Two Church of the Brethren members were part of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq on the day of the US invasion 10 years ago, Peggy Gish (below) and Cliff Kindy (above at second from right). In these photos courtesy of CPT, Kindy and Gish are shown during their years of service with the peacemaking organization.
Prayers for Peacemakers, March 20
“Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out’” (Luke 19:39-40).
Lord, renew among your war-weary people the gifts of lamentation in the face of wrong, sharing in suffering, partnering with all who stand in and for peace and good, and offering oneself to protect from harm anyone branded as “enemy.”
A release from CPT on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War:
‘Ten years of lamentation, partnering, and action.’
Ten years after the US invasion of Iraq, Christian Peacemaker Teams, together with uncounted Iraqi families, laments the carnage that continues to echo from that moment.
Reports sent before, during, and after the invasion brought rare, non-embedded perspectives that helped earn CPT a reputation for reliable, independent reporting, broad partnering, and bold action.
Here are some views of CPT’s peacemaking work at the time of the invasion: War report from team in Baghdad, the first report from the Iraq team after the invasion began, March 20: www.cpt.org/cptnet/2003/03/20/iraq-war-report-team-baghdad . The CPT team in Baghdad in March 2003 included Church of the Brethren members Cliff Kindy of Indiana and Peggy Gish of Ohio, working alongside Lisa Martens of Manitoba, Canada; Scott Kerr of Illinois; Betty Scholten of Maryland; Shane Claiborne of Pennsylvania; Martin Edwards of California; and Charlie Litke also from California. Find a list of all releases from the March 2003 team at www.cpt.org/taxonomy/term/4?page=91 .
Here are a few selections (dates are all 2003):
Final thoughts. March 19, 7 p.m.: “I mourn for all the people who will soon die. But I delight in the beauty of everything around me, and bask in the fellowship of my precious friends here–both the Iraqis and internationals….”
A letter to the churches in Canada and the United States from the CPT in Baghdad, March 15: “From prayer and fasting find the strength to stop paying for war. From joy in discipleship, hold fast to the evangelistic boldness to invite soldiers and corporate technocrats to abandon their posts…. Live in Easter hope.”
Spiritual sacrifices and the Iraq war, March 21, from CPT’s Aboriginal Justice Team: “The idea for the CPT shelter was born out of concern over the escalating threat of war in Iraq, over the conspicuous connections between that war and oil, and over the team’s reliance on oil to heat the trailer that housed them.”
Canadian CPTer denied entry to USA, questioned by the FBI, March 14: “…Immigration officers claimed that the CPT newsletters, printed in Chicago…, were ‘anti-American.’”
“Caught,” March 19, CPT delegation member John Barber records his interaction with an Iraqi hotel clerk: “My family is here in Baghdad. My father, my brothers. Do you know I go home each night and I just sit. I only think of one thing: ‘What am I to do? War is coming, What am I to do?’… I look deeply into his eyes. Days, months, years, in this trap. ‘Why this war?’ he asks. I cannot answer. I want to console him, but I cannot. I want to hold him like my child, and tell him it will be all right, but it will not be all right. ‘Thank you and your friends for being here, you have good hearts,’ he says. He puts his hand over his heart–a common gesture here in Iraq. It is a reminder for me. For a moment we stand across from each other, holding our hearts, holding our anguish. We both begin to cry.”
— This feature is taken from Christian Peacemaker Teams releases. CPT, originally begun by the Historic Peace Churches including the Church of the Brethren, has the mission of building partnerships to transform violence and oppression, and the vision of a world of communities that together embrace the diversity of the human family and live justly and peaceably with all creation. CPT has had a presence in Iraq since Oct. 2002, six months before the beginning of the US led invasion. A CPT team continues to serve in Iraqi Kurdistan. For more information go to www.cpt.org . Read the full release from CPT at www.cpt.org/cptnet/2013/03/19/iraq-ten-years-lamentation-partnering-and-action . Find CPT’s Prayers for Peacemakers at www.cpt.org/cptnet/2013/03/20/prayers-peacemakers-march-20-2013 .