What’s this Peace Summit thing all about? On October 8-9, 2001, approximately 40 adults of all ages who represent a broad spectrum of NWYM met together to discuss our response to the September 11 attacks and the war in Afghanistan.
Monday: Our Hopes
- It has been hard to see how pacifism offers a solution to terrorism–hope for greater understanding.
- Want to balance what we can do locally with the national need.
- Share ideas that local meetings are trying in response.
- Try to get a broader understanding of what peacemaking means in the long run.
- Get ideas for how to share with others what it means to serve God in times like these.
- Prepare to use this unique opportunity to demonstrate the promise of the peace testimony, since violence is unlikely to work.
- To prepare Johan (and Joe) to represent Christ better during upcoming trip to Russia.
- To learn from others who have been thinking about these issues.
- Looking for direction for our local meetings.
- Want to more responsibly count (and willingly pay) the costs of peacemaking.
- Wants something to do!
- Asking “what did Jesus do?” and “what is Jesus doing?” applying it to living so as to remove the occasion for war; seeking some more words NOW from Jesus.
- What are practical things to do?
- Making peace work consistent rather than reactive.
- Need to review our educational practices.
- Optimistic vision-called to participate in ministry for Christ; Christ restores us and restores all of His creation. We are called to participate in restorative work. Rooted in scripture and in practice.
- We have such a wonderful heritage; it seems that Friends testimony and witness are so similar to what Christ has called us to do. Does my heart good to know that the Friends testimony brings people to Christ.
- Another part of the heritage that I treasure is the Friend’s use of queries. Queries are more dynamic and lead to engagement in thinking about the issues. Do something that is active not passive category. Think through the statement so that it leads to action not just set aside once it is read.
- Our peace stand is rooted in who God is and how God acts. Restores humanity through self-sacrifice and is rooted in all of creation. Called to radical obedience to Christ.
- Both wrong and right for us to talk about this as Quakers. Ethic of change from pacifism to peacemaking is that other Christians have embraced peacemaking as central to the Gospel. Need to not hold on to exclusive right of peacemaking but make it understandable by all Christians. Speak to broader group than just the Yearly Meeting.
- Humility in the group. If we do make a statement; need to start with a confession of our individual and corporate sins. Be willing to admit our fears, vulnerability, and our lack of ability to carry out the peacemaker responsibility.
- Jesus said that if we do love even among the least of those among us we do it unto Him. We need to find even simple ways to relieve suffering. Local communities are vulnerable; Islamic and Hispanic. Now more vulnerable than other during a time of war.
- Find some small way to send justice around and show that we really care as fellow human beings.
- One of the scriptures that we talked about is the one on reconciliation. We as Friends need to find ways to be reconciled.
- Our own experiences from our encounter with God could be used as a witness to reconciliation of Christ among us. History of first 300 years of Christianity could be helpful to show the importance of peace.
- During the first 300 years people focused on Christ rather than on nation building as Christians. Christians did a flip flop from being persecuted as a people group to seeing themselves as a Christian nation chosen by God with the right to conquer like the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. The problem with the Christian nation perspective is that it is possible to justify violence in taking care of the bad guys.
- What was the first century church’s attitude towards peacemaking? Love, nothing out of own interest but out of interest of others. Clearly, early followers of Christ understood that peacemaking as a central part of the Christian experience.
- Early Quaker experience of peacemaking went hand-in-hand with the other testimonies: simplicity, equality, and justice. Sometimes we feel guilty about our modern Quaker view on peacemaking because we do not live consistently with the other testimonies of the Christian life as held by Friends.
- Transmitting an understanding of others. 2 Cor. 10 Recognize that with those feel avenged that we cannot pretend that everything is nice. Spend time in corporate prayer that is fervent, heart felt and won’t let go. We know that there are advocates of prayer that requires being present and takes on praying against the evil. What if we sent people to stand and pray for those who think differently than we do.
- Christian Peacemaker Teams do this work of going to difficult places of conflict and pray for the people. We need to support, pray, and recruit NWYM people to do so.
- What if we were to go and serve cold water to the refugees?
