Executive Director, On Earth Peace

People need community to help each other work together for justice and peace.

On Earth Peace provides such community.


Bill is a practitioner in: the OEP-Racial Justice group, where he is active in his local Black Lives Matter chapter; and the Kingian Nonviolence group, where he is a Level 1 certified trainer; and the Stop Recruiting Kids Campaign, where he is national co-coordinator.


Bill is Executive Director of On Earth Peace (OEP), a peace and justice mission and agency of the Church of the Brethren (a Historic Peace Church), and is a public speaker on the intersections of peace and faith and politics. He has degrees in Religious Studies and Law, and has worked as a lay minister, lawyer, and tech startup entrepreneur.

Bill and his wife, Randi, were involved with the peace movement as college students during the Vietnam War, and later returned as full-time, volunteer peace activists after 9/11 in 2001. They were early members of Military Families Speak Out, a call to bring our troops home and take care of them when they get here, where Bill is currently on the steering committee. Bill also recently served for eight years on the national council and executive committee of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the biggest and oldest interfaith peace organization in the world; is a founding board member of Save-A-Vet, dedicated to rescuing military and law enforcement dogs and sheltering them with disabled veterans in mutual healing and support; is a member of the steering committee of the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth, the leading counter-recruitment coalition in the nation; and is co-coordinator of the Stop Recruiting Kids Campaign, for which OEP is the global sponsor. He is the author of "us & them: bridging the chasm of faith," and has been a peace candidate for U.S. Congress three times.


  • published LinkedIn in Home 2020-07-02 16:25:18 -0400

  • published YouTube in Home 2020-07-02 16:21:31 -0400

  • published Instagram in Home 2020-07-02 16:20:21 -0400

  • published Twitter in Home 2020-07-02 16:19:08 -0400

  • published Facebook in Home 2020-07-02 16:16:26 -0400

  • published Just Peace Outfitters - #StickerScavengerHunt in Blog 2020-07-26 17:14:09 -0400

    Just Peace Outfitters - #StickerScavengerHunt

    Just Peace Outfitters is an independent marketplace and store platform that promotes and supports products for peace and justice worldwide. It is sponsored by On Earth Peace. JPOutfitters offers products in a variety of collections that YOU can support and be a part of.


    Sticker Scavenger Hunt

    JPO and On Earth Peace are partnered for the #StickerScavengerHunt going on RIGHT NOW!

    Find out how YOU can win free prizes below.

    Read more

  • published SCN Membership in Inclusion 2020-05-05 16:44:56 -0400

    On Earth Peace Celebrates SCN Membership

    Rainbow Welcome

    Jesus began his work by proclaiming that he was anointed “to let the oppressed go free” (Luke 4:18). This message was not received well in his hometown, but he knew it was a vital component of the “things that make for peace” (Luke 19:42). Overcoming oppression and welcoming the stranger are both central to the full evangelistic message and work of Jesus toward a peaceful beloved community.

    On Earth Peace’s commitment to undoing racism has taken us on an organizational journey of almost twenty years. Especially for those of us who are white, it has been staggering, humbling, and convicting to witness how oppression impacts people’s personal and family lives and their participation in church and society. For those of us who are people of color, this journey has been vital in the organization’s willingness and ability to fully include us in its work and leadership. For all of us, it has been liberating to deepen our understanding of the sin of racism and live more deeply into Jesus’ life and call.

    All forms of prejudice and oppression overlay each other and undermine the Good News of Christ. As part of receiving Christ’s call to repentance and new life, his disciples are called to dismantle these prejudices and oppressions in their hearts and institutions. To all who are pushed aside, shamed, made invisible, or silenced, Jesus is good news. “Take heart, get up, he is calling you” (Mark 10:49).

    In faithfulness to this understanding of the good news, and in support of people of various gender identities and sexual orientations who live in our Church of the Brethren communities, the On Earth Peace board is pleased to announce its decision to join the Supportive Communities Network (SCN) of the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests (BMC). This growing network now connects nearly 140 Brethren and Mennonite congregations and communities who are working together to provide spaces of belonging, pastoral services, and full support to LGBTQ+ believers and seekers.

    Membership in SCN will assist OEP in learning how to be a multicultural, inclusive agency, which fosters justice, peace, and joy. To this end, we invite the whole church to learn about the exciting work of the Supportive Communities Network so that more people might find peace in the Beloved Community of Jesus we call the Church of the Brethren.


    Frequently Asked Questions


    What is Supportive Communities Network (SCN)? How do we join SCN? Where can I learn more about SCN?

    Supportive Communities Network (SCN) is a community of nearly 140 Brethren and Mennonite congregations, colleges, and organizations who publically affirm gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender members. We are joining them! You can learn more at https://www.bmclgbt.org/scn including how to join. You can also find a full list of SCN congregations, colleges, and organizations there. SCN is a program of Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests.

    What was the catalyst for joining SCN?

    Joining SCN is a natural step for OEP in our work for justice and peace. And it is long overdue.

    OEP has been on an intentional journey in anti-racism/anti-oppression for almost two decades. Various forms of prejudice and oppression have compounding effects on people (which is called intersectionality), and this undermines the Good News of Christ and the Beloved Community for which we strive.

    While in 2011 OEP released a “Statement of Inclusion” in response to the actions at that summer’s Annual Conference, OEP had not yet examined ways that we exclude based on race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Our journey with the Church of the Brethren and people most affected by systems of oppression has strengthened our commitment. Having “counted the cost,” we can now with joy and integrity join SCN.

    Can you share more about your anti-racism/anti-oppression journey? Where do we start on this journey?

    Yes, we’d be happy to share more.

    You can learn more on our website: https://www.onearthpeace.org/artt_info.

    Also feel free to give us a call or email us at OEP@OnEarthPeace.org so we can hear where you are on this journey and think about next steps together.

    Why did we make this decision when the issues are causing so much strife and controversy within the Church of the Brethren? Does this mean On Earth Peace disagrees with the actions of Annual Conference?

    We know that not everyone in the Church of the Brethren is of one mind on this matter. Some individuals and congregations have thanked us for our decision. Others feel we are taking sides in a highly contentious time within the body. This is a pastoral and missional choice to say to those most impacted by the conflict, “We see you, our brothers, sisters, and siblings from the lgbtq community, and we are here with you. You are wanted and welcome.”

    When the 2011 Annual Conference re-affirmed the 1983 Statement, Human Sexuality from a Christian Perspective, we took heed that the statement encourages relationship and open communication rather than exclusion, and recommends working to protect the rights of gay people in society. We believe we are acting in accord with that counsel. It is our view that agencies of the church both help express the will of the church and creatively point toward new possibilities.

    Do we have any scriptural or theological backing for making this kind of decision to support the lgbtq community?

    Jesus began his work by proclaiming that he was anointed “to let the oppressed go free” (Luke 4:18). This message was not received well in his hometown, but he knew it was a vital component of the “things that make for peace” (Luke 19:42). Overcoming oppression and welcoming the stranger are both central to the full evangelistic message and work of Jesus toward a peaceful beloved community.

    In scripture, we find many examples of how God’s people have been led by God and Jesus to remove boundaries, which their own religious culture has created. For example:

    • In Acts 10, the early church learns that Gentiles may follow Jesus without first becoming Jews.
    • Jesus used a Samaritan to exemplify a good neighbor – rather than a Jew – at a time when the majority of Judeans summarily rejected the Samaritans.
    • Jesus talked with women at times when it was culturally unacceptable to do so.
    • Jesus had fellowship with politically despised people such as tax collectors and Roman occupiers.
    • Jesus made healing contact with lepers and others who were feared and considered unclean by many in his community at the time.

    Throughout history, God leads the faith community to remove the barriers that culture has created. In Galatians 3:28, we are told that “there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

    For in-depth study: On Earth Peace board co-chair Irv Heishman has written a booklet, A Biblical Basis for Inclusion: A Pastor’s Journey.

    Read it here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7iDmKJ70eqvRnRIdjdqTXY2NlE/view

    Who is On Earth Peace accountable to?

    As an agency of the Church of the Brethren, On Earth Peace is accountable to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, our constituents, and the whole body of believers. We take these relationships very seriously.

    Our journey toward becoming an anti-racist/anti-oppressive organization requires us to institutionalize this commitment in our practices and structures, including staff and board composition, programs, budgets, policies, and accountability to partners including Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing & Training and the Supportive Communities Network.

    How do you respond to people who disagree with this decision?

