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Christian Peacemaker Teams | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Christian Peacemaker Teams
Variant Name: CPT

Historical Note:

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) grew out of a call by Ronald J. Sider, Professor at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, at the 1984 Mennonite World Conference. Sider, a member of the Brethren in Christ Church, put forward the idea of a "nonviolent peacekeeping force...ready to move into violent conflicts."

Responding to this call, Mennonite and Brethren in Christ study guides considering the call were distributed and commented on in the United States and Canada from 1985 to 1986.  In December 1986 the Council of Moderators and Secretaries (CMS) of the  Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Churches (including the Brethren in Christ Church, the General Conference Mennonite Church, the Mennonite Brethren, and the Mennonite Church) held a conference in Techny, Illinois and issued the "Techny Call," which established CPT.  The Mennonite Brethren declined to sponsor CPT.

A steering committee was formed and Gene Stoltzfus was hired as half-time coordinator.  The first CPT conference was held in Altona, Manitoba in 1988 and focused on input from Cree and Salteaux leaders concerning threats of violence against their people.  In 1989, CPT organized the First Annual CPT Training / Action Conference in Chicago, Illinois for 120 attendees.  CPT leaders and volunteers begin holding peace vigils, serving as election and human rights observers in 1990.

In November 1990, the first short-term CPT delegation was formed and sent to Iraq.  Since then, many delegations of peacemakers have been sent by CPT to support local peacemakers in areas of violent conflict.  A Christian Peacemaker Corps was formed in September 1993, enabling CPT to offer full-time assistance to local peacemakers.  Friends United Meeting joined as a CPT sponsor in 1996.

CPT has worked worldwide in safeguarding indigenous rights, seeking solutions to urban violence, and promoting nonviolence in political and ethnic conflicts.  The organization continues to promote conscientious objection to war, to develop nonviolent institutions, and to provide peacemaking ministries in areas affected by violent conflict.

Note Author: Colleen McFarland

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