is eliminating any sort of native-controlled fishery. As a result of the influence of "feel good" Christian and non-Christian spirituality within the native community, the will to actively resist has been severely dampened.

Kent Wilkens, Tobermory, ON: Is the CPT presence at Burnt Church a moderating, violence-reduction influence, or does it offer encouragement to fight the federal fisheries and set up a pseudo-independent state which doesn’t need to recognize any Canadian jurisdiction?

Phil Enns, Toronto, ON: I was disappointed to see CPTers in boats with natives during a particularly aggressive confrontation between the natives and government officials. CPT people defend the natives from our pulpits which leads me to wonder what CPT means by “independent observer.”

Andy Barenberg: It means that, when the natives start knocking over the government’s boats and beating them in the water, CPT will begin riding in the government’s boats.

Doug Pritchard, CPT Canada Coordinator, Toronto, ON: CPT’s primary role is violence?reduction. Members of the Esgenoôpetitj community asked us to be present on their boats with video and still cameras because of their well?founded fears that Canadian officials would attack them. Our experience in other projects has been that the visible presence of independent observers with cameras can put the brakes on those bent on violence. CPT seeks to be attentive to the truth held by every party in a conflict, but CPT is not neutral on questions of injustice, poverty, hunger and oppression. Canada is enforcing its flawed interpretations of "The Law" in an excessively violent manner and has repeatedly refused to engage in any serious dialogue with the community they are oppressing.

Phil Enns, Toronto, ON: So, CPT is neither independent nor playing the role of observers since you admit to not being neutral. I fail to see how such blatant support for one side serves the higher goal of peace. Justice and peace are two very different and perhaps conflicting goals. We as Christians need to choose one or the other and I always thought that we Mennonites came out on the side of peace.

Rich Meyer, CPT Reservist, Millersburg, IN: There are ways in which peace (cessation of conflict) might necessarily precede justice and ways in which some administration of justice (accountability for past wrongs) might be necessary as a context for peace. CPT is independent. We are not first nations nor are we DFO. We maintain an independent team structure and decision?making capacity free from control of either party to the conflict. Yet when we are in the presence of an overwhelming power imbalance expressed through lethal and near?lethal violence, we are not neutral. We can contribute best to both justice and peace by accompaniment, observation/reporting, and nonviolent intervention.

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CPT Calendar 2000-2001

· Middle East Delegations: Nov 14-27, 2000; Feb 14-26, May 25-Jun 6, Jul 27-Aug 8, Nov 16-28, 2001.
· Chiapas Delegations: Nov 17-29, 2000; Feb 19-Mar 3, May 14-26, Jul 18-30, Nov 19-Dec 1, 2001.
· Vieques, Puerto Rico Delegation: Jan 25 - Feb 4, 2001
· Burnt Church Project: Aug 15-Oct 15, 2000; Spring 2001 - New Brunswick
· Peacemaker Training: Fall 2000 - Cleveland; Dec 27-Jan 23, 2001 - Chicago
· CPT Steering Committee Meetings: Mar 22-24, 2001 - Chicago
· CPT Sunday: Aug 5, 2001
· Peacemaker Congress VI: Sep 20-23, 2001 - Joyfield Farm, North Manchester, IN
· Delegations to Colombia, New Brunswick, and South Dakota: to be announced.

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By the time you read this, our Hebron team may have witnessed the transformation of a very violent situation. By choosing to stay with the people of Hebron through the hailstorm of live bullets and rockets red glare, their red hats remind everyone – Palestinians, Israelis, church supporters, and embassies – that there are other choices.

I am astounded at how much genuine good work can be done by a small group of disciplined people who listen to the voices around them and act out of a spirit of courage and prayer.

For the last eight months CPT has maintained three full-time teams and expanded our training program to Ontario and Cleveland on a budget of $420,000 U.S. What is ahead in CPT? Your choices will help determine the outcome.

This year CPT has studied the possibilities of major growth. A consensus is forming to move forward to 2005 with expanded goals that could raise our full-time corps from 18 to as many as 50 people. We made the choice to explore this vision with faith that the resources – both human and financial – would come.

Some of you have been considering a three year term with us. We want to hear from you. If you speak Spanish you may be just the person we need to complete a team to Colombia.

