What Can I Do?

Practical Options for Active Peacemaking
Putting hands and feet to our Testimony
NWYM, October 9, 2001

The list below is designed to stimulate your inspired imagination as to how we, individually or corporately might live out Jesus’ call to be peacemakers, a central message of the Gospel. This list is just a beginning.

Some items below might be in specific response to September 11, 2001, some are more general about how to respond and plan whether there is an immediate threat or not. Some are for those just beginning to struggle with the issue of peacemaking, and some are for those who are ready to lay down their life for Christ’s teachings in this area. Many of these suggestions can apply equally to needs within our own country or abroad; victims here and in other countries; and perpetrators and causes of violence or fear here or overseas.

As you consider your role in these areas, individually or corporately, it is appropriate and part of our theology, to use scripture, the local church or the yearly meeting as a way to gain clarity and discern direction. Please be in relationship with sources of Truth.

Following each suggestion is a list of the possible role for the individual, local church, or yearly meeting to assist in implementation.

  1. Expressions of care and support, emotional and financial, for victims of violence and fear.
    1. Individual: Be open to where called personally, the open doors
    2. Local Church: Teach, promote the need to respond and give
    3. YM: Promote attitude and lifestyle
  2. Letter writing (politicians, newspapers):

    1. Concern re: human distress and pain; the offer of Hope in Christ
    2. Concern for providing appropriate justice for perpetrators of violence
    3. Concern about inappropriate retribution and reliance on warfare rather than biblical response and biblical peacemaking
      1. Individual: Do it
      2. Local Church: Education, display samples, suggest topics, event
      3. YM: Provide examples and addresses
        1. Letter to President Bush
        2. How to write letters/Samples/Addresses
    4. Prayer for victims, enemies, God’s leading and sovereignty
      1. Individual: Do it
      2. Local: Provide corporate opportunities
      3. YM: Call for a Day of Prayer, “Emergency Sabbath”
    5. Peace Conference to help individuals or churches consider options, take action, provide education
      1. YM: Board of Peace & Social Concern create them for regional or YM level. Contact clerk if interested: Rachel Hampton r25hampton@aol.com
    6. Peace and Solidarity Vigils
      1. Individual: Do it
      2. Local: Organize it
      3. YM: Provide ideas, instructions. See Vigils for one suggestion.
    7. Sponsor a Seminar for your church or community. Allow time for processing, sharing stories, looking at possible responses, interfaith dialogue or education, peacemaking, Quaker history, etc. See NWYM Peacemakers’ Summit material.
      1. Local: organize it
      2. YM: Provide suggestions, outlines, speakers, facilitators, YOUTH OPTION
    8. Speakers in worship
      1. Local: Create room for it
      2. YM: Resource list COMING SOON
    9. Sunday School Classes (all ages). Peacemaking, world issues, world religions, patriotism and Christianity, lifestyle of peace
      1. Local: Organize it
      2. YM: See Curriculums list
    10. Patronize Arab (ethnic) businesses (i.e. restaurants, bakeries, etc)
      1. Individual Be intentional about finding them, and using them
      2. Local: Encourage thinking along these lines, publicize locations
    11. Acknowledge and respect people in service industries (hotels, stores, etc) (who tend to primarily be ethnic minorities)
      1. Individual: Cultivate graciousness and attentiveness, see them as people, treating them with respect
    12. Connect with Islamic and Jewish communities/Mosques
      1. Individual: vigils, letters, cards, build relationships
      2. Local: Coordinate corporate gatherings (meals, events). Publicize events happening already. Publicize creative ways to connect.
    13. Contribute financial and physical assistance to helpful organizations
      1. Individual: Do it
      2. Local Publicize and encourage
      3. YM: Publicize helpful organizations.
      4. Financial contributions
      5. No More Victims Campaign
    14. Consider Conscientious Objection
      1. Individual: Consider it
      2. Local: Educate about it, support individuals, advertise to community
      3. YM: Assemble On-line and printed information
    15. Peace Packets (sent to high school juniors)
      1. YM: Board of Peace and Social Concern sends these out annually to help students consider their response to military involvement. Contact NWYM to request one. 503/538-9419.
    16. Demonstrations and Protests
      1. Individual: Participate as Called and cleared by faith community
      2. Local: Publicize or organize as Called and cleared by faith community
    17. Learn about the Arab culture and Islam. Let the people have faces.
      1. Local: Educate: Sunday School Classes, seminars, speakers, displays, bulletin boards
      2. YM: Create a package for bulletin boards
      3. Promote locations of information:
      4. The Center for Middle Eastern Studies: Extensive information on the Middle east, Islamic religion, current politics, culture and much more.
      5. Photo essay: Faces of Afghanistan
      6. Web resources for Afghanistan: select “Web Resources” under “Country Focus” on www.mercycorps.org
      7. Videos
      8. Real stories -> The Real Story: A Christian’s Guide to the Arab World – 6 part video series for small group discussion. Honoring of Muslims and the history of Islam. Reserve a copy through NWYM Missions director, Duane Comfort
    18. Consider partnerships with other churches and organizations committed to peacemaking, assistance to victims, efforts at addressing causes of violence
      1. Local: Publicize and educate and align
      2. YM: Publicize links
      3. Helping Organizations
      4. Peace Teams
      5. New Call to Peacemaking
      6. Mennonite Central Committee
    19. Tell Stories of struggle, past and present, of individuals endeavoring to comprehend and live peacemaking lifestyles
      1. Individual: Share fears, concerns, hopes, questions
      2. Local: Create atmosphere and opportunities for sharing
      3. YM: Create outline for session on the local level; put stories on the web. COMING SOON
    20. Create a Lay-Witness Mission format for sharing personal experiences, challenges and Calls at local churches