- During the last year and a half the Newberg Friends peacemaker committee sent Carleta Baker on a CPT visit hoping that she would become a full-time CPT member. She returned saying: “What we need is me to be a full-time person for CPT, what we need is a two-week CPT member from every church in the yearly meeting.” This would revolutionize our commitment to peacemaking.
- The sense of not wanting to be a stumbling block in coming to Christ on an individual basis has been lived out as Christians towards Muslims. We need to find a better way not to be a stumbling block.
- We keep our eye on the goal of shining Christ on people, His message and the way. Peacemaking is the vehicle but is not the goal in and of itself. This distinguishes us from non-Christian peace advocates.
- Possibility of sending a letter to the President to suggest possibilities of being helpful: we could offer to mobilize our own resources as Friends to do peacemaking on a sacrificial basis on behalf of the government.
- Emergency Sabbath among Mennonites during the Gulf War for the time of prayer and peace work. Times for when a crisis calls for an Emergency Sabbath. Helpful for us to consider peacemaking as part of the evangelism/mission call.
- Proactive is such a hopeful word. I appreciate the desire to do something positive. As we think about our peacemaking possibilities that we will think beyond the Afghanistan/US crisis to think about how we can prevent crises down the road. What if there were peacemaking victories that we really won’t know about because love will make the difference in those activities.
- People willingly going to prison to give respite to other believers is a model of what it means to follow Christ seriously in doing peacemaking work.
- In our own church did not stand in prayer for victims. We did so as individuals and in small groups but not as a corporate body.
- MCC collecting heavy winter comforters
- Christians should go speak with our opponents
- Christian Peacemaker Teams
- Letters to politicians. Samples are available from FCNL, MCC, FUM
- Cultivate contacts with program mgrs,
Monday: What We Need to Work On
Monday: Emerging Truths
Tuesday: What We Can Do
Tuesday: 5 Initiatives
Tuesday: Practical Options for Peacemaking
Tuesday: Peacemaking Queries
Tuesday: Theology of Peace
Tuesday: Peacemaking in the 21st Century
A Letter to President Bush
Minutes – NWYM Peace Summit, October 8-9, 2001
Monday, October 8
2:05 P.M. – The clerk, opened the session. In attendance: 39 during opening session.
We shared our hopes for the session.
2:33 – Worship Time: Mark read a prayer: John Bailey, “Prayer for the Making of a Better World”
2:55 – Break.
3:00 – Small Groups to share about what their local meetings have been going through in trying to maintain a peace witness. Groups were instructed to record what we can learn from our experiences so far, and what questions still need to be answered. Attendance: 42 at the beginning,
4:20 – Regathered as an entire group, read posted notes from each small group.
4:45 – Convened to ask “what items are emerging as things that we need to work on?”
Mark suggests we work toward a re-energized statement (faith expressed as testimony) with practical ideas for what to do (faith expressed as witness). Groups to meet for an hour to compile list of truths from scripture that form a foundation for our peace witness.
6:00 – Ate supper together and had fellowship around the tables
7:00 – Gathered as a large group to report some of the “truths” that we believed were important that might be used as a basis for a statement expressing our “Peacemaking Testimony.” Following items were expressed:
8:00 – Time of prayer (Attendance: 40)
8:40 – Adjourned to meet on October 9, 2001 at 9:00 a.m.
Tuesday, October 9, 2001
9:10 – Mark Ankeny reconvened us, opening discussion for today’s agenda. Attendance: 29. Two tasks – writing a testimony on our response to the world situation, and working on practical steps. It was suggested that we also write queries. We spent a several minutes in open worship and prayer.
9:40 – Colin Saxton led a “threshing” session (he called it “worshipful brainstorming”) on what practical things we could do: Attendance: 33 (23 men, 10 women)
- Give input about balance in coverage, etc.
- Inform them that you can give a different perspective
Encourage them to be less propagandizing
Local Meeting level:
- Education on letter writing
- Education about draft
- Education about Islam, middle eastern culture:
- the Dynes
- Islamic cultural center
- Interfaith dialogue with Islamic people
Yearly Meeting Level
- YM make Bulletin board packets w/ maps, pictures, etc. May be able to borrow from MCC
- Explore partnerships outside YM
- How to support Islamic leaders trying to call out the peaceful aspects of their faith?