While our kind of work is often blessed with showers of generosity in the advent season, we are conscious that only three months remain in this fiscal year and we have spent $64,000 more than we have brought in.

Here in the Chicago office we have a little rule: if you pick up the mail and bring back less money than CPT spent that day, you must return to the Post Office and wait for more tiny envelopes like the ones enclosed with this Signs of the Times. We need your help to keep us from spending so much time going back to the Post Office!

Join the CPT community in making choices for life and transformation often before there is a rational basis for hope.

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Mexico’s entrenched PRI (Independent Revolutionary Party) was toppled in both national and state elections this summer. In December, conservative Vicente Fox will take over the presidency and progressive Pablo Salazar will become governor of the state of Chiapas. All sides are staying alert to what effect the changing political scene will have on the Chiapas conflict.

In the highland county of Chenalhó, where some 10,500 people have been displaced from their communities over the past three years due to paramilitary and military violence, there is cautious hope that conditions might allow refugees to return to their homes soon.

In September, CPTers Scott Kerr and Matt Schaaf accompanied two members of Las Abejas (the Bees), a Mayan pacifist group, a few steps in that direction. Displaced Abejas from Yibeljój have acquired land about 1½ hours closer to their home village than the overcrowded X’oyep refugee camp where they are currently staying. It isn’t quite home, but a move there will enable them to work their own farm plots for the first time in three years. Still concerned about continued paramilitary violence endangering the relocation project, the refugees say they will work and walk the trails only in groups for many months to come.
Members of the CPT team August through October were Duane Ediger (Dallas, TX), Anne Herman (Binghamton, NY), Esther Ho (Hayward, CA), Tracy Hughes (Bluffton, OH), Scott Kerr (Downers Grove, IL), Erin Kindy (North Manchester, IN), Carl Meyer (Millersburg, IN), Matt Schaaf (Winnipeg, MB), Dick and Gretchen Williams (Boulder, CO) and Lynn Stoltzfus (Harrisonburg, VA).
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Chiapas Delegation Vigil

CPT’s July delegation continued a series of prayer vigils challenging Mexico’s Army to return to their homes. Many indigenous people in Chiapas feel threatened by the large military presence. The July 23 witness at Majomút, the key military installation in the highlands, included prayers of repentance for North Americans’ complicity in the injustices in the region.
Delegation members included Fred Bahnson (Brevard, NC), Grace Braley (Yonkers, NY), Duane Ediger (Dallas, TX) Ron Friesen (Loveland, CO), Joel Douglas Harrison (Los Angeles, CA), Len Janzen (Virgil, ON), Murray Lumley (Ancaster, ON), Matthew Pflederer (Goshen, IN), Allan Slater (Lakeside, ON), Muriel Stackley (Pawnee Rock, KS), and Shirley Way (Wallingford,PA).
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Training Vigil

Forty members and supporters of CPT, including 12 Reservists in training, vigiled outside the Mexican Consulate in downtown Toronto on August 22 as Mexico's President?elect Vicente Fox arrived in Ontario. Participants constructed a makeshift shelter of wood sticks and plastic sheeting to symbolize the living conditions of some 20,000 indigenous Mayan refugees displaced by violence throughout Chiapas. Four participants delivered 45 white flowers – representing 45 indigenous women, men, and children who were massacred December 22, 1997 – and a message asking President?elect Fox to follow through on his promises to end the conflict in Chiapas.
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Picture: CPT trainers, Len Desroches, Toronto, ON (left) and gkisedtanamook, New Jersey, NB (right) participate in a prayer vigil at the Mexican Consulate in Toronto organized by Ontario reservists in training.

CPT trainer, gkisedtanamook, was present at the August 22 prayer vigil in Toronto and delivered this Message from the Community of Esgenoôpetitj to the Mayan People of Chiapas (exerpts):

Sisters and Brothers we stand with you in your work for liberation and dignity. We call upon the Sacred to hear and consider our prayers for real peace, for good life, for your restoration that is yours by birthright. We are inspired by your courage and determination for simple justice. We call upon the people of Canada and Mexico to honor their international commitments of peace and human rights for our peoples to live without tyranny, without state-orchestrated violence and terror, and the chaos such actions have brought to our peoples. May the Sacred fill your hearts with the love we share for you and bond our destinies together to unite our unborn generations in the great and true law of the heart.

