By Charles Busch, Congregational Church of Lincoln City, Lincoln City, OR
peace village 2Peace Village is an education program for teaching peace and nonviolence. Its roots are in the Central Pacific Conference UCC.

The first Peace Village was held 19 years ago at the Lincoln City Congregational UCC. It was created in response to a bullying incident at the local high school. “We decided,” said founder Rev. Charles Busch, “we needed to teach our children how to handle conflicts using peaceful means.”

The 5-day summer camp curriculum, titled Making a Village, has developed over the years. Today it features four core courses: Seeking Peace Within, Nonviolent Conflict Resolution, Media Literacy and Walk About (ecology). Students also create art, hike, and learn about peace heroes (e.g., Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Heschel, Badshaw Khan). From the beginning, the program has been interfaith. Students in Lincoln City sit at the feet of Native American Shaman Hasa Brown, Buddhist Dharma teacher Jerry Braza, and Rabbis, Imams and Christian ministers.

This experiment in peace education has grown and spread. This summer, more than a thousand students will attend the 22 Peace Villages in 10 states.

Has War Become Dysfunctional?

By Jeanine Elliott, Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ

Just-Peace banner smIn 1971, Robert Moss, then second president of the UCC, wrote in the United Church Herald, “In our kind of world, war has become dysfunctional. We now need to put as much effort into defining a just peace as we have done in the past in defining a just war.”[1]

Today we don’t even know what a war is.  On any given day, we can list conflicts between nations or peoples that result in death and injury of civilians and military alike.  This day we see Kiev, Bangkok, Syria, Central African Republic, Caracas, Iraq, and Afghanistan in conflict. Next week we may have a different list. We know our political leaders and those around the globe must wake each morning to see what parts of the world are on fire. At the same time, civilians in those areas may have no idea the anxiety, pain, and suffering the day will bring for them.  Most of these conflicts are not defined as wars.  Civil unrest hardly seems a big enough term to describe them.  Armed conflict may not reflect the imbalances of power.

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

A Warning to the Future

Presented by Kayo Uejima, Doctoral Student, Kumamoto University, Co-chair of UNESCO Asia/Pacific Region Working Group 3

Wednesday August 10th, 7:00 pm at Epworth United Methodist Church, 1333 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR. (Near 28th & Madison, 1 block north of Hawthorne).

Suggested Donation of $5:00-$10:00 to go to Tsunami/Fukushima relief. No one turned away for lack of funds.

How bad is the Fukushima nuclear disaster? Could it be as bad as or worse than Chernobyl? How is this disaster still unfolding, and why are we not getting the full story in the media? Could a similar disaster happen here in America? In her presentation, Kayo Uejima will address the current status of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and how radiation exposure has effected the population of the area, including health effects on children and future generations. She will discuss the changing attitudes towards nuclear energy in Japan as well as the growing anti-nuclear movement there. She will also address the spread of radiation to North America and will examine the future of the nuclear industry, examine some of the comparable dangers in American nuclear plants, and how nuclear energy is being promoted by the World Nuclear Association (WNA), the IAEA and others.  Her presentation will include a slideshow of the tsunami and nuclear disaster and also video interviews with nuclear experts.

Kayo Uejima is a public elementary school teacher who is a doctoral student at Kumamoto University, Japan.  She is co-chair of UNESCO Working Group 3: Visions and  Hopes for the Future.  She has written the report, “First Reflections on the Nuclear Environmental Problem in Japan” in the Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics. .