      1. Individual: Go on the mission
      2. Local: Create or Invite the mission
      3. YM: Support, coordinate, or design the mission
    21. Read additional and alternative news sources
      1. Individual: Find and read them
      2. YM:
      3. Alternate News Sources
      4. Middle East Media: Arab newspapers and articles translated into English
    22. Create Peacemaking taskforces or committees at local churches
      1. Individual: Serve on them
      2. Local: Create them and empower them
      3. YM: Be proponent for them, network them
    23. Join a peacemaker team to go and be present in places of turmoil
      1. Individual: Serve or support as called
      2. Local: Advertise, help individuals discern Call
      3. YM: Advertise and recruit
      4. Christian Peacemaker Teams an initiative of Mennonite and Church of the Brethren congregations and Friends Meetings that supports violence reduction efforts around the world
      5. Mennonite Central Committee
      6. Friends Peace Teams
    24. Form a Delegation to speak Truth and Challenge face-to-face in Afghanistan
      1. Individual: Respond to Call
      2. Local: Assist with finding clarity and finances
      3. YM: Publicize opportunity and promote prayer, investigate partnerships with other Peace groups who share concern. Affirm as an official delegation of NWYM. Prepare for financial support and financial follow-up.
    25. Advocate for appropriate reconstruction in the aftermath of war
      1. Local: Speak up, lobby. Check in with Friends Committee on National Legislation
      2. YM: Speak up, Lobby
    26. Collect Physical Resources for U.S. and Middle Eastern victims (blankets, tents, hygiene, clothing)
      1. Individual: Contribute or collect
      2. Local: Advertise need
      3. YM: Advertise need and connect with organizations
      4. Send a comfort kit to a child in New York
      5. Hygiene Share Kits for Afghans through World Concern
      6. Provide food, warmth, and shelter to Afghanistan via MCC
      7. Friends United Meeting is collecting for the physical needs in New York and Palestine. Contact them at: info@fum.org
      8. Save the Children has immediate and long term ways of assisting.
      9. No More Victims Campaign
    27. Be on or work with the NWYM Board of Peace and Social Justice
      1. Individual: Do it! Contact the clerk, Rachel Hampton
      2. Local: Recruit
      3. YM: Recruit
    28. Support the Peace Tax or consider War Tax Withholding
      1. Individual: Educate yourself and pursue clarity
      2. Local: Provide clarity and support
      3. YM: Publicize option
      4. The Peace Tax Initiative: www.peacetax.com
      5. War Tax Withholding information: www.nwtrcc.org
    29. Address causes of violence (the poor, disenfranchised, victimized) locally as well as globally. Don’t overlook local needs and agencies.
      1. Individual: Do it, publicize needs
      2. Local: Publicize needs, support individuals, do it corporately, teach about “causes”
    30. Consider simplifying your lifestyle, to lessen oppression, to free resources, to break addictions: both individual and corporate, including possessions and commitments and schedules
      1. Individual: Do it
      2. Local: Teach about it, do it corporately
    31. Create a traveling team of educators: Biblical peace support, practical peacemaking, Quaker history
      1. Individual: Serve on it
      2. Local: Request it
      3. YM: Board of Peace and Social Concerns create it, fund it
    32. Express Solidarity with Afghans and Arabs
      1. Individual: Give up something Afghans are suffering without, contribute appropriate funds
      2. Local: Challenge, educate, hunger banquet (provide experience), contribute appropriate funds
    33. Support and Publicize people who can share/teach regarding: peacemaking, conflict resolution, seeking clarity
      1. Individual: Make skills known
      2. Local: Invite to come
      3. YM: Board of Peace and Social Concerns COMING SOON
    34. Understand and speak to the emotional responses of each age
      1. Local: Inform and provide support
      2. YM: Educate, provide speakers
      3. Paul Bock, former Youth Superintendent of NWYM
      4. The X Generation
      5. The Millennial Generation
      6. Generational personalities
      7. Helping Kids Cope with Tragedy article from Mercy Corps
    35. Encourage realistic emergency preparedness for potential future violence.
      1. Individual Do it
      2. Local: Do it, consider how meeting and meeting house can be used, prepared
      3. YM: Promote and education
    36. Prepare for finding and speaking Hope in an escalating situation of violence
      1. Local: Consider
      2. YM: Consider, offer suggestions, resources
    37. Prepare to offer skills in an escalating situation (medical, construction, psychological, mobile assistance teams like GetAway GiveAway).
      1. Individual: Offer skills
      2. Local: Organize offerings, publicize and gather with others
      3. YM: Organize larger groupings
    38. Consider Medical Mission to Afghanistan or Pakistan
      1. Individual: Go or financially support
      2. YM: Coordinate, financially support
    39. Consider how to provide emergency communication in an uncertain future
      1. Local: Set up structure as most helpful
      2. YM: Set up structure to most easily connect between churches. Share what systems other churches are creating
    40. Meet needs of those who are scared to leave home (whether fearing ethnic violence or terrorism)
      1. Individual: Shop, escort, etc
      2. Local: Be clearinghouse, publicize availability
      3. YM: Encourage locals to consider
    41. Youth: accompany to or at school, those who feel unsafe, due to ethnicity or terrorism.
    42. Gain grants for specific short-term actions or preparation and education at local level
      1. Local: Consider and apply
      2. The NWYM Board of Peace and Social Concerns is offering grants to support local projects of education and outreach. Contact Board Clerk Rachel Hampton for requirements.
      3. Mennonite Mutual Aid: Grants to assist local churches or youth groups reach out to needy people in their communities or plan projects to increase awareness. Response to the “causes of war” and building relationships cross-culturally could qualify for a matching grant.
    43. “YM” represents Board of Peace and Social Concern, the temporary Peacemaking Taskforce, or the appropriate YM staff or other Board.