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Picture: Participants in the Ontario regional training were – standing (left to right): Jim Loney (Toronto), Ellis Brown (Kitchener), Vern Reidiger (Toronto), Dorothy McDougall (Toronto, unable to complete due to illness), Art Arbour (Toronto), and George Weber (Chesley); seated (left to right): Murray Lumley (Ancaster), Krista Lord (Waterloo), Paul Neufeld Weaver (Worthington, MN), Rebecca Johnson (Parry Sound), Jane Pritchard (Toronto), Nathan Bender (Toronto), and John Sherman (Dayton, OH).

Kitchener, Ontario – Twelve people completed CPT’s rigorous 72-hour training curriculum which focused on action, reflection and practice of a variety of peacemaking skills to become members of CPT’s Reserve Corps in August.
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Cleveland, Ohio – Fourteen Reserve Corps applicants, all from the Lee Heights Community Church in Cleveland, will spend the first weekend of each month in training beginning November 4, 2000 through May 6, 2001. “We want to form a disciplined peace team that can respond to violence throughout this city,” said pastor Robin Miller. The training for this new CPT regional group will focus heavily on urban violence reduction, something with which the participants already have firsthand experience since the church is located in an area where drug dealing and crime are common.

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Menno Klassen

Menno Klassen, longtime CPT supporter and friend, died of a brain tumor September 16 in Winnipeg, MB. Klassen, 83, was part of CPT’s November 1996 Chiapas delegation and “a firm voice for justice, kindness and peace,” says CPT director Gene Stoltzfus. We will miss his wonderful and persistent example.

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For the first time since CPT’s Peacemaker Corps began in 1993, all fifteen full-time workers were called in from the field for five days of R, R, R & R (Rest, Recreation, Reunion and Reflection). They were joined by CPT staff, representatives from the Steering Committee and a handful of folks from the 83-member Reserve Corps at Joyfield Farm near North Manchester, IN, August 9-13. Faithful Reservists carried on CPT’s violence-reduction work in Hebron, Chiapas, and New Brunswick during the retreat.

Discussions focused heavily on the vision for CPT’s growth intertwined with periods of daily worship, sharing joys and concerns common to team work in three countries, eclectic talent shows, and individual blessings by CPT “elders.” Recommendations from the retreat were fed into the October 19-21 Steering Committee meetings as a year-long consultation process concerning the vision for CPT’s future draws to a close.

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by Kathy Kern on the occasion of the final worship at the CPT Retreat.

Blessed are those who recognize their spiritual inadequacies, for they will cut their co?workers some slack, and be respectful of the faith traditions of others.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be able to enter into the lives of the oppressed and exploited.

Blessed are the meek, for they will make room for their co?workers to express new ideas, move in new directions and make mistakes.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be able to put jealousies, quarrels and irritations aside to focus on challenging the violence of the domination system.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will give their co?workers a second chance after dumb mistakes and hurtful words and behaviors. And maybe, just maybe, they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart – wherever they may be.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for sometimes, through the grace of God and the prayers of the faithful, they actually manage to make peace.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake; who are interrupted, slighted and denigrated by their co-workers; who are called "Squalor on the Face of the Earth," and "Nazis;" who are spit on, attacked and slandered by agents of the status quo; who develop a variety of interesting tropical diseases; who are reviled for coming from a life of privilege; who bear scars from a life of deprivation; who are laughed at for saying stupid things; who are willing to continue working for peace after they have been humiliated; who choose to witness and participate in the pain caused by atrocities, massacres and systemic violence.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for you are a part of the cloud of witnesses who will bless the peacemakers coming after you; for you are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world; and yours is the kingdom of Heaven.
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You people are completely insane. Toys and war games do not make violent children. I did all of them growing up and now I am an officer in the U.S. Army doing it for real.

