Janell Ryan, She/They

Janell Ryan graduated Messiah University in 2020, majoring in English (writing concentration) and minoring in Psychology. Currently, Janell is the Newsletter Editor and is loving every second of it, learning new techniques and also educating herself on important issues. She is passionate about racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, mental health education, and feminism. When she's not working, Janell can be found writing, complimenting her cat constantly, trying not to kill plants, and organizing her room for the 30th time. 

  • Internship Highlight: Priscilla Weddle, our Children’s Peace Formation Organizer!

    Priscilla works as our Children’s Peace Formation Organizer ! “I am responsible for creating and promoting the children's curriculum.” More recently, Priscilla’s work has been based on her big quarantine project; the Read Aloud Project. “The main thing right now is the Read Aloud project, where members of the community record themselves reading peace and justice children's books and ask engagement questions. That was made to help parents with homeschooling resources for the pandemic.” While Priscilla coordinates the Read Aloud Project, she also finds herself helping in other spheres of OEP, like more recently the Raising Race Conscious Kids Webinar Series. She finds joy in the interactions she encounters. “I like collaboration with the other members. I recently did a webinar series where I got to work with Laura, Grace, and Tamera and that was a lot of fun!” Outside of OEP, Priscilla finds herself just as busy. “Right now, I have a new job at the food pantry at my university, as my major is food insecurity. I have my job and I like playing with my dog and going to the beach and stuff like that.”


    Priscilla’s many big projects are a staple of OEPs justice acts and gifts to its community, making Priscilla a greatly valued member of the OEP family. Thank you Priscilla for keeping OEP running proud and strong! 

  • Raising Race Conscious Kids Webinar Series Overview

    From July 23rd to August 13th, On Earth Peace held a webinar series called “Raising Race Conscious Kids.” Several members of OEP were involved in creating the series, including Marie Benner-Rhoades, Priscilla Weddle, Laura Hay, Tamera Shaw, and Grace Cook-Huffman. Topics included culturally responsive teaching, the myth of color-blindness, the role of racial scripts, and the future of racial justice. The books “Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America,” by Jennifer Harvey, and “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria and Other Conversations About Race,” by Beverly Daniel Tatum, were used to guide the discussions. 


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  • The Read Aloud Project: This School Year

    The Read Aloud Project was created by Priscilla Weddle and Marie Benner-Rhoades to provide homeschooling resources in peace and justice during the pandemic. For the project, members of the community read children’s books about peace, courage, and justice. With the school year coming up and many students attending remotely, we have decided to create a curriculum to go along with the read aloud videos. 

    Beginning in September, the project will return to its regular schedule of posting two videos a week on Mondays and Wednesdays with a peace skills lesson. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th, we will be reading books about Hispanic history and culture every Wednesday. 

    The project is looking for bilingual readers to read these books. If you are interested in recording a video for the project, please email Priscilla at [email protected].

    We are also looking for child readers.  If you are a child or teen and would like to read for the Read Aloud Project, we’ll mail you the book of your choice to keep from a list of peace and justice books.  For more information email Priscilla at [email protected]

    You can find all the past Read Aloud videos here.

  • Internship Highlight: Taylor Cole, the Social Media Intern for Dunker Punks Podcast!

    Taylor Cole works as our Social Media Intern for the Dunker Punks Podcast! “I work indirectly with OEP, and mainly with the Dunker Punks Podcast staff.” For Taylor, the history and meaning behind Dunker Punks brings life to her work. “Dunker Punks, coined by Jered McKenna, reinforces the idea of supporting youth and bringing youth back into the church by emphasizing it as a beacon away from hate and anger. The podcast has been created to inspire the youth on the church's philosophy as it should be.” Taylor finds joy in the freedom of her job at OEP and Dunker Punks. “I really like having the freedom to work on my own. A lot of the jobs I've had before I have had very direct authoritarian supervision, so I like the independence.” Outside of the podcast world, Taylor can be found knitting and watching 2000’s sitcoms. “I am kind of a grandma. The two main things that I do outside OEP are knitting and watching the Big Bang Theory or West Wing.”


    Dunker Punks and OEP are very grateful for the amazing work that Taylor does for the podcast world. Thank you Taylor for all your hard work keeping OEP proud and strong!