- CPT affiliation
- Send a delegation to visit with those with whom we have spiritual disputes, to listen, but also to confront (for instance: terrorists’ approach)
- Develop education materials
- Peace Trunks CPL — could there be a contact for the trunks at GFU’s Boise campus?
- Jolliff tapes
- Collection of peace histories
- Instructions for how to do public demonstrations
Prophetic Witness for Dummies
- Website with news sources
Can YM provide alternate channel for news?
- Draft for discussion
- Like the Morocco, Russia proposals
- Send a delegation to meetings?
- YM to finalize discussion
- Video to stimulate discussion
- With course of action proposed
- Include statement of principles, and deal with the awkward scriptural passages?
10:35 – Broke for refreshments
11:05 – Reconvened (Attendance 34): Mark outlined 5 initiatives, each with its own task group:
- Creating a resource packet of ideas for practical peacemaking
- Drafting queries
- Sketching a statement of a theology of peace, dealing with tough questions (like the role of government, and concern for the dispossessed)
- Statement of what peacemaking looks like for the 21st century
- Design a process to go beyond this conference session
11:15 – Small groups began work
12:45 – Small groups wrapped up, lunch break
1:50 – Reconvened in large group to hear progress reports from small groups. Attendance 28
- Group 1: Practical Options for Active Peacemaking
- Meetings in general should help members discern their callings. (This idea maybe should go first)
- Develop and maintain ongoing support for victims
- Doesn’t go far enough to express outrage against terrorist methods, nor to address commitment to opposing terrorism in the short run.
- Affirm the aspects of our government’s policy that we can: international coalitions, broad approach going well beyond military
- Affirm Christian role models, including Lisa Beemer (sp?)
- Can we strengthen the theme of personal lifestyle and its effects on peacemaking, including freeing up resources for peace ministry.
- -Statement that would wrestle with the hard issues, hard questions.
- -What theological skeleton are we going to wrap this around.
- Problem of trying to “simplify” the theology to much.
- What are the hard questions that haven’t been answered?
- Opportunity to grapple with the issues.
- Goal to raise the issues that need to be grappled with.
- Becoming a “peacemaker” is a long journey. It is a process that people need to go through.
- Some people could look at the evidence and reject it, or not be persuaded by it.
- We need to clarify the answers for people.
- How do I deal with the question of the “defenseless” being taken advantage of?
- How do we defend the defenseless without force?
- What are the alternative ways to deal with helping defenseless?
- Isn’t there a difference between crime (self-defense) and retaliatory war?
- How do we deal with the disregard of the Bible?
- How do we deal with “proof-texting”?
- What is our basic Friends biblical understanding that Jesus died for our sins and how does this effect our everyday life? Are we to live in the light of this relationship?
- How does our understanding of atonement effect peacemaking?
- Is there ever a time for force to be used? (Phil Smith’s work on force vs. violence)
- Does peacemaking work? Do we do peacemaking because we are called to do it or because it works?
- The specifics of the “target audience” will effect the presentation and information of peacemaking. The presuppositions that people have effect these specifics. These presuppositions have deep emotions connected with them.
- Are we coming up with a statement for everybody, or are we coming up with a statement that is moving out of our relationship with Christ?
- Our Faith and Practice says:
We believe the precepts of Christ our Lord and the whole spirit of His Gospel call us to live at peace with all people. Therefore we consider war and violence incompatible with the holiness we profess. We ask our leaders to choose nonviolence alternatives for sustaining economic and civil order. We respect government as an instrument of God to restrain evil and promote justice, and we submit to it in matters that do not interfere with obedience to Christ our Lord.
- We can’t force peace on people, but we can state our position and people have to come to this recognition on their own. (William Penn’s story of carrying his sword as long as he could) Listening to the “present Christ.”
- Non-coercive love of Jesus affects all areas of our lives. Call all people to the truth. Call out the truth in what we see.
- Does the kingdom work? vs. Is the kingdom true?
- This peace stance is related to all the rest of life. How do we view sacredness of life?
- We need to be clear that the peacemaking way is a difficult way. The price of peacemaking is enormous. Need to name this for other people so that they don’t see peacemaking as an easy way.