As a Christian Mi'kmaq from Newfoundland, I am very concerned about the situation at Burnt Church, New Brunswick. When I watched the news and saw that your group was present in Burnt Church and actively seeking to mediate a nonviolent end to the dispute I was overjoyed.
Denise Spencer

We’re remodeling our kitchen and thought about those in Hebron who are not allowed to build on their houses. We build without fear. They live in constant fear that any day what they have may be demolished. So we contributed some of our remodeling funds to CPT’s efforts in Hebron.

I wanted to congratulate the CPT Team in Esgenoôpetitj. It is a pleasure to share this important work with sensitive, thoughtful and Spiritual people. Undoubtedly, the Grandmothers and Grandfathers are smiling as they watch the Rainbow of warriors at work for peace, justice and cooperation.
Willi Nolan
New Brunswick
Note: Willi Nolan is a Mi’kmaq woman who played a key role in making the connections that led to CPT’s invitation to Burnt Church.

I asked my brother to buy me a pair of binoculars for sky and bird watching. I thought they might be pretty expensive, and, since I can't retain personal property as a Sister, this would be my last 'fling' at spending money before taking vows. I wouldn't have dreamed of doing so if I had known how much they really cost and felt very guilty using them. I think we all know that God simply had other things in mind!!!
Sisters of St. John the Divine
Note: Sr. Peta-Ann donated the exceptionally high-quality binoculars to the New Brunswick team for use when keeping watch on the wharf.

Just a note to let you know that we print off your prayer requests and place them on our altar each day to be offered along with our Eucharistic liturgy here at Cana House.
Larry and Mary Hansen,
Portland, OR

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CPT Visits War College Brass

– Following a series of monthly vigils at the entrance to the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA, six CPT representatives sat around a huge conference table with Commanding General Robert Ivany and five of his colleagues, including Col. George Oliver, head of the U.S. Army’s Peacekeeping Institute on September 26. The War College trains senior army personnel – including Israeli military officers – in strategic studies. CPTers urged college staff to integrate nonviolence into their curriculum and develop a corps of unarmed peacekeepers. “The fruit we reap will not be any better than the seeds we sow,” cautioned John Stoner, CPT Steering Committee Chair from Akron, PA. Added CPT Reservist Elayne McClanen of Carlisle, PA, "Peace is not passive or utopian. It is creative, conflictual, disagreeing, but does not include killing one another.” Stoner and McClanen were joined by CPT supporters Lenore Dusold (Reading, PA), Carmen Pauls (Henderson, NE), and Harold Penner and Justin Shenk (Akron, PA).


Am-Bushed on Oprah

– Two members of Voices in the Wilderness, a group which has advocated tirelessly for ending U.S.-supported United Nations sanctions against Iraq, attended the airing of Oprah Winfrey’s TV show on September 18 when presidential candidate George W. Bush was a featured guest. The two passed out roses commemorating Iraqi children who have died as a result of the sanctions to the line of people waiting to enter the studio, which is located six blocks from CPT’s Chicago office. After challenging Bush with questions about the U.S. sanctions policy, the men were escorted out of the studio.


CPTer Disarms Warthog

– Sr. Anne Montgomery (Brooklyn, NY), who recently completed four years of full-time service with CPT-Hebron, was among five Roman Catholic sisters who entered the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs on September 9. The women hammered and poured blood on a mockup of a Milstar communications satellite and a Warthog A?10 aircraft during an air show. The satellite is designed for communication during a nuclear war. The aircraft was used extensively during the Gulf War and is still active in bombing Iraq. Following a flood of media coverage, all charges were dropped and the women were released from jail on September 16. Montgomery (73), who was part of the first Plowshares action twenty years ago at the King of Prussia G.E. Plant said, “I realized then that if there is a weapon before me, I must disarm it.” By mid-October, Montgomery rejoined CPT full-time and began a three-month assignment in Hebron.


Our Best Hope?

– According to Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, “...nuclear weapons represent our best hope for maintaining freedom, independence, and a healthy balance of power in today’s volatile world.” Dr. Dobson’s statement came in response to a letter of concern sent by CPT supporters as part of CPT Sunday’s focus on nuclear disarmament. CPT asked churches to observe August 6 – the day the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945 – by writing to prominent religious leaders asking them to take a stand against the production and threatened use of nuclear weapons.

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¿Habla Español?: In the wake of the U.S. congressional approval of $1.3 billion in aid to the Colombian government – almost 90% in military assistance – the call from Colombian Mennonite churches for international peace teams grows more urgent. CPT needs courageous, experienced, Spanish-speaking peacemakers if we are to respond to this invitation. If that still, small voice just won’t leave you alone, call us now.

Violence is Not Child’s Play: With the holiday shopping season upon us, CPT invites churches and groups to join the Violence is Not Child’s Play: 500 Churches for Change campaign. Through the campaign, your group will 1) conduct inspections of area retailers to rate violent content in toy and video/computer games sections; 2) initiate conversations with store managers and corporate executives; 3) work with the media to inform and educate the public about your findings; and 4) follow up with local stores, urging them to reduce or eliminate their inventory of toys and games that promote violence. The first 100 organizing packets, which contain background information, step-by-step guides and sample materials, have already been distributed. Contact CPT to order your packet! $5 donation requested.

Portraits for Peace: CPTer Dianne Roe is offering her services as a portrait artist to raise money for CPT. 12"x16" or 12"x18" portraits are available from your photograph in pastel ($60 for one person; $30 for each additional person in the photo) or charcoal ($45 for one; $20 for each additional person). Portrait miniatures painted on Christmas ornaments are also available for $60. Send photo and check to CPT at our Chicago office. On the back of the photo, please write your name and address and indicate whether you want your portrait in pastel (include hair and eye color) or charcoal. Place orders early for holiday gift-giving!

Christmas Peace Pilgrimage: The 41st annual Nazareth to Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) Peace Pilgrimage will take place on December 9, 2000. CPT Director, Gene Stoltzfus, will be the featured speaker. For more information contact John Stoner; 717-859-1958;

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Signs of the Times is produced four times a year. Batches of 10 or more are available to institutions, congregations and local groups for distribution. Any part of Signs of the Times may be used without permission. Please send CPT a copy of the reprint. Your contributions finance CPT ministries including the distribution of 8500 copies of Signs of the Times.

The work of CPT is guided by a twelve-person STEERING COMMITTEE: Bob Bartel, Anne Blackwood-Chirchir, Paul Dodd, Pat Hostetter Martin, Cliff Kindy, Nancy Maeder, Orlando Redekopp, Hedy Sawadsky, Mary Scott Boria, Muriel Stackley, John Stoner, Dorothy Jean Weaver.

CPT STAFF: Gene Stoltzfus - Director, Claire Evans - Administrative Coordinator, Kryss Chupp - Training Coordinator – Chicago, IL; Jan Long,Christian Peacemaker Corps Coordinator - Blacksburg, VA; Rich Meyer,Campaign for Secure Dwellings Coordinator - Millersburg, IN; Doug Pritchard, CPT Canada Coordinator - Toronto,ON.

CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER CORPS: Jamey Bouwmeester (Elgin, IL), Claire Evans (Chicago, IL), Anita Fast (Vancouver, BC), Matt Guynn (Richmond, IN), Anne Herman (Binghamton, NY), Kathleen Kern (Webster, NY), Scott Kerr (Downers Grove, IL), Cliff Kindy (North Manchester, IN), Natasha Krahn (Waterloo, ON), Anne Montgomery (Brooklyn, NY), William Payne (Toronto, ON), Rick Polhamus (Fletcher, OH), Dianne Roe (Corning, NY), Pierre Shantz (Blainville, QC), Janet Shoemaker (Goshen, IN), Lena Siegers (Blyth, ON), Lynn Stoltzfus (Harrisonburg, VA).

Diego Mendez (Chiapas team); Charlene Gardner and Andrew Horst (Chicago office); Nafiz Assaily, Andrew Getman, Kathy Kapenga, Zleekha Mutahseb, Abdelhay Natsche (Hebron team); Jim Hett, Tom Yoder-Neufeldt, St. Jacobs and Stirling Ave. Mennonite Churches (Ontario training), the Kindy family (Corps retreat), Gary Good (Web Page); PLUS the indispensable team of Chicago volunteers that make our newsletter mailings possible! Special thanks to many Ontario CPTers and the New Brunswick team who contributed to the Ontario training.