Christian Witness in Abbotsford & Toronto
By Henry Krause, Pastor of Langley Mennonite Fellowship and chair of Ploughshares Fraser Valley
The Abbotsford International Air Show will be held this year between August 11 and 13 in Abbots-ford, B.C. It is one of the largest air shows in North America. Although billed as `family entertainment,' it fills the air with all kinds of weapons of mass destruction, like bombers and fighter jets.
Members of Ploughshares Fraser Valley and Langley Mennonite Fellowship are deeply concerned about this show that uses weapons that kill and mutilate children, women and men as entertainment. We want the event to stop showcasing weapons and truly become 'family entertainment' by displaying only civilian aircraft. We are concerned that war is glorified and that the death and destruction caused by these weapons is glossed over. We are inviting people to join us in a witness for peace built on the understanding that God is a God of love. Our calling, as followers of Jesus Christ, is to be messengers of peace and reconciliation, speaking against evil and for victims of violence.
(1) Prayer Tent/Peace Vigil: We will have a tent outside the gates of the air show where people can join us by praying for peace. We want to pray for victims of the conflicts around the world. As the warplanes 'entertain' we want to highlight and pray for victims who are targeted by these weapons.
(2) Leafleting: Volunteers will be distributing a brochure to encourage those attending the air show to think about the weapons and what they are really used for. We will invite them to encourage the air show to become a civilian show. We will suggest that they write letters to the local municipality. Leafleting will take place on all three mornings at the two gates leading into the air show.
(3) Dialogue area: A group will go inside the air show to set up an information area to provide further opportunities for dialogue. We will have materials to handout and will discuss our concerns about evil being misrepresented as entertainment.
(4) Peacemakers Tour: On Friday and Saturday, Bruce Hiebert will lead groups on a peacemakers tour of the show. Volunteers and the general public are invited to learn more about the warplanes on display.
(5) Other Actions: We want to provide opportunities for those who want to explore and participate in other actions in response to the violence being presented as entertainment.
For more information, please contact: Henry Krause, c/o Langley Mennonite Fellowship, 20997 - 40th Ave., Langley BC V3A 8N9; Tel.: (604) 530-0333; Email: email@example.com
For several years, the Toronto's Catholic Worker organization has protested the annual war show in Toronto. In 1997, they handed out 10,000 leaflets. This year's war show will be held on August 20.
For more information, contact: Jim Loney, Toronto Catholic Worker. Tel.: (416) 539-0251; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org