Two years ago, the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF) entered a period of “Deep Focus” on the call to Defund the Police. This period began amid racial justice uprisings across the country following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, following a history of many more deaths at the hands of the state.
This time of study and action has led the nearly 80-year-old organization to articulate its longstanding commitments in a new way. This week, the PPF announced a new vision statement that anchors all of its collective work for peace and justice in abolition.
Relying on the grace of God, the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship envisions
a world of peace where all of God’s creation can prosper.
In local and global communities, we will use all non-violent means
disrupt and transform the culture of domination that normalizes
racism, ecocide, militarization and war.
We build peace through the abolition of structural violence
and living in alternatives to violence
with creativity, intelligence, imagination and love.
“This new vision does not replace our long-standing commitments to anti-militarism, a fossil-free world, or the prevention of gun violence; said Reverend Abby Mohaupt, one of the co-moderators, “it rather refocuses how we do this work in words that are particular to this time and place.”
The organization noted growing threats from fascism and right-wing extremism around the world, fueled in part by Christian nationalism, climate chaos and dangerous war threatening nuclear catastrophe and exacerbating energy crises like some realities that shape how they organize themselves at this point in history.
“We will not sit idly by as this culture of structural violence escalates,” said the Rev. David Ensign, Acting Executive Director, “and we are truly excited about how this new vision coupled with new leadership as we navigate the personnel transition will create powerful new opportunities to act together.
The organization made the decision with former executive director Reverend Emily Brewer. Reverend Brewer left after seven years of leadership, and PPF will soon seek new leadership.
The PPF has a long history of taking unpopular positions based on the life and testimony of Jesus. In an email to their network, they write: “From our first moments, we have been an abolitionist movement”.
The legacy of PPF’s eighty-year history is marked by moments of significant change in direction at regular intervals in order to remain true to a global commitment to oppose violence and war and to focus on things that make peace.
Over the years there has been a commitment to the abolition of war and nuclear weapons, gun violence, fossil fuels and the structural violence that fuels migration across the world.
“We are truly excited about how this new vision statement calls us to imagine and create together a new world, with new cultures and new systems that promote peace,” said Reverend Lucy Waechter Webb, “the framework of abolition compels us to build a new world as we simultaneously work to dismantle the structures of violence that cause so much harm.
You can find out more about: https://www.presbypeacefellowship.org/about/