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Peace Resources

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Peace Resources Committee

Purpose & History

The Peace Resources Committee consists of 6-12 members appointed for 3 year terms to accomplish the objectives listed below. The ILYM Peace Resources Committee neither duplicates nor replaces the work done within monthly meetings. Instead, over time, the hope is for a liaison relationship to develop between monthly meeting committees and this yearly meeting committee. The Nominating Committee has aimed to find members for the committee who are Friends with gifts, skills, knowledge and strong leadings regarding the objectives.

a) To develop a proactive conscientious objection counseling program;

b) To assist young Friends in expressing their personal peace testimonies and documenting these beliefs for their spiritual growth as well as for a draft board, should one be activated;

c) To share these processes with junior high, senior high and Adult Young Friends in cooperation with the Youth Oversight Committee;

d) To explore possibilities of working with existing peace-building activities such as the Quaker Volunteer Service, Training & Witness Committee; Project Lakota; and the AFSC/Intermountain Yearly Meeting Joint Service Project to enhance peace building with a spiritual and service-oriented basis for Young Friends;

e) To encourage Friends to examine and re-examine the meaning of the Peace Testimony in the context of our response to modern terrorism and war which has made it possible to wreak major devastation on people and their environment with minimal direct human involvement;

f) To become a source of knowledge and to encourage Friends' consideration of the options for and rationale of resistance to payment of war taxes;

g) To serve as a resource for monthly meetings, quarterly meetings, regional meetings and IYLM's program committee in identifying knowledgeable speakers and workshop leaders on the above topics.

Current membership includes:
Chuck Hutchcraft (clerk; to serve until 2011)
Phyllis Reynolds (2010)
Breeze Richardson (2010)
Chuc Smith (2010)
Patricia McMillen (2011)
Bridget Rorem (2011)
Dawn Rubbert (2011)
Kent Busse (2012)
Michael Batinski (2012)
Mark McGinnis (2012)


Members of the PRC committee are now regularly writing on issues of peace today on our official blog: "How Do You See Peace?". Friends are invited to visit the site, read what's already been contributed, and leave your own thoughts to further these important conversations. Thanks to all that have already participated!

TAKE ACTION: Calling All Friends Seeking to Heed Their Calling
The Quaker Volunteer Service Committee was organized with support from the 57th Street Meeting of Friends in Chicago and other Friends Meetings to support volunteers led by the Spirit to work full-time for peace, justice and community within a framework of Quaker spirituality. You can read more about this unique opportunity and find out more here.

Peace Testimony Workshop

In 2006, the IYLM Peace Resources Committee developed a retreat/workshop for use by Monthly Meetings to deepen our corporate and individual understandings of Friends' historic Peace Testimony and contemporary expressions of it.

This workshop is available to any gathering of ILYM, recommended as an all-day workshop (approximately 7 hours, including lunch). To schedule facilitators to visit your Meeting or gathering, contact the PRC clerk, Chuck Hutchcraft: <tsavo1@comcast.net>. A pair of workshop facilitators will be assigned & scheduling the details can proceed from there!

Peace Testimony Workshop - Advance Reading
After a Monthly Meeting has arranged for PRC members to facilitate (always as a pair), and a date for the workshop has been chosen, the assigned facilitators will choose for one of them to serve as the Meeting's liaison to oversee preparations, including Advanced Readings. This collection includes both Required and Recommended works. While workshop participants are encouraged to read recommended texts, required texts are crucial to ensure that the workshop will be a deep and meaningful experience. It is suggested that numerous copies of the required texts be made available to Meeting members and attenders by the Meeting; please ask the PRC facilitator assigned to your Meeting if you'd like help arranging this.

To read a selection of Personal Peace Testimony Statements and PRC featured articles, click here.

On The Death Penalty

Illinois Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends reaffirms its historic and continuing testimony in opposition to capital punishment. Among other places, our testimony is set forth in "The Book of Discipline of the Religious Society of Friends, Christian Practice, Business Procedure", adopted by Illinois Yearly Meeting 1927, at page 59, in a section headed "Treatment of Civic Offenders", which states:

''Enlightened treatment of civic offenders by constructive methods rather than by merely punitive action is a reform challenging those who endeavor to follow Christian principles. While condemning unrighteous acts, we should at the same time seek to have offenders treated in a manner conducive to the strengthening of moral character, the maintenance of their self-respect, and their reclamation as useful members of society.

Friends are opposed to capital punishment because it is contrary to the Divine law of love. The application of the death penalty is brutalizing and degrading to the public mind. It leaves no room for the reformation of character, which should be the principal aim of criminal law, nor for the revision of the sentence in the event of a miscarriage of justice.''

Presently, capital punishment is provided as a possible sentence in three of the four states in which Illinois Yearly Meeting of Friends’ members live, as well as in United States federal and military prosecutions. Execution of prisoners remains an active possibility in each of those jurisdictions (including the states of Indiana, Missouri and Illinois), although presently a moratorium is in place in Illinois, creating a legal “limbo” for fifteen prisoners, all men, on Illinois’ death row (as of January 2009).

Friends are encouraged to become involved, as their individual consciences dictate, in local activist organizations opposing capital punishment; contact information for such organizations is listed on the website of the Death Penalty Information Center, www.deathpenaltyinfo.org, under “Sources and Additional Information – Related Websites (Listing of Individual State Pages).” Monthly and Quarterly Meetings also are encouraged to invite local speakers to address their groups, and to make written information available to attenders, to raise awareness of this issue; given the mobility of the American population and existence of federal death penalty laws, such awareness is crucial even in states which do not practice capital punishment. ILYM Peace Resources Committee is available to suggest and/or lead such programs on request of Monthly or Quarterly meetings.
TAKE ACTION: Declaration of Life
Friends are invited to download and sign this Declaration of Life, demonstrating your personal opposition to the death penalty.

STATEMENTS: Letters from clerk Tom Paxson
In August 2008, clerk Tom Paxson wrote two important letters to Illinois and Missouri state officials regarding the Death Penalty.

The first was to Illinois State Representative Robert Molaro, chair of the Illinois House Judiciary Committee welcoming the abolition of capital punishment. You can read the letter here; we invite you to share it with your elected officials as you continue to advocate for this policy's end.

The second was to Missouri Governor Matt Blunt asking that clemency be granted for Dennis Skillcorn, requesting life in prison without parole instead of execution. This letter is also available for you to read here as a testimony to Friends' continued advocacy to end the death penalty in our communities.

Minutes on Peace (archive)

Click here for a collection of monthly, quarterly, and yearly meeting minutes on peace concerns.

Additional Web Resources

Click here for a wealth of internet peace resources and documents.

Created by Dawn.Amos. Last Modification: Thursday January 28, 2010 09:47:03 pm CST by David.Finke.
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