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Episcopal Peace Fellowship

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship Pledge of Commitment describes the group's mission:

In loyalty to the person, teaching, and Lordship of Jesus Christ, my conscience commits me to His way of redemptive love: to pray, study, and work for peace, and to renounce, as far as possible, participation in war, militarism, and all other forms of violence.

In fellowship with others, I will work to discover and create alternatives to violence and to build a culture of peace. I urge the Episcopal Church in accordance with our baptismal vows "to renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God", and to wage peace across all boundaries, calling upon people everywhere to repent, to forgive, and to love. https://epfnational.org/join/

There is currently an active chapter at Trinity Cathedral which is currently reaching out to other parishes to spread the work of Christ's peacemaking. 

Because of the EPF commitment above, our local group has three priorities:

1)  Human Trafficking, in conjunction with the efforts of the Episcopal Church Women. Resources and information here.
2)  Yemen,  keeping this humanitarian crisis in the news,
3)  Anti-Death Penalty group, working with Ohioans to Stop Executions (OTSE) and Intercommunity Peace& Justice Center (IJPC) in Cincinnati.

Suggested Actions November 2020

Our three (3) priority areas for 2020 are focused on the Yemeni Civil War, Abolishing the Death Penalty and Human Trafficking 
You may recognize these suggestions from before. They’re still important and timely to add our prayers, study, calls and letters. As you may know, responses pro or against are counted by the staffs of the legislatures.
*Post-election note: A potentially supportive President/Vice President are expected to take office January 20, 2021. The Biden campaign has indicated likely support for below Yemen measures below. A lot hinges on the fate of the U.S. Senate. Your voice is still needed now.

Some additional background supplementing above: Congressional members had expressed concern that the benefits to the U.S. workforce of arms sales had been grossly inflated, that transfer of weapon technology to Mideast countries jeopardizes our national security, and that previous claim of an “emergency” that resulted in $ 8+ billion of arms sales without Congressional oversight last year was a “phony” emergency. Also adding to this is the now completed $23.87 billion U.S. arms sales to the United Arab Emirates subsequent to the signing of a UAE/Israel /Kingdom of Bahrain cooperation agreement Israel (using the tool of the Abrams Accord greenlighting the sale as a purported hedge against an increasingly militaristic Iran).  Per NBC News, “…the UAE was able to purchase high-tech weapons from the United States, including Reaper drones, EA-18G Growler jets and F-35 fighter planes”. Yemen’s fragile civilian population is at an increased risk by this American sale.
  • Write our U.S. Senators and your Congressional representative and the President and indicate your strong support of the U.S. remaining a full member of the U.N.’s World Health Organization (WHO) with its 194 members, and continuing our financial support of work on global health issues, such as the Covid19 epidemic . (Above election note applies here too, and the President has indicated executive action is planned to restore our relationship with the W.H.O.. Letters/calls to Congress still advised)
    • Some additional background: President Trump has formally notified the World Health Organization of the U.S. departing the WHO on July 6, 2021. The U.S. is currently in arrears of membership dues for $198 million dollars. Many legal scholars are indicating the action would be illegal without the concurrence of Congress. Many health experts and officials feel the action will jeopardize the U.S. access to critical medical technology and vaccines.Many leading scholars say Congress can prevent our departure from the World Health Organization. It’s not too late for congress to act, with our support!
    • “The problem is not about the money. It’s not the financing that’s the issue. It’s actually the relationship with the U.S. that’s more important and its leadership abroad,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during an interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt hosted by the Aspen Security Forum. 
    • Here is the State Department’s Status Report from September, 2020.
  • Help the innocent children in Yemen in their struggle with floods, malnutrition, disease, water  shortages, poverty and violence through UNICEF and other global health organizations.
  • Doctors Without Borders is valiantly working in Yemen to help women and children receive critical medical care in Yemen. We can help DWB in their efforts under extreme conditions. 
  • Support the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) efforts in Yemen, esp. Covid19, by donating
  • Become familiar with the work of the Yemen Accountability Project at Case Western University’s Cox International Law Center. In September 2020, YAP published its white paper, “Aiding and Abetting: Holding States, Corporations, and Individuals Accountable for War Crimes in Yemen” that explores the atrocities that have led to the loss of over 100,000 lives since 2015 and offers policy proposals for accountability actions. This is a unique effort headed by Dr. Laura Graham PhD who has offered to keep us posted of their important work. Stay tuned
  • Additional background: “War Crime risk Grows for U.S Over Saudi Strikes in Yemen”, “Aid Cuts by Trump and Some US Allies are Costing Lives in Yemen”, Nobel Laureate: “Yemen Is the World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis. Here’s how to End It
Anti-Death Penalty            Suggested content of your letter to newspapers:
- In such a divisive political climate, it's incredible to see both sides of the aisle coming together on the issue of death penalty repeal.
- The fact that Ohio conservatives are stepping up to repeal Ohio's death penalty is great. I --- I think repealing the death penalty certainly represents conservative Ohioan values of being pro-life and fiscally responsible. 
- I love seeing the momentum for repeal building across the state! It's amazing to see all communities - conservatives, faith leaders, lawmakers, former office holders, liberals, etc - creating a buzz for repealing Ohio's death penalty. 
·       Send a letter, or email to Governor DeWine and ask him to grant clemency for Gregory Lott,   recommended for clemencyon May 2020 by the Ohio Parole Board. The victim’s family provided testimony asking that Mr. Lott, who is intellectually disabled, not be executed. It has been six months since clemency was recommended. This delay is cruel not only for Mr. Lott, but for the families involved. 
·       Send a note of support to Elwood Jones, on death row in Ohio since 1997, and has been scheduled now for a new court hearing on December 11, based on new evidence and a confession by another man. Mr. Jones is scheduled for execution in April 2021. 
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Update! From Jesse @IJPC:
“Hi Bruce,
I'm not sure the last update you heard about. His hearing, which was supposed to be at the end of August, was pushed back to December (11) because of COVID. I know Elwood is very upset, as this hearing has been pushed back for quite some time now...longer than IJPC has even known about it. I'm in the process of figuring out how we can take action or try to at least provide morale for Elwood, if nothing else. As soon as I get more details and plans together, it will go out in an email.
Thanks for checking in on it!
Address support letters to:
Elwood Jones # A339441, 
Chillicothe Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 5500
Chillicothe, OH 45601
  • Our Federal government executed two more men in September (9/22. 9/24). In a “killing spree”, per the Washington Post, three had been executed in July. Orlando Hall is scheduled to be executed on November 19th and two are scheduled for execution in December, including Lisa Montgomery, the first woman executed by the Federal government in over 60 years. Brendon Bernard is also scheduled to be executed in December. They are #s 9 and 10 scheduled to die in 2020.
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Lisa Montgomery
Suggested actions are to write your Congresspersons, legislators and/or Mike DeWine, Governor of Ohio and ask them to please initiate action in their respective jurisdictions (Federal/State) to end the Death Penalty.
Human Trafficking
  • Contact your Ohio House Representative and ask her/him to support the passage of SB 13, The Protect Trafficked Minors Act. Bipartisan support. Has passed the Ohio Senate last year and is in the House Judiciary Committee as of February 2020.
    • Background: Senator Theresa Fedor Testimony-Sponsor (see her Sponsor Testimony and others here)
  • Send a note to Senators Brown and Portman supporting their introduction of a Bipartisan bill Protecting Rights of Those Exploited by Coercive Trafficking (PROTECT) Act. Summary is here.
  • “A bill to amend chapter 77 of title 18, United States Code, to clarify that using drugs or illegal substances to cause a person to engage in a commercial sex act constitutes coercion and using drugs or illegal substances to provide or obtain the labor or services of a person constitutes forced labor.” Introduced 7/2019; SB2197
  • Special Alert: Covid 19 is putting significant stress on organizations aiding trafficked person in Greater Cleveland. How you can help: Salvation Army and Renee Jones Empowerment Center are still seeking donations of money, clothing and personal hygiene items. To volunteer or become a mentor at the RJEC, contact Renee Jones at 216/417-0823. The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center is also seeking volunteers and donations. 
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Hue Jackson Residential Center
**Of concern to all of us: “The child sex trade is a global crisis. Far-right conspiracy theorists are harassing, distracting and intimidating the organizations fighting to end it.”-Huffington PostSuggest writing your Representative/Senators to indicate your concern with QAnon and their efforts to disrupt legitimate, professional efforts to end human trafficking.