  • published !Dunker Punks Needs You! in Blog 2020-08-12 05:23:12 -0400

    !Dunker Punks Needs You!

    Dunker Punks Podcast is looking for new contributors! 


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  • What is Equality in The Military?

    The US Congress is currently considering whether to expand the draft to women, as the National Commission on Military and National Service recommended, or to abolish the draft for people of all genders. Some are suggesting that expanding the draft is a natural expansion of women’s rights and gender equality but the truth is that true equality will only come from abolishing the draft for everyone. Stop Recruiting Kids (SRK) opposes the draft for the same reasons we oppose the military recruitment of kids- we believe that a free, just society should only recruit willing adults, who understand the risks of military service and agree to them. We stand against coercive military recruitment practices in all forms. A peaceful society must operate its military in a way that respects the dignity of all its citizens, of every gender and every age. 

    To learn more about OEP’s stance on the draft and the recruitment of kids, as well as to see the various memes created by SRK, visit the OEP Stop Recruiting Kids Campaign Facebook Page.

  • Linguistic Dismantling of Male Dominance

    By Skylar Rella, OEP's Gender Justice Organizer

    The language we use matters. The words we choose and the ways we write them have the potential to either reinforce or oppose normative understandings of power hierarchies. When it comes to gender specifically, there are some explicit ways language perpetuates the patriarchy. It is no secret that the word “woman”/ “women” simply cannot be spelled without the word “man”/ “men.” The implications of this reveal themselves in the culturally prominent idea that women are innately dependent on men. In other words, not only are women regarded as inferior to men, but they are also thought to need men in order to be successful or valuable.

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  • Internship Highlight: Dean DiPisa, our Outreach Interns and Online Storekeeper

    Dean is OEP’s outreach intern and the online storekeeper for Just Peace Outfitters! “To give you some detail, I have built and currently manage an online store interface through redbubble.com, as well as work with other interns to create social media pages for the store. My day to day usually involves going through our store and making sure everything is in order, working in Canva to create new images and store content. More recently, I have been working with the social media accounts and Tabby (our social media intern), and developing a sticker scavenger hunt for store outreach.”

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  • published Youth and Young Adult Survey in Blog 2020-07-22 10:04:23 -0400

    Youth and Young Adult Programming Survey

    Youth and Young Adult (YYA) Intern, Laura Hay, has created a survey to explore how OEP can reach youth with peace education opportunities. With your suggestions and thoughts about past, present, and future work pertaining to our Youth and Young Adult Programming, we hope to better create an inclusive and engaging environment for youth leaders for justice and peace. If you have questions about this survey or other OEP YYA related questions feel free to reach out to Laura, email: [email protected]

    You can take the survey here.


  • Immigrating Detention Center Conversation

    Two Part-Coversation: Tuesdays August 11th and August 18th at 8:00 PM EST/ 5:00 PM PST

    Do you want to be a greater advocate for migrants? 

    Living in tight prison-like conditions and being separated from loved ones is not uncommon for those who end up making the journey to the USA border. Given the COVID-19 pandemic spread, the immigration detention system is even more important to discuss. This two-part conversation will cover immigrant detention facilities and connect them to the criminal justice system. Join to become an informed ally! For more information look at the OEP-Migrant Facebook page or email [email protected]

  • OEP's Prison Justice Learning Action Community

    Written by Jennifer Weakland, OEP Prison Justice Organizer Intern

    There is currently one week remaining in the 8-week, first-ever Prison Justice Learning Action Community Engagement Program! It has been a wonderful affirmation of individuals coming together to make a community that wants to learn about and put energy towards addressing the injustice plaguing the US prison system. We have read through and discussed in-depth Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, watched and discussed videos featuring Jeff Rosen, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Kamau Walton, and Andrea Ritchie on restorative justice systems,and have learned the 6 principles of Kingian Nonviolence. Most recently, the group had an action-focused meeting to brainstorm opportunities to become active participants in prison justice advocacy in our own communities. 

    To fully achieve the program goals of community engagement, issue education, and action empowerment, we have participated in a variety of activities. Integral in these activities is the earnest discussion of program material. These discussions allowed us the time to explore ideas, vent our own feelings and share inspiration surrounