Advent 2013: Pray - Study - Act
In This Issue
PRAY: Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
STUDY: Making the case for the abolition of war
ACT: Help provide duvets for the Afghan winter; Support the work of Pax Christi USA
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Fourth Week of Advent/Beginning of Christmas, 
Dec. 22-28, 2013
I want to thank you so much for journeying with us and the larger Pax Christi USA family throughout Advent. This is our final Pray-Study-Act (PSA) e-bulletin for the season. We'll continue to send you short reflections to observe some of the days throughout the Christmas season and into the new year.  
   Don't forget that you can find all of the reflections as well as these Advent PSAs on our Advent resource page. And if you've appreciated these reflections and resources, we hope you'll consider making a year-end donation to Pax Christi USA through our Advent electronic appeal. I've included more information on the appeal among our action items below in this PSA.
     We wish you peace and joy for the rest of this season and into the new year!


In peace,

Johnny Zokovitch
Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA
 PRAY: Dec. 22, Fourth Sunday of Advent

By Jim Douglass


Isaiah 7:10-14 | Romans 1:1-7 | Matthew 1:18-24




John's question - Are you the One? - remains with me when I visit Ameriyeh shelter in Baghdad.


Four young men lead us into the darkness of the Ameriyeh shelter. The candle held by the leader was our only light until we approached the center. There the huge gash in the ceiling revealed how the two bombs had entered at the target's bull's-eye, a ventilation duct. Light streamed into the darkness through the opening, illuminating beneath us a a bomb-sealed door to the second level of the shelter.


The incineration of 1700 people in the Ameriyeh shelter at 4:30am on February 13, 1991, had been done with an economy of war technology. Only two bombs to seal all the doors: the first blasting open the roof; the second serving to destroy the electrical system controlling the shelter's outer exit doors. Then the 2200-degree (Celsius) heat from the bombs quickly burned up the women, children, and older men of the 400 families allowed into the shelter. Only 30 victims survived, by escaping through an emergency exit in the rear. They bear terrible scars, physical and psychic....


To read the rest of this reflection, click here.

STUDY: Making the case 
for the abolition of war

by Scott Wright


The title above is borrowed from an essay by Stanley Hauerwas, a moral theologian who was deeply influenced by the late Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder, both of whom taught at Notre Dame. The title is challenging, but we cannot deny that our deepest longings and aspirations move us toward this goal for peace. In fact, the abolition of war forms the opening of the United Nations Charter: "We, the people of the United Nations, [are] determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war... and to live in peace with one another as good neighbors..." The times require great moral imagination, and great moral courage.

     Particularly when we look at the state of the world today, and begin to measure our humble efforts for peace against such a stark reality of war and violence, we tend to get discouraged, and may be tempted to give up hope in ever seeing the day when war is finally abolished. Yet history is full of surprises. Who could have predicted that non-violent movements for democracy would usher in the end of the Cold War, or that dialogue between arch-enemies in South Africa would lead to the end of apartheid?

    Surely, others before us were discouraged and tempted to lose hope; for instance, in the long struggle to abolish slavery and torture. Why should the struggle to abolish war be any different? We know that slavery continues to exist even today, and it is a very serious problem. Torture, too, continues to be practiced, as we know very well from the pictures and stories that have been broadcast to the world from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Still, it was a very significant step to abolish the moral and legal justifications for both slavery and torture; and it would be a very significant step to do the same regarding the practice of war...


ACT: Provide duvets for the Afghan winter;
Support PCUSA with an end-of-the-year gift

Action #1: The Duvet Project for Afghanistan

In late 2012, a crucial project to help many hundreds of people in Kabul, Afghanistan survive winter's freezing temperatures was begun. "The Duvet Project" aims to make and deliver heavy wool-stuffed coverlets, (duvets), free of charge, to families in need of warmth as they face harsh winter weather.

   Last year, the Afghan Peace Volunteers and the women's sewing cooperative which is hosted by the APVs at their home, worked very hard to create and distribute 2,000 duvets. The concern and generosity of people living beyond Afghanistan enabled people to help one another and also allowed the seamstresses to earn money that helped them provide food and warmth for their own families.
    Many of the people who receive duvets have been displaced by war. New refugees have sought shelter in camps where they have minimal protection against the harshest elements of winter weather. Scores of people, including children, have frozen to death over the past few winters in Kabul.  

     If you are able to contribute funds for the duvet project, your help will be greatly appreciated. For more information about the duvet project, and to view a video of Afghan Peace Volunteers distributing duvets in the winter months of 2012/2013, click here  


Checks can be made payable to Voices for Creative Nonviolence and sent to: Voices for Creative Nonviolence, 1249 West Argyle Street, Chicago, IL  60640.

To donate to the Duvet Project via PayPal, sign into your PayPal account and submit the funds to email identity "[email protected]". If you're sending funds via PayPal, please make sure that you inform Douglas Mackey at [email protected] One-hundred percent of the funds go directly to the Duvet Project of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, with no administrative expenses. 



Action #2: Please support Pax Christi USA's end-of-the-year Advent-Christmas electronic appeal!


Because of your support, we can do so much. Please consider offering an extra gift to Pax Christi USA during this season of hope by sending a check, giving online, or by becoming a monthly sustainer. We need you. And our world needs the witness of the 'peace of Christ,' Pax Christi USA.


Click here to read a special letter from Sr. Patty and to give securely online.