The following are additional EPF areas of interest for possible action.
Gun Violence (For information and action) Israel/Palestine (For information)

·       West Bank Annexation is off the table for now with the “Abrahamic Accords Declaration of Peace, Cooperation, and Constructive Diplomatic and Friendly Relations”

Key questions are now: 1/what exactly is the role of U.S. and is this a “Peace” Agreement;  what Palestinian lands might be annexed in the future?, 3/what happens to Palestinian-owned land?, 4/ Israeli citizenship for Palestinians?, 5/would this in effect be a one-state or two-state solution? and 6/what is the response worldwide to this latest action by Israel/U.S.? Note: “Study the current dialogue on the viability of a one-state or 2-state solution to the Israeli/Palestine situation. Here is one example of this dialogue on Zoom today (7/13). .A group of baseball players standing on top of a dirt field

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Israeli Soldiers Confront Palestinian Woman re: An Unapproved Animal Shed
Suggested Background 1/ “A Founding Generation of Looters-New Research on the Israeli Theft of Palestinian Property in 1948”. To watch this video webinar, go here. Sponsored by the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP)
“In a newly-published book (discussed in recent blockbuster Haaretz article), Israeli historian Adam Raz shatters the “conspiracy of silence” that surrounds the widespread Jewish looting of Palestinian property that took place in 1948. Drawing from materials he found in more than 30 archives, Raz documents how in the period around the 1948 War, Jewish civilians – who after the war became the founding generation of the state of Israel – pillaged private Palestinian property throughout the land. Raz also documents how, as the looting took place in full public view, Jewish leaders – including David Ben Gurion – knew what was happening and, even as some expressed disapproval, did nothing to stop it.” 
2/ Another excellent Israeli/Palestine webinar of interest to many is also sponsored by the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) on November 18,10-11:30AM EST. Find out more here: https://fmep.org/event/annexation-and-the-aftermath-of-the-u-s-election-analysis-expectations/
General Info For You:
Contact Info:  It’s easy: email via their websites or call directly; it does make a difference! Taking action on just 1 measure…or more, makes a real difference.
Suggestion!  If you get a response from your representative, please let us know. Their responses are often insightful and valuable for follow-ups. 
White House:
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW 
Washington, DC 20500
1-202-456-1414 (Switchboard)
1-202-456-1111 (Comments)
Click to open links or copy and paste URL in your browser address bar! Let me know if problems! freeman.bruce@gmail.com

***Special Notice: EPF Book Club Meeting on Yemen: Yemen Endures: Civil War, Saudi Adventurism and the Future of Arabia by Ginny Hill, Reporter 

Saturday, December 19 @1PM 
Join EPF Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 827 1611 8055
Passcode: 923395
Multiple library copies available at OhioLink.
Ginny Hill is a visiting fellow in the Middle East Centre at the LSE who has covered Yemen for more than a decade as a journalist and policy advisor. She founded the Chatham House Yemen Forum and recently served on the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen. 
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Ginny Hill

Notes from the November 1, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the August 2, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the July 5, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the June 7, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the May 3, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the April 5, 2020 Zoom Mini Meeting
Notes from the March 1, 2020 meeting at Trinity Cathedral
Notes from the February 2, 2020 meeting at Trinity Cathedral
Notes from the January 5, 2020 meeting at Trinity Cathedral
Notes from the December 1, 2019 meeting at Trinity Cathedral
Notes from the October 6, 2019 meeting at Trinity Cathedral
Notes from the September 1, 2019 meeting at Trinity Cathedral
Notes from August 4th, 2019 meeting at Trinity Cathedral