Peace & Restorative Justice Community
Mission Statement for Peace & Restorative Justice Community
Pursuant to a 1995 resolution of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church USA to "work in partnership with the U.S. government to provide for common goals, promote justice and peace and spiritual well being for all in the U.S. and abroad," as well as a resolution of the 2000 General Convention to "encourage each parish to establish groups to discuss and act on public policy issues," we hereby establish this Mission Statement for the Peace and Justice Community of the Church of the Holy Trinity.
We are called in our Episcopal baptismal covenant to "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being." In keeping with this liturgical guideline, our committee's mission shall focus upon:
— Identifying centers of injustice, discrimination and neglect in our neighborhood, city and nation;
— Informing other members of Holy Trinity, and any other interested parties, of these occurrences of injustice and discord;
— Formulating plans of action to address the causes of these problems, and articulating viable solutions that we may undertake as a community.
In working for peace and restorative justice, we strive to be as forthright, yet as gentle, as Jesus was when he spoke to his disciples. Our strategies include:
— Personal conversation, whether face-to-face, by telephone or e-mail;
— Educating members of our parish, and any other interested parties, individually or in groups;
— Written petitions directed to the leadership of our church, city and nation;
— Regular communication with other religious and secular interest groups whose efforts to affect public policy may enrich our own;
— Peaceful public demonstrations of our views, undertaken either as an individual committee or in concert with outside interest groups whose opinions may converge with our own.
Recognizing that peace and restorative justice ministry requires trust and centeredness in God and deep reservoirs of vision, hope, and fortitude, we intentionally seek to support one another and, together, we strive to deepen the connection of our activism to the gospel through spiritual practices that inform and sustain our work. In particular, each minister commits to eight broad areas of the spiritual life we see as essential to grounding us in God and strengthening our mission to act upon public policy issues. They are: Worship, Personal Prayer, Study, Sabbath, Cultural Engagement and Recreation, Compassionate Poverty, Service, and Leadership. In 2008, the Community created a booklet, Spiritual Practices to Sustain Christians in the Ministry of Peace & Restorative Justice, that offers specific ideas for spiritual practices that can equip any Christian to act upon public policy issues.
Actions and Advocacy
The Peace and Restorative Justice Community seeks to walk with Jesus in addressing issues of social justice. We advocate on public policy in the form of demonstrations, petitions, letter-writing and telephone campaigns, and meetings with elected officials. We conduct prayer vigils and liturgical actions around social justice issues. We create and participate in educational programs on these issues within the parish and throughout the city. We write bulletin notices and have published articles and booklets, including an Election Agenda, published in 2008 and used by churches around the country, and a Spiritual Practices booklet, designed to nurture Christians active in social justice work. We regularly partner with other faith and activism organizations, on a local, state, and national level.
Our mission, our upcoming events, and the Spiritual Practices booklet are listed under our link on the Holy Trinity website. Just click "Peace and Restorative Justice" at Holy Trinity's web page, www.holytrinity-nyc.org. We welcome everyone to attend our events and our meetings, and to engage us in your areas of concern.
February/March—Members participated in the Ecumenical Carbon Fast developed by the Massachusetts United Church of Christ and encouraged parish participation through announcements and bulletin notices. We hosted a parish discussion at the end of the fast.
April—We hosted a “Gasland” film screening at Holy Trinity, in partnership with New York Food and Water Watch, the Environmental Office of the Diocese of N.Y., Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice, WeAct for Environmental Justice, the Interfaith Center, the Center for the Study of Science and Religion, Columbia U.; the Muslim Consultative Network, and Jews Against Hydrofracking. The screening was followed by a question and answer discussion with representatives from the sponsoring organizations.
“Faith and Revolutionary Activism” panel at N.Y.U. Brittany helped organize the panel; Susan and Chris spoke on the panel; and other Community members attended.
May—Members attended various Occupy Mayday rallies and events around the city throughout the day.
June—The Community led Holy Trinity’s participation in N.Y.C.’s annual Heritage of Pride parade, behind the Holy Trinity Peace and Restorative Justice banner, designed by Community member Erlinda Brent, and blessed the crowd on Fifth Avenue with incense.
September—We held our annual P.&R.J. Retreat, which featured a potluck, a discussion of Crossan’s Jesus, A Revolutionary Biography, a screening and discussion of “Koch Brothers Exposed,” and a discussion of future work.
October—The L.O.V.E. Task Force on Non-Violent Living, begun as a working group within P.&R.J. a year ago, became an independent task force within the parish, launching an impressive educational series featuring films, speakers, and panels.
November—Steve led a Veteran’s Day Adult Christian Ed. session featuring the World War I poetry of Wilfred Owen.
December—The Community led the parish in a boycott of Koch Industries products as an Advent discipline.
The Community held its annual Human Rights Eucharist, commemorating the signing of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and praying each article of the declaration.
The Community sponsored a petition to our representatives concerning the possible Fiscal Cliff reductions in Medicare. Medicaid and changes to Social Security benefits.
The Community supports its members in their various outside activities pertinent to Peace and Restorative Justice. Members were active in other faith and advocacy groups, including the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Connect, the Environmental Task Force of the Diocese of New York, Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice, Integrity, the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign, New Yorkers to End Gun Violence, Occupy Faith, and Occupy Wall Street.
March—Members participated in a “Creating A Culture of Peace” workshop led by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, held at St. Bartholomew’s.
April—We participated in a “Jobs Not War” rally held at Union Square.
June—The Community led Holy Trinity’s participation in N.Y.C.’s annual Heritage of Pride parade, behind a new Holy Trinity Peace and Restorative Justice banner, designed by Community member Erlinda Brent.
July—The Community participated in the “Three Faiths Walk”—a series of three talks, with walking conversation in between, among members of B’nai Jeshurun, the Church of the Holy Trinity, and the Muslim Consultative Network. Community member Patsy Weille organized the event in partnership with members of the Muslim Consultative Network and B’nai Jeshurun.
September—For the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, the Community led a parish conversation on our individual memories of Sept. 11th and on the effects of the event on civic life in our city and our nation.
November—Members led parishioners in the preparation of about 150 lunches for Occupy Wall Street and delivered them to Zuccotti Park.
December— The Community held its annual Human Rights Eucharist, commemorating the signing of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and praying each article of the declaration.
Community members prepared and shared a potluck supper with guests of our homeless shelter, and, afterwards, listened as they discussed homelessness and the shelter system, incorporating the sculpture installation “Temporary Shelter,” by Heather Stoltz, then sited in Draesel Hall.
Members have written pieces for the Sunday Bulletin on various activities and sources of information on Peace and Restorative Justice issues that may be of interest to parishioners.
The Community supports its members in their various outside activities pertinent to Peace and Restorative Justice. Members were very active in other faith and advocacy groups, including the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Connect, Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice, Integrity, the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign, New Yorkers to End Gun Violence, Occupy Faith, and Occupy Wall Street. This year, an anti-violence task force of P&RJ was formed—L.O.V.E.: Liberate Ourselves, Value Everyone.