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Renewed called to pray: CPT members in Iraq


March 15, 2006
-by Dan Dyck

Winnipeg, Man. — Leaders from Mennonite Church Canada issued a renewed call to on-going prayer for Tom Fox's family, and the three remaining members of Christian Peacemaker Teams who are still in captivity.

Fox, 54, a Quaker from Clear Brook, Va., was reported to be have been found dead in Iraq on March 10, after being held hostage since November.

Leaders also called on petitioners to include prayers for transformed hearts of the Swords of Righteousness Brigade, the group that continues to hold Harmeet Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember.

Mennonite Church Canada, one of the founding bodies of CPT, also extends condolences to the family and friends of Tom Fox.

“Peace-making is risky business. Tom’s death demonstrates that nurturing peace is dangerous even when you do so peacefully. Tom has died for peace but has refused to kill for it. He has paid the supreme sacrifice for our commitment to peace,” said Jack Suderman, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada.

CPT was founded in 1986, with the support of Mennonites and other peace churches. Mennonite Church Canada appoints two representatives to the CPT Steering Committee.

Janet Plenert, Executive Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada Witness, added “We are deeply saddened that Tom Fox has been killed for so boldly standing up for others. Even though his life has been snuffed, he will live on as an example of boldly proclaiming the conviction that all peacemaking Christians hold dearly. He lived his conviction, that those who proclaim peace must also be willing to die for it.”

Mennonites churches have a long history of persecution for their pacifist theology, having migrated from Eastern Europe in the 16th century to seek freedom of religion and the right of refusal to bear arms. Today, Mennonites are one of a handful of so-called Peace Churches, with approximately 1.1 million members representing 51 countries in Mennonite World Conference.