    It is our hope and belief that there is space for us to be together as a church even as we currently hold deep disagreements. We grieve that issues of deep conviction often lead to broken relationships and mistrust. We seek to follow Jesus in his teachings and ministry and seek respectful fellowship with all who are on that journey. We also believe that we are called to raise the level of relationships from maintaining the status quo (too often a false appearance of peace) to exploring significant areas of difference while advocating for justice -- this is where the Spirit moves.

    How can we support OEP as the Church of the Brethren struggles with this decision?

    It is our hope that this decision to join the Supportive Communities Network will encourage others to do the same. We ask for prayers of support for the LGBTQ+ community and SCN, including OEP. When possible, speak up for justice and full inclusion so that all may be a part of God’s Beloved Community. Join us in our work for justice and peace.

    What is On Earth Peace?

    On Earth Peace envisions a world in Beloved Community, liberated from oppression, violence, and war. Our mission is to develop and walk with leaders who work for justice and peace. Founded in 1974, we serve as an agency of the Church of the Brethren, a historic peace church, and we gladly work with faith-based and secular community groups around the United States. Our core values are Jesus-Centered Spirituality, Positive Peace, Anti-Racism/ Anti-Oppression, Intergenerational Leadership, and Beloved Community.


     


  • published CV-4 in Events 2020-04-26 20:34:56 -0400

    OEP Meetup #3: "Positive Peace" vs. "Negative Peace" in a Time of Pandemic

    This event is #3 in a series of special online gatherings for On Earth Peace members and friends to join together to build Beloved Community as we "shelter in place" in this time of pandemic. This session focuses on another one of OEP's core values -- positive peace.

    positive peace

    Positive Peace
    “We learn, teach and practice dynamic forms of peacemaking which see conflict as an important tool to meet needs, address injustice, correct imbalances of power, and seek healing and reconciliation.”

    Many of us are experiencing new or different conflicts in the intense conditions of COVID-19, and wondering how to wage conflict to address underlying systemic conditions that are being shown for all to see. How is it going with positive peace in your life at the moment?

    What skills are you practicing or learning? What skills do you long to strengthen?

    Join us at the 3rd OEP online meetup and be part of this important conversation!


    Email us about other workshops or activities you need. We have many!


    Sign up

  • published cv-1-thanks in CV-1 2020-04-15 17:47:08 -0400

    Thanks for joining this OEP online event

    social distancing

    Thanks for joining this OEP online event in this time of "social distancing" with COVID-19.


    Please consider subscribing to our Peacebuilder biweekly newsletter, or one of our other email lists on specific areas of interest: https://www.onearthpeace.org/join

    Also, check out our growing wide range of online communities working on various peace and justice concerns: https://www.onearthpeace.org/cop

    If you find value here, we invite you to support our work with your financial gifts too: https://www.onearthpeace.org/donate



  • published CV-2 in Events 2020-04-15 17:46:32 -0400

    Turn "Social Distancing" into "Beloved Community" in a time of COVID-19

    Let's turn "social distancing" into "physical distancing" + "beloved community" in this time of "lockdown" and "self-quarantine" -- listening, sharing, and supporting each other.

    connections

    Here is a way to check-in and share how the pandemic is disrupting our lives, and what we are all doing to nurture "beloved community" in a time of physical separation and fear.

    Email us if you work in essential services and need other times.


    Sign up

  • published CV-1 in Events 2020-04-15 17:45:57 -0400

    Peace & Justice Education in a Time of COVID-19: "Home School" for Adults

    In this time of "lockdown" and "social distancing" here are some ways you can develop your abilities as parents, teachers, pastors, and other leaders for justice and peace.

    How about joining an online workshop? We know you will be home!

    social distancing

    Here are the first three events. One introduces learning activities you can do with youth and children. Another is a community gathering to share our experiences of the pandemic. And one jumps straight in with hands-on training in Kingian Nonviolence.

    Email us about other workshops or activities to help you. We have many!

    And, let us know if you work in essential services and need other times.


    Sign up

  • published Witness at the Border: #7 - The Response in Blog 2020-03-04 13:28:26 -0500

    Witness at the Border: #7 - The Response

    the work of witnessing

    This is the final post in the “Witness at the Border” series on my recent visit to the migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico and related border enforcement facilities in Brownsville, Texas.

    I went on behalf of On Earth Peace to learn from those who came to witness on the U.S. side, and from those who came to seek asylum on the Mexico side of the border. And learn, I did!

    Read more

  • published Witness at the Border: #6 - The People in Blog 2020-03-02 18:06:54 -0500

    Witness at the Border: #6 - The People

    home school

    home school, camp style

    They come from places like Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicauragua, and other parts of Mexico. Waiting in camp for a long series of court dates to adjudicate their claims for asylum in the U.S. (or the possibility of a quick deportation under one of the new fast-track processes).

    Read more

  • published Witness at the Border: #4 - The Airport in Blog 2020-02-27 19:27:11 -0500

    Witness at the Border: #4 - The Airport


    “... while the organization would simply right itself by some compensating reaction in another part of its machinery – since everything interlocked – and remain unchanged.”
    -- The Trial, by Franz Kafka


    When Witness at the Border began, its focus was on the new Migrant Protection Protocol (“Remain in Mexico”) program and the camp it caused to spring up on the other side of the border. However, as organizers began to observe daily charter flights of shackled migrant deportees flying out of the Brownsville airport, and saw the size of the camp in Matamoros begin to stop growing, they shifted some of their attention to include witnessing at the airport.

    Read more

  • published Witness at the Border: #5 - The Camps in Blog 2020-02-27 19:07:03 -0500

    Witness at the Border: #5 - The Camps

    tents

    2,000+ asylum seekers in a tent/tarp city

    The city of Matamoros in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico is a city of more than a half million people, and the center of a metro area with over one and a quarter million. It is closely connected with the city of Brownsville, Texas directly across the border. So closely that one organizer wryly referred to Brownsville as a “gated community” suburb of Matamoros. This is where the Mexican and U.S. governments decided to park more than 2,000 asylum seekers in a makeshift migrant camp in a popular public greenway between the levee and the river.

    Read more

  • published Witness at the Border: #3 - The System in Blog 2020-02-22 13:30:52 -0500

    Witness at the Border: #3 - The System

    “The Policeman said to me, ‘You want to know the way? Give up! Just give up!’”
       -- The Complete Stories ("Give It Up!"), by Franz Kafka

    The current Administration has put in place an amazingly complex web of enforcement practices that have moved the U.S. from what often had been called “catch and release” to what we might now label “deter and deport.” My learning curve was steep and swift, even for someone with a law degree and a long business career in systems engineering.

    Read more

  • published Witness at the Border: #2 - Tent Courts in Blog 2020-02-21 18:45:06 -0500

    Witness at the Border: #2 - Tent Courts

    tent courts

    “You don't need to accept everything as true, you only have to accept it as necessary.” 
    -- The Trial, by Franz Kafka

    People who have been inside the “tent courts” describe a surreal world. A massive complex of gleaming white tents sits on a platform over a former parking lot. Fake grass turf covers the walkways between tents, while gray linoleum covers the floors of the vinyl-walled hallways, offices, and courtroom spaces inside. The judge appears on a large video display, sitting in a real courtroom many miles away. The prosecutor speaks off-screen, and often untranslated.

    Read more

  • published Witness at the Border: #1 - The Call in Blog 2020-02-09 11:55:55 -0500

    Witness at the Border: #1 - The Call

    This is the first in a series of brief reports from my trip to the US-Mexico border for On Earth Peace.

    This video shows the call put out by Joshua Rubin for people to come to Brownsville/Matamoros to witness the results of the Migrant Protection Protocols program started in 2019. Under MPP, asylum seekers who attempt to enter the United States at the U.S.-Mexico border may be required to stay in Mexico while immigration courts make a decision regarding their case.

    Read more

  • published Appeal-Giving-Tuesday-2019 in Donate 2019-11-18 15:13:11 -0500

  • Thank you for investing in impact leaders working for justice & peace!

    leadership training

    Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation training, Dayton OH  


    You can easily start your own #GivingTuesday fundraiser for OEP here: https://www.facebook.com/fund/onearthpeace/


    We invite you to learn more about getting involved in one of our communities of practice in a growing range of peace and justice concerns: https://www.onearthpeace.org/cop

    Also, consider subscribing to our Peacebuilder biweekly newsletter, or one of our other email lists on specific areas of interest: https://www.onearthpeace.org/join


On Earth Peace Executive Director | National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth & Military Families Speak Out Steering Committees | Stop Recruiting Kids Campaign Co-Coordinator | Peacebuilder, Writer, Social Entrepreneur
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