Thursday, November 23, 2006

2 Plowshares

Plowshares - A Peace Studies Collaborative of Earlham, Goshen and Manchester Colleges
About the Plowshares Collaborative

The Plowshares Collaborative was formed in 2002 by Earlham College, Goshen College and Manchester College to develop the strongest, most distinctive undergraduate program in peace studies in the United States.

Funded by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., this institutional collaboration is finding new, imaginative ways to address the problems of violence and related challenges that confront America and most of the world today.

Best Undergraduate Peace Studies Programs

Our founding denominations—the Quakers (Earlham), the Mennonites (Goshen) and the Church of the Brethren (Manchester)—are known collectively as the three “historic peace churches” in the United States. Our colleges represent three of the nation’s best undergraduate program in peace studies, including its oldest at Manchester College.

Academic Study and Praxis

Eight major areas of focus for the Collaboration mutually reinforce the commitment to academic study and praxis, informed by the history of our faith-based institutions:

  1. Strengthen campus peace studies programs through faculty development grants, mini-grants for students, on-campus special events, library resources and conflict transformation programs.

  2. Provide opportunities for faculty development through grants for study, research and additional programs broadly related to peace and justice.

  3. Develop courses that can be taken by students on the other campuses via smart classrooms and connect the colleges electronically and through instructional material.

  4. Initiate Peace House, and public forum and, next year a student residential program for peace, justice and conflict and urban studies in Indianapolis through study, internship and community outreach programs.

  5. Provide opportunities in peace studies for faculty and students at other colleges and universities to attend an undergraduate conference, participate in student exchanges among the three colleges and engage in a national summer peace academy and other programs.

  6. Strengthen dialogue among the three denominations.

  7. Promote the three colleges and state as significant sites for peace studies.

  8. Draw nationally recognized scholars to lead and promote peace studies programs at the three schools.

  9. Fund administrative leadership on each campus.

Showing the Way to Peace

In a world now even darker with violence, the Plowshares Collaboration is a beacon at the crossroads of America, encouraging and educating students, churches and citizens to show the way to peace in our nation and around the world.

Learn more about the Plowshares Collaborative:



North Dakota
E-8 Minuteman III Missile Silo

June 20, 2006

Please pardon the fracture of the good order. When we were children we thought as children and spoke as children. But now we are adults and there comes a time when we must speak out and say that the good order is not so good, and never really was. We know that throughout history there have been innumerable war crimes. Two of the most terrible war crimes occurred on August 6th and 9th, 1945. On August 6th, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima , Japan , killing more than 100,000 people (including U.S. prisoners of war). Three days later the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki , Japan , killing more than 50,000 people. Use of these weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations were abominable crimes against humanity.

The U.S. has never repented of these atrocities. On the contrary, the U.S. has deepened and expanded its commitment to nuclear weapons. The U.S. built a large nuclear-industrial complex which has caused the deaths of many workers and has resulted in killing many more people by nuclear testing. Our country built thousands of nuclear weapons and has dispersed weapons-grade uranium to 43 nations. Each Minuteman III missile carries a bomb that is 27 times more powerful than those dropped on the Japanese people. The building of these weapons signifies that our hearts have assented to mass murder. Currently the U.S. is seeking to research a new class of smaller nuclear weapons – demonstrating its desire to find new uses for weapons of mass destruction.

The U.S. is rushing down the path that leads to more death and destruction, ultimately bringing this nation and other nations to ruin. Therefore we issue a call for national repentance. We make an urgent appeal to the people of the U.S. to change course – to place our security in God and not in weapons of mass destruction.

