September, 2018

Dear friends,

The horrific new revelations of the church sex abuse scandal and coverup, along with the ongoing U.S. government corruption and wars, call us to return as never before to Jesus’ wisdom and way of nonviolence.

Like everyone, I’ve been shaken by the recent documents from the Pennsylvania Court investigation into the church crisis, as well as denunciations of Pope Francis. So many changes need to take place–not just prosecutions against those who covered up criminals, but the ordination of women and married men.

In these difficult days within the church, the nation and the world, I prefer to place my allegiance as much as possible with the nonviolent Jesus and the God of peace, and like many others, to soldier onward, doing what I can in pursuit of a new culture, a new church, a new world of peace, justice and nonviolence.

This month, I’ll be leading a weekend retreat at the Villa Maria Center in Pennsylvania, at the Youngstown, Ohio, border, on “Jesus and the Mission of Peace, Love and Nonviolence.” Then, I’ll be giving an evening lecture on nonviolence at the University of Rhode Island in Providence, on Sept. 13th. Then, speaking in Camden, New Jersey, at the great environmental gathering for the annual Thomas Berry lecture, on Sept. 15th. Finally onto D.C. for the Campaign Nonviolence march and protest at the White House.

At the moment, we have over 2400 events and marches registered for our Campaign Nonviolence National Week of action, Sept. 15-23, across the nation. It’s an amazing turnout. To everyone who is organizing an event, I offer my sincere thanks and heartfelt blessings.

On Saturday, Sept. 22, hundreds of us will rally at 9 a.m. at the Dr. King Statue (on the Southside of the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.), and walk to the White House for a vigil and nonviolent direct action. Speakers will call for an end to U.S. wars and nuclear weapons, racist policies, rampant greed and growing poverty, and ongoing environmental destruction, and for a new direction toward justice, disarmament and environmental protection.

Our speakers will include Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the HipHop Caucus; Rev. Lisa Sharon Harper of Freedom House; Shane Claiborne of Red Letter Christians; Dr. Ken Butigan, co-founder of Campaign Nonviolence; Dr. Kit Evans Ford; George Martin of United for Peace and Justice; Monsignor Ray East, Pastor of St. Teresa of Avila Church in Southeast D.C.; and myself.

At 10 a.m., we will walk in silence with signs past the Lincoln Memorial to the White House, where we will gather for a vigil in Lafayette Park, and continue to call for an end to racism, greed, war and environmental destruction, and for new leadership and a new culture of nonviolence, with respect, dignity, rights for everyone and for the earth. Some people will then engage in nonviolent direct action at the White House. See: www.campaignnonviolence.org

This will be the first ever march from the Dr. King Statue to the White House.

Ken Butigan calls our event: “’The Moment of Truth.” He says we all have to take a stand for truth and nonviolence, at this moment, that it’s a watershed time for all of us. I hope to see you there.

For me, instead of giving up or giving into the despair, hatred, apathy and fear around us, I’m trying to rise to the occasion, and I hope you will too.

Together, let’s stand up publicly in a spirit of peace, love and nonviolence, and advocate for truth, justice and nonviolence with all the love and empathy we can muster. We don’t know the outcome of our work; but we do know that if we do nothing, nothing positive, hopeful and new will happen around us. And if we dare take a stand in this turbulent times, we will be greatly blessed.

–Fr. John