Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sept 21: What Can You Do for Peace?

The Summit chapter of Pax Christi, as well as other local peace organizations and representatives from various faith traditions, are planning an observance of the International Day of peace on the Village Green on Friday September 21. Our theme this year is “What can you do for peace?”

We are planning the following as a part of our observance:

*Set up a display of banners on the Village Green with “May Peace Prevail on Earth” each translated into a different language

*Collect signatures outside the post office on the Declaration of Peace (11:00 am - 4:00 pm)

*Leafletting - Handout a flyer with the cost of the war in terms of lost opportunities for housing, education, healthcare, etc. (11:00 am - 5:00 pm)

*Have a list of 10 things the UN does for peace ask people to make suggestions to send to our legislators on what we should be doing

*Gather in the evening on the green at 6:30 for a prayer service and march through town with the peace banners leading.

To volunteer to help please contact: Kathy O’Leary or Bev Hausker


Post Office and Village Green
Maple & Broad St.
Summit, NJ, 07901

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Catholic Legislators Appeal to the Bishops to End The War

From the August 17th edition of the National Catholic Reporter:

Catholics in Congress appeal to bishops to help end the war


A group of Catholic members of the U.S. House of Representatives has approached the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asking them to mobilize Catholic opinion in support of an expedited end to the war in Iraq. A meeting between the members of Congress and conference representatives to discuss Catholic leadership on the issue is expected to take place following the August congressional recess.

In a letter requesting the meeting sent by 14 members of the House, all Democrats, the representatives said they took strength from the fact that “throughout our nation’s history Catholics have been at the forefront of the fight for social justice.” They urged the bishops to follow in this tradition by “mobilizing support for Congress’ efforts to end the war.”

“We have taken great comfort in the prophetic words of many Catholic leaders, relied on them for inspiration during our deliberations, and welcomed them in helping shape policy,” the representatives wrote. “If we understand the Catholic tradition correctly, thoughtful church leaders around the world do not believe that the war in Iraq meets the strict conditions for a just war or the high moral standards for overriding the presumption against the use of force. We agree and seek an end to this injustice.”

In a letter of response, Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., chairman of the Committee on International Policy for the bishops’ conference, welcomed a meeting with the House members “to discuss ways to pursue the goal of a ‘responsible transition’ to bring an end to the war in Iraq.”

“Our conference is under no illusions regarding Iraq,” wrote Wenski. “None of the alternative courses of action are without consequences for human life and dignity. There is no path ahead that leads to an unambiguously good outcome for Iraq, our nation and the world. It was for this very reason that we raised serious moral questions regarding military intervention in Iraq in the first place.

“Nevertheless,” the letter continued, “our nation must have the moral courage to change course in Iraq and to break the policy and political stalemate in Washington so that we can walk a difficult path that does the most good and the least damage in human and moral terms.”

The communications were short on specific steps the church might take to mobilize Catholics, but Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, one of the signers of the letter, said he hopes the meeting with the bishops will result in the church’s sending “a shot of energy down to the local parishes, saying talk about this, organize, communicate to the local members of Congress, your senators, to try and bring a responsible end to this war.”

In addition to Ryan, others who signed the letter include presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich and Marcy Kaptur of Ohio; Jose Serrano of New York; Joe Baca, Anna Eshoo, Grace Napolitano and Hilda Solis of California; Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut; Jim Moran of Virginia; William Clay of Missouri; James McGovern of Massachusetts; Bart Stupak of Michigan; and Charlie Wilson of Texas.

Emiliano Huet-Vaughn is a frequent contributor to NCR.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Darfur Genocide Rescue Committee Attends Fundraiser

On Wednesday, July 25, area residents and members of Summit’s Darfur Genocide Rescue Committee attended a fundraiser and screening of “The Devil Came on Horseback,” a compelling new documentary film about the genocide currently taking place in Darfur, Sudan. In attendance were Emilie Boggis (Assistant Minister of Summit’s Unitarian Church), Mark and Lori Densen of Summit, and Michael Mooney and Rebecca Spence of New Providence. This sold-out event, which took place at the Independent Film Center (IFC) in New York, marked the commercial debut and nationwide launch of this important new film.

“The Devil Came on Horseback” documents the personal journey and experience of former Marine Captain Brian Steidle, who bore witness to the atrocities taking place in Darfur during a 6-month period in 2004. Captain Steidle was part of an multinational team charged with investigating ceasefire violations, first with respect to the north-south civil war and later, in the Darfur region. He functioned as the team photographer, taking thousands of photographs documenting the stark, often unbearable realities of what was happening on the ground in Darfur. Brian’s library of photographs taken during his time in Darfur, along with his personal diary entries and reflections form the backbone of the film, and provide an informative and compelling portrayal of the crisis in Darfur. The film depicts how this experience affected Brian’s own humanity, as he went from being an eager ex-marine on an “adventure” in Sudan, to bearing witness to a genocide for which he was wholly unprepared. It shows how he was drawn down a path that took him from a place of relative naiveté, to disillusionment with the world’s failure to act, to his current role as a passionate and fully committed advocate for the people of Darfur.

“The Devil Came on Horseback” is produced by independent filmmakers Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern (also present at the NYC screening event) and presented by Break Thru Films, in association with Global Grassroots. Learn more about the film by visiting The film was timed to release simultaneously with a book by the same name, by Brian Steidle and his sister Gretchen Steidle Wallace, and published by PublicAffairs.

About the Darfur Genocide Rescue Committee

The Darfur Genocide Rescue Committee is a nonpartisan, interfaith coalition based in Summit, established to educate and inspire people to act in peaceful ways to facilitate an end to the conflict in Darfur and convey a compassionate presence and hope to the people of Darfur.

About the Conflict in Darfur

The current conflict in Darfur began in 2003 when chronically marginalized African Muslim tribes launched an attack on an airport as part of an effort to gain more fair and just access to the country’s wealth and resources. The Arab-led, Islamist government responded with an iron fist, launching a campaign of killing that quickly evolved into what the United States and others now recognize as genocide. Today experts estimate that between 400,000 and 500,000 people have been killed, and at least 2.5 million displaced. It has been described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Despite countless UN resolutions and passage of legislation here in the United States, to date the world community has failed to take action to end the genocide. To learn more about what you can do to help bring an end to the genocide in Darfur, visit or .

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Remembering Hiroshima

Ten years after the day the Atomic Bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, in 1955, a thirteen year old Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki died of radiation-induced leukemia. She was one of thousands of children in Hiroshima to suffer the radioactive after-effects that have kept killing weeks, months, years, decades, after August 6, 1945. During her illness Sadako folded paper cranes wishing for recovery from the fatal disease. She knew the story which says that cranes live a thousand years and that the person who folds a thousand paper cranes will have their wish granted. Sadako folded 644 paper cranes before she died. Her class-mates folded 356 more cranes so Sadako could be buried with a thousand cranes. A monument was built in the Hiroshima Peace Park to honor the child’s memory and each year on Hiroshima Day children throughout Japan adorn it with thousands of brightly colored paper cranes. The monument to Sadako Sasaki reads:
“This is our cry, this is our prayer, Peace in the world.”

Fold a paper crane for Sadako,
fold a paper crane for our children, for peace.

Labels: , , ,