Apr 30, 2013

Gather Round for Peace with Justice

We have some wonderful news! In two months, LPF members from across the U.S. will come together for discussion and fellowship, renewal and fun.

The National LPF Gathering will take place this July 4-7, and you are invited! Enjoy a variety of workshops, great speakers, music, fun, and fellowship in a delightful natural setting -- along a beautiful lagoon, surrounded by trees and flowers, with the Olympic Mountains as backdrop.

Join us for three days of learning, sharing, and support as we examine peacemaking strategies and vision, encourage one another, strengthen our network, and explore the potential of nonviolence — how it can be used to confront injustice, and express our compassion toward all. This coming together of LPF members will be enriched by being held with the annual northwest Fellowship of Reconciliation gathering. LPF members who have gone to this event for years say it is one of the most inspiring and effective peace and justice experiences they know of.

"So many things about the event are noteworthy – an LPF-led plenary panel on peace efforts in religious communities, a wonderful array of 21 workshops, terrific music, and time to enjoy one of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable: charming cottages and meeting spaces, summer colors at their peak, mountains rising above the water to the west.

Join us as we strengthen and renew our commitment and understanding to continue this important work. Other features of the event include a half dozen activities in the arts, great meals including a salmon bake, and a room filled with peace books, crafts, and music. We can help with rides from the airport and scholarship assistance. (In fact, if you can't go yourself, there may be someone in your congregation or network who could do so, and come back and share what they've learned.  And you and a few others could help them with their travel and  registration costs if needed.)

Interested in joining us? For more information, you can contact our national coordinator Glen Gersmehl: ggersmehl@hotmail.com or 206-349-2501. Click on the following words for further information on speakers, workshop descriptions, the schedule, or logistics, as well as the registration form (in Word, pdf, or online), accomodations & services available, and directions to Seabeck. For general information, go to www.wwfor.org and click on Seabeck, then on the underlined topic you wish to explore.

Please share this information with others who might be interested, and please, consider being part of this extraordinary event!

Workshop descriptions: www.wwfor.org/projects/seabeck-conference-workshops/

Conference schedule: www.wwfor.org/projects/seabeck-conference-schedule-of-events/

General info with more links: www.wwfor.org/projects/seabeck-conference-2013/

Apr 9, 2013

A New Vision of Peacemaking – LPF strengthens its core focus

Lutheran Peace Fellowship held four conference calls in recent weeks with LPF leaders in every part of the country.  We discussed issues we care about:  gun violence, conflicts around the globe, militarism. . . -- and how LPF might be more effective in confronting these challenges.  We also discussed how we can make the most of LPF’s national gathering this summer to strengthen our program and our connections and friendships with one another.
More of what we explored is shared in a new resource entitled, “A New Vision of Peacemaking” – and a letter to you and LPF members more widely. Here are some highlights:

  • To strengthen our core focus:  to confront violence and war, militarism and injustice; and to share the alternative Jesus taught – the biblical vision of Shalom, of active nonviolence. 
  • To support LPF members in taking effective action on today’s pressing issues – gun control and soaring military budgets, veterans’ issues and youth facing military service. . . .
  • To share LPF activities and resources with friends and co-workers, and also with our congregation to encourage their use in adult forums, youth group, etc.

We also noted that in some cases, there are relatively few Lutheran voices lifting up these issues and offering advocacy opportunities and resources.  LPF re-committed to changing that.  You can help Lutheran congregations, groups, and leaders better support peace with justice.  Share the New Vision resource, consider attending the national LPF gathering this summer. For more information, click on the links above.

Apr 3, 2013

The Legacy of the War in Iraq

A lot of attention is being given to the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War.  Such a landmark offers an opportunity to help our friends and colleagues and congregations hear some of the less visible stories. Here are a few that are also of vital importance if we are to avoid Iraq's mistakes in Iran and elsewhere.  They appeared in a variety of publications and assembled by our friends at Foreign Policy in Focus, and offer some concise, crucial lessons from the war:

America's Other Dark Legacy In Iraq by Joy Gordon -- Putting aside even Iraq's horrifying descent into sectarian violence, the United States did a spectacularly poor job of governing the country.

Way Worse Than a Dumb War: Iraq Ten Years Later by Phyllis Bennis and others (Nation magazine) -- It didn't take long for the world to recognize that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq was a big mistake. But "dumb war" wasn't the half of it.

Visions: America after Hegemony by Cole Harrison -- The peace movement needs to make it clear not only what we are against, but what we are for.

As Iraq Anniversary Fades, “Strategic Narcissism” Stands Out by Jim Lobe -- Virtually none of the retrospectives or assessments of the war in major U.S. publications have been written by Iraqis. The inability of both voters and policymakers to imagine the world from any perspective other than their own has left tremendous wreckage in its wake. 

Ten Years Later, U.S. Has Left Iraq with Mass Displacement & Epidemic of Birth Defects, Cancers by Democracy Now! How the U.S. invasion of Iraq has left behind a legacy of cancer and birth defects suspected of being caused by the U.S. military’s extensive use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus.

See also LPF resources on Iraq