“I’ve been doing political work or solidarity work for most of my life, and accompaniment is the most powerful thing I’ve ever done.” —Janice Gallagher, FOR Volunteer
Accompanier (2006-07), U.S./Mexico Caravan for Peace Coordinator (2012)
For almost a century, the Fellowship of Reconciliation has worked creatively and courageously around the world to strengthen nonviolent resistance to militarism and oppression. Continuing this legacy, for the past decade FOR has sponsored a human rights accompaniment program in Colombia.
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Just Released, by
Logan Mehl-Laituri, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL 2012
Logan Mehl-Laituri spoke to us on March 16, 2007 from the front of the National Cathedral where some 3000 of us had gathered to hear testimony before walking through the snow to the White House to protest the Iraq War, in its 5th year. He describes the evening toward the end of his testimonial tracing his crystallization of conscience and journey as a Conscientious Objector, released today, July 4th 2012, because of a confirming epiphany he had in the Cathedral that evening, before the fresco of Jesus’s Resurrection. Wandering the Church prior to the ceremony, at which he was asked to read the words of another recognized conscientious objector, Joshua Casteel, he had stumbled upon and fresco and recognized with full and final force the call to forgive one’s enemies and serve God. As with much of the book, the scene is painted vividly with characters in the fresco coming to life and being transformed into Iraqi soldiers and families. We can feel Logan’s body quake and see the tears streaming down his face.
July 2011 was the seventh consecutive year that the Chicago Chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation exhibited in the main merchandise tents at the Cornerstone Music Festival.
At times, this message of peace and nonviolence was not received well. Accusations from festival-goers to I Will NOTKill advocate Sam Smith that his advocacy of nonviolence made him a terrorist, equal to or surpassing of the 9/11 terrorists — together with one festival-goer’s statement that organizations such as the Fellowship of Reconciliation are tremendously naive because “Some people just need killing!” — were hard to hear.
At other times, teenagers ran breathlessly into the exhibit tent, coming to the I Will NOT Kill display and stating that they agreed with the I Will NOT KillStatement….. and had never realized before that a Christian could actually be a pacifist and still be in line with the teachings of the Bible.