WASHINGTON – Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice drew nearly 1,000 people from as far away as Alaska and Sri Lanka to Washington, D.C. from March 21-24 for its 12th National Gathering. This year’s annual event focused on efforts to reduce acquisition and use of guns for purposes that cause harm, and to rebalance funding priorities toward preventing violence and enhancing human security.
Christians and other people of good will gathered for the four day gathering entitled “Jesus Weeps – Resisting Violence, Building Peace” which culminated in yesterday’s successful Lobby Day as advocates fanned out across Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress and Senators. These coordinated meetings included calls for elected leaders to do more to enact policies which will end the plague of gun violence in our nation and reduce out-sized military spending.
Dynamic plenary speakers, including Rev. John Dear, Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, Bryan Miller, and many others were joined by over 50 workshop presenters and dozens of exhibitors to provide attendees with opportunities to learn, reflect, develop advocacy skills, network with others from their states and denominations, worship with global music, silence, and word, as well as participate in various artistic activities.
Rev Jim Wallis of Sojourners provided the advocates with a rousing call to action at the gathering’s concluding Sunday night banquet. Artistic efforts included a project which produced over 500 “peace cranes” that were then blessed by the gathered advocates and brought to lobby meetings as reminders of the Christian call for peace with justice.
Advocates also “left behind” information related to the 2014 Lobby Day Ask with legislators, providing specific guidance about policy priorities and returned home with a renewed commitment to the important work of peace building and advocacy to share with their communities of faith.
Social media played an integral role in the gathering and the Lobby Day as advocates posted and shared stories, quotations, pictures and more throughout the event, causing #ead2014 to trend on Washington, D.C. Twitter feeds on Friday night, raising the event’s profile in that important medium.
Photo galleries from Friday’s Opening Celebration, Saturday’s activities and Lunch Plenary on gun violence sponsored by Heeding God’s Call, Sunday’s banquet, and Monday’s Lobby Day are available on our website, and more will be added in the coming days.
Videos and additional resources from the plenary events will be added to the website during the coming week and will be available to all.