- Our goal is to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified and this is not going to be able to be accepted by all people. But we still need to preach. It is enormous and we are not going to be able to end war. But we need to still be faithful to Christ. We need to be ready for when people say, “Maybe war doesn’t work.”
- This is an ideological war. Killing people does not kill ideology.
- Are we trying to say here that it is what you should do or are we saying here that we understand?
- We need to start out with our faith and witness to others and not “force it on others”, but be ready and willing to meet people when they start asking questions, seeking. We need to give our own testimony vs. tearing down someone else’s testimony.
- Present an honest, observable, consistent, practice in life. We need to be living this out. May take much time.
- Using the model of Penn. Witness to what we believe, what we have experienced, and holding this out to people in a gentle way.
- Much work has been done on the “3rd way.” Jesus’ way. We can live this. Showing by our life we can show Christ crucified. We are trying to make peace by stepping in in a self-sacrificial way. We are trying to do this. We are living Christ crucified. Need to be willing to say what we are willing to sacrifice. It is difficult.
- We live a real relationship with Christ and see it working out in the practical way of peacemaking.
- Spiritual gift of peacmaking. People are sacrificing for this gift. It is a gift of faith.
- Peace begins within us between us and God and works out into the outer circles of relationship with others family, friends, co-workers, country, world.
- Have we focused on the center of the circle at the failing of the external “rings of faith.” We need to be outer focused and inner focused.
- Christ was very provocative in how he addresed faith and society.
- We need to meet people where there are and yet be willing to state the truth of living in Christ’s love and peace.
- Raising possibilites for people. What I do and what I say. How do we live this love of Christ into the situation that people are in ? The specifics will be different.
- Peacemaking is living into the present Christ and responding as Christ calls us to live. We need to be faithful to this life on an individual level and as a corporate level and be intentional in being peacemakers as we are called. We speak and live the truth out of our experience in relationship with others and allow Christ to change others as they are needing to be changed.
- It won’t be easy!
Large group concerns:
Group 2: Peacemaking Queries
We asked these queries among ourselves as we worked to discern how to respond to our peace testimony, and offer them to others for their prayerful reflection.
Group 3: Theology of Peace
Objectives for the group:
Hard questions that people have:
Additional realities that must be addressed:
- We need to be able to answer the hard questions:
- Defense of the defenseless?
- Distinguishing force and violence?
Group 4: Peacemaking in the 21st Century
- Speed of communication is so much quicker – easier to reach the world, harder to filter everything out there.
- Need for greater connections that allow people to understand one another
a. Personal level with our neighbors
b. Local level of our churches
c. Sister churches – intrafaith and interfaith.
- Publish these notes.
- Board of Peace and Social Concerns could use some of these things as grist for its next actions.
- Should we form a task force to flesh all this out to give us guidance for the future? Should we start with the existing peace testimony materials and update them for current realities and generate more ideas for what steps we can take?
- Timeliness is a concern – we need to find ways to respond immediately while there is a need.
Some discussion followed about how to carry forward the work in cooperation with the Board of Peace and Social Concerns. The group felt clear to form a task force that would work to support the Board by undertaking the urgent task of formulating how to proceed from here. Several members volunteered to serve in this group: Johan Maurer, Stan Thornburg, Tricia Brown, Mike Huber, Dwight Burton, Ron Mock.
Greg Koskela, and Ken Comfort expressed desire to work on theology of peacemaking. Also suggested that the website be used to provide an entrance to all this activity. Somehow create a clearinghouse for people’s commitments to
a. inform each other about what’s going on
b. help us be accountable to each other
Could be episodic like marriage encounter, or continuous (like on the web)
How should local meetings relate to the Yearly Meeting if it feels led to participate in a public demonstration or protest? Some thought this wasn’t likely to be appropriate at the monthly meeting level but should be left to individuals. Mark Ankeny suggested that local meetings should keep in mind the right of the Yearly Meeting to elder them about their actions, just as the local meeting has authority to elder one of its members.
Could we draft a letter to President Bush and sign it as individuals? The group decided to take a break while the task force met initially and another small group drafted the letter.