Visual Peacemakers

Aware that the images we consume contribute to our vision of the world, the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers has created a website to counter misconceptions through dignified and inspiring photographs of various cultures around the world.

Peace Challenge 2010

Calling all peace-loving Anabaptists! Are you willing to commit an act of peace – from baking cookies for a new neighbour to displaying peace posters or singing songs of peace in a park? Can we generate 225 acts of peace between Oct.1 and Nov. 11, 2010, one for every Mennonite Church Canada congregation? Record your act of peace on the 1000 Acts of Peace forum.

All individuals and groups who post their efforts will be entered into a Nov. 18 draw for Live for Peace toques and peace posters. Ten entries will be drawn. Nudge your friends and pew partners and spread peace! Story post deadline: Nov. 17.

Saskatchewan Churches Live for Peace

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Saskatchewan churches are launching a Live for Peace campaign this September.

The Saskatoon area churches have combined their resources to rent 5 King Boards for 8 weeks, September 6, until October 31. The Saskatoon area churches are:

Mennonite Central Committee joins efforts to minimize election violence in Burundi

The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) reports that together with partners it has formed the Quaker Peace Network (QPN). The Network's 200 election observers will work at polling stations during Burundi's election.

The group recruited and trained more than 200 election observers to work at polling stations on the election days.

"Burundi’s election season started in late May and will continue through September, with at least five elections scheduled during those months. These elections are the first since all rebel groups laid down their weapons in 2008, officially ending the country’s 15-year civil war," writes Chad Umble in a July 9, 2010, MCC release.

Every War has Two Losers

San Anselmo Filmaker Haydn Reiss has released a new film based on Amercian poet William Stafford's writings and actions in World War II. Stafford could not rationalize the biblical commandment, "Thou shalt not kill" with the actions of his homeland and the horrors of war. He became a conscientious objector during World War II.

Every War has Two Losers features Stafford's writings as well as a cast of writers including Alice Walker, Robert Bly, Maxine Hong Kingston and just-named U.S. Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin as they reflect on the influence of Stafford's words on their lives. Actor Peter Coyote puts a voice to Stafford's words. Stafford died in 1993.

Common Dreams reports that the "The 32-minute documentary feels more like a poem or a peace meditation than a movie."

"I belong to a small, fanatical sect," Stafford wrote in his journal. "We believe that current ways of carrying out world affairs are malignant."

9th Millennium Development Goal Recommended

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Instead of speaking to the G8 political leaders, Robert J. Suderman, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada recommended a 9th millennium development goal aimed at the 80 gathered international delegates at the World Religions Summit, 2010 that the religions of the world "... condemn religiously motivated terrorism and extremism and commit to stop the teaching and justification of the use of violence between and among our faith communities."

9th Millennium Goal Story in Canadian Mennonite

The Canadian Mennonite's July 12, 2010 issue reports Suderman saying, "This millennium goal could be as simple as that our houses of faith stop teaching—and stop justifying—the use of lethal violence between and among our own people.”

The leaders included Suderman's wording as part of a broader consensus statement called "A Time for Inspired Leadership and Action" calling on G8 leaders to honour decade-old pledges to the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

MP Stephen Fletcher, Minsiter of Democratic Reform (Canada), received the statement on behalf of the religious leaders and promised to deliver it to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper who hosted the G8 political leaders summit in Ontario from June 25-27, 2010.

Faith leaders representing Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Shinto, Hindu, Aboriginal, Baha'i, and Buddist faiths from over 20 countries attended the Summit in Winnipeg, Manitoba, from June 21-23. 


Pentecostals seeking to reclaim pacifism

"Did you know that Pentecostal denominations have not always been militaristic?"

That's a question posed on Jay Beaman's Pentecostal and Holiness Pacifism website, a site "dedicated to the history of Pentecostal and Holiness Pacifism and related topics."Jay Beaman's Pentecostalism and Holiness Pacifism Site

Beaman's site claims that between 5-10% of all conscientious objectors in the United States during World War I were "Pentecostals or

"I don't know if I can tell it again"

Itamar Shapira is a former soldier in the Israeli army. Today he is a refusenik and a member of Combatants for Peace.

During his service, he says he received an order to shoot an unarmed person.

Marina Cantacuzino of The Forgiveness Project wants to interview him hoping his story will inspire others. But he is weary of telling his story for five years, and is suspicious of yet another foreigner using his story, writes Cantacuzino in her blog at the Huffington Post.

"The only reason to tell a painful story is if there's a clear motivation to help others; if not it just re-traumatizes," she observes. "Itamar suggests that I look up his story on the internet and when I get back to the hotel I do just that."

She took a direct hit in the stomach

Rahim Musa, a 23 year-old Palistinian law student once plotted to kill Israeli soldiers at a check point. She was 15 years old at the time.

Marina Cantacuzino of The Forgiveness Project writes in blog for the Huffington Post:

"The soldiers, believing her to be strapped with explosives, starting firing and she took a direct hit in her stomach. Riham ended up serving a ten-month prison sentence, spending some of that time in hospital having two operations. Her decision to support a non-violent approach grew out of this traumatic event. 'I believe violence breeds violence and there's no choice now for me other than to find another way,' she declares."

"I would rather go sit in prison than go to Iraq."

Patrick Hart, 36, came to Canada in 2005 when he couldn't face another deployment to Iraq.

Though some believe Hart is a traitor, he has no regrets. "I've bled for my country, I've sweated for my country, I've cried myself to sleep for my country — which is a lot more than some people who are passing judgment on me have done," he says.

He and other war resistors - though ready to face the consequences should they be deported - are hoping a new bill - C-440 in the Canadian Parliament - will allow them to stay.

Canada's conservative government has been less welcoming of war resistors than previous governments, says a May 24, 2010 article in USA Today.

The War Resistors Support Campaign was founded online when Jeremy Hinzman, an Army paratrooper, deserted and came to Canada in 2004.

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