We have chosen to start the process of transformation and disarmament by hammering on and pouring our blood on components of the Minuteman III nuclear missile system. We believe that the concrete that goes into making missile silos would be better used for building homes. We know that total disarmament of our first-strike system of nuclear weapons will require national repentance with a change in the hearts and minds of the people of the U.S. The pouring of our blood is meant to make visible the bloodshed resulting from the production, testing, and use of nuclear weapons. We believe the message in the Bible that after Cain killed his brother Abel that Abel's blood “cried out from the ground.” We hear our sisters' and brothers' blood crying out from the ground. We believe that God hears these cries and grieves deeply over every person whose blood is shed.

We call ourselves the “Weapon of Mass Destruction Here Plowshares” to highlight that our nation has thousands of horrific weapons of mass destruction. U.S. leaders speak about the dangers of other nations acquiring nuclear weapons, but they fail to act in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which commits the U.S. to take steps to disarm its weapons of mass destruction. We act in order to bring attention to people's responsibility for disarming weapons of state terrorism. We can begin the process of exposing U.S. weapons of mass destruction, naming them as abominations that cause desolation, and transforming them to objects that promote life.

We dress as clowns to show that humor and laughter are key elements in the struggle to transform the structures of destruction and death. Saint Paul said that we are “fools for God's sake,” and we say that we are “fools for God and humanity.” Clowns as court jesters were sometimes the only ones able to survive after speaking truth to authorities in power.

Is there hope for the world? Yes – if people begin to live the truth now. We believe that Jesus reveals who God is, and that God is a God of love and nonviolence, teaching us to love all people, even our enemies. Furthermore, the prophets Isaiah and Micah prophesy that there will come a time when people will learn the ways of God and

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.”

By our plowshares/pruning hooks action we have tried to make visible God's will for disarmament and peacemaking. By living this truth we hope to shorten this murderous age – closing the gap between the future hope for universal peace and our present reality of endless violence and war-making. We begin to bring hope into the present moment.

Carl Kabat, OMI

Greg Boertje-Obed

Michael Walli

June 20, 2006, E-8 North Dakota

Jonah House logo

Rev. Carl Kabat, OMI

Greg Boertje-Obed

Mike Walli
Greg Boertje-Obed, Carl Kabat, Mike Walli at E-9 missile silo in North Dakota
On Tuesday morning, June 20, 2006, a Roman Catholic priest and two veterans were arrested at a nuclear missile silo in North Dakota after they hammered on the lid and entry hatch, spray painted "It's a sin to build a nuclear weapon" and hung banners on the fence.

Download the PDF Version (3 column double sided brochure)

Jonah House began as a community in 1973 with a group of people that included Philip Berrigan, a Catholic priest, and Elizabeth McAlister, formerly a Catholic nun. The community later called itself Jonah House. With the name, meanings accrued: “If God could use Jonah for the works of justice, there is hope for each of us.” “Are we not all reluctant prophets?” From its inception, the community included religious and lay people, married and single people, children and adults, younger and older people.
The community lived in a row-house in west Baltimore for 23 years, and moved to St. Peter’s Cemetery in 1996. The Jonah House community lives in the 22 acre cemetery and cares for the grounds. One third of the cemetery has been cleared; the rest is woods overgrown with vines. The community maintains a vegetable garden and dozens of fruit trees, berry bushes, flowers and ornamentals.
Nonviolence, resistance and community are the values on which Jonah House is based. We have come to understand them as interdependent.
People at Jonah House are committed to making nonviolence a way of life. We agree that “Thou shalt not kill” has no exceptions: we believe that we are commanded by our faith not to kill and, beyond that, to resist killing in our name. More – we know that nonviolence involves the utmost respect for each other, for all people (individually and collectively), and for all creation.
Resistance implies actions in opposition to unjust practices, policies, institutions and systems. As a community, we commit to speaking out about the connection between warmaking and homelessness, hunger, despair and poverty. The particular focus of Jonah House has been to speak out and resist our decision as a nation to use nuclear weapons. Jonah House resistance has often taken the form of plowshares actions.
Living in community is essential for both nonviolence and resistance. We learned this lesson slowly and we are still learning. Community for us means that decisions are made together; in community we have learned that work done together is life-giving. Study, prayer, writing, teaching and manual labor are all important components of our life. The community shares a common purse; we do all we can not to replicate the hierarchy and exchange of the dominant culture.
Jonah House is a “faith-based community.” While the majority of people at Jonah House have been Roman Catholic with an emphasis on the anti-war social justice teachings of the church, people of all faiths are welcome. We pray together each weekday at 7 a.m. – reading and reflecting on the Scripture readings for the day. We have Scripture Study and a simple Eucharist on Sundays at 10 am that are open to the wider community. After the service, we share a meal.
People at Jonah House are encouraged to take time each day in personal prayer; some pray while they work; others set aside a specific period of time for prayer.
There are no hard and fast rules. We submit ourselves to the over-arching standard of nonviolence: love of enemies (Mt. 5:43), love for one another (Jn. 13:34), and living by the truth (Jn. 3:21).Plowshares Actions take their name from the passage of Isaiah: “They shall beat swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:4)
The first plowshares action was September 1980 at the General Electric plant in King of Prussia, PA. Eight people, including Philip Berrigan, hammered and poured their blood on the Mark 12A nuclear missile components. Since then there have been more than 80 plowshares actions. Two people from Jonah House are in federal prison now for Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II. Sr. Ardeth Platte, O.P., and Sr. Carol Gilbert, O.P. along with Sr. Jackie Hudson, O.P., went to the N-8 missile silo in Colorado where there is a Minuteman III nuclear missile on launch readiness. They entered the silo area and symbolically hammered on the 110 ton concrete silo lid and tracks.
Food Pantry - Each Tuesday, about 100 people come to Jonah House to pick up bags of food. We gather the food from our garden (in season), from the local food bank, and from wherever we can. We give blankets and clothes when we have them. Each person who comes has a story that reveals more of the injustice system. They are people who have been made poor. They remind us of the ways the military budget ($12,000 a second) should be spent – for homes, jobs, education, food and medical care.
Retreats - People come to Jonah House for retreats. Some student groups come for a week, working with us and attending workshops on nonviolence and resistance. Some come forshorter or longer periods of time to experience community life.
Sister Communities - Jonah House is part of a network of individuals and communities along the east coast that calls itself “The Atlantic Life Community.” That community has waxed and waned over the years but there is a strong committed core of people who gather for retreat twice a year – over Mothers’ Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend. People in the Atlantic Life Community also come together for acts of peace witness and personal support. The ties that bind us one to another are those of friendship and the values we have come to share deeply.
Jonah House and the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in D.C organize three Faith and Resistance Retreat each year: one during Holy Week, the second on the anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the first week of August, and the third at the Feast of the Holy Innocents in December. These retreats operate on the praxis of reflection/action/reflection. Inspirational and informational presentations lead to public witness, prepared by the community that gathers, at the Pentagon and other sites in D.C.. Then the presentation and the action are evaluated and the community moves to the next stage of retreat.
Jonah House and the Viva House Catholic Worker in Baltimore host a series of Clarification of Thought evenings on the second Friday night of each month. The two communities work closely together on both service and resistance projects. For information about the series, speakers, times, and sites, please phone Jonah House or Viva House (410-233-0488)
Jonah House and The P. Francis Murphy Justice/Peace Initiative convene and conduct days of prayer and reflection on scripture and peacemaking four times a year - during Advent, Lent, Easter and Pentecost.
Visiting Jonah House - Visitors are welcome for retreats, to explore community, or become acquainted with us. People are also welcome to come to the community on an internship basis for three months, six months, or a year.
Gratitude - Members of the community living at Jonah House are thankful for all the people who have built and sustained Jonah House with their work and joys, tears and sufferings. We’re thankful for all the resistance to the empire that Jonah House people have participated in, supported and organized.
1301 Moreland Ave,Baltimore, MD 21216 (410) 233-6238


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