Palestine Israel Network 
16 April 2015


Dear Friends and Colleagues,   


Looking towards General Convention:  The Episcopal Peace Fellowship's reception is scheduled for Wednesday 24 June at 5:00PM at the Cathedral of St. Mark in Salt Lake City.  Purchase tickets (take advantage of the early bird special) here.  EPF will celebrate the Sayre Award honoree at this gathering. This peacemaker's award was established by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) in 1979 to honor the Rev. John Nevin Sayre for his lifetime of service in the cause of peace. It is conferred every three years for "courageous witness in the cause of peace and justice" to a recipient chosen by the EPF Executive Committee. 


Mondoweiss has posted a press release (excerpted here) and paper from the Episcopal Committee for Justice in Palestine and Israel.  


As the Episcopal Church approaches its 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City this June, a new group, the Episcopal Committee for Justice in Israel and Palestine, has been created to advocate for a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land. 

To coincide with the announcement of its formation, the Committee has issued a statement and resolution, featuring a foreword by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, calling on the church to recognize the new political realities in Israel/Palestine and to adjust its policies accordingly to ensure that we are not profiting from human rights abuses and the suffering of our fellow human beings....

"As a church we have consistently opposed the occupation,' said Reverend Canon Gary Commins, DD, Deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of Los Angeles, past chair of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, former Chair of the Episcopal Service Corps, and one of the authors of the statement. "At the present time, we may be complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people. The time has long passed when the Episcopal Church must recognize this. The time is now for us to truly respect the dignity of every human being, including Palestinians."

Noting the changes that have occurred since the church's Executive Council called for constructive engagement with such companies in 2005, including the collapse of the US-sponsored peace process last year due mainly to Israeli settlement construction, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent pledge never to allow the creation of a Palestinian state, the statement urges church members to take a moral stand, following in the footsteps of our brothers and sisters in other mainline churches such as the Presbyterians and United Methodists, who have adopted boycott and divestment initiatives targeting Israel's nearly half-century-old occupation of Palestinian lands. The statement reads in part:

"At this juncture, in this new landscape, our purpose is to help end the occupation and to assure civil rights and equality for all the peoples of Israel and Palestine. The Church's approach should be straightforward: boycott, divestment, and sanctions are tools of nonviolent peacemaking that put the weight of our corporate dollars behind our commitment to justice. The Church's financial portfolio can again be used as an instrument of political change. And it can help to break the stalemate while illuminating the ways that America otherwise enables a brutal status quo."


Members of the Committee are:

The Very Reverend Walter Brownridge - Deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of Hawaii, and Dean, the Cathedral of St. Andrew, Honolulu.

The Reverend Canon Gary Commins, DD - Deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of Los Angeles and past chair of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and former Chair of the Episcopal Service Corps.

Ms. Sarah Lawton - Deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of California and recipient in 2013 of the House of Deputies medal.

Dr. Derek Leebaert - Author of several prominent books on US national security, including Magic and Mayhem: The Delusions of American Foreign Policy (2011), partner in the global consulting firm, MAP AG, and a founding editor of the Harvard-based periodical "International Security." He is a former adjunct professor at Georgetown University and is an Episcopal layman, the Diocese of Washington.

Mr. Newland Smith - Senior Deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of Chicago and recipient of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship's 2015 Nevin Sayre peace award.

Read the full press release and statement here.


In the coming weeks we'll be circulating information and action suggestions on the resolutions coming out of the Dioceses of California, Hawaii and Washington and from the Standing Commission on Anglican International Concerns for Peace with Justice and other reports from church governing bodies and committees on Palestine/Israel.

In the meantime, the American Friends Service Committee invites us to check our investments: "If you own stock-maybe as part of your retirement plan-our new investment screening tool will help you align your investment portfolios with your values. This tool includes previously unpublished information about companies directly complicit in ongoing violations of human rights in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.  

The screening tool identifies specific violations, lists relevant public campaigns targeting companies, and describes initiatives taken by responsible investors to influence and change corporate behavior with regard to human rights violations. By using this tool, you'll have the information you need as an investor to make decisions and take action."


Pilgrimage and Witness: Members of the Palestine Israel Network's education work group will be on pilgrimage in Palestine/Israel from 18 April - 1 May.  Thanks to all those who contributed to the short-term fund-raiser for Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza which the group hopes to visit.  Look for updates in the Community section of our website and links on our Facebook page as well as in PINontheGo. 

If you'd like to get these emails and you are not an EPF or EPF PIN member or are not an Episcopalian, check this link and check off to get the PIN complimentary list.  Note also that you can contact members of the steering committee by clicking on their name in the sidebar.


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Episcopal Peace Fellowship
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Visit the Palestine Israel Network 


And please join PIN and EPF 

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for justice and peace  


Want to get more involved?   


Contact a member of the Steering Committee: 

Ann CoburnLinda Gaither, Brian Grieves, Donna Hicks,  Allison Liles,Mary MorrisCabell Tennis  



PIN Convener:

Donna Hicks 



Work group conveners:

Education: Ann Coburn

Advocacy & GC2015 planning: Newland Smith

Local organizing:

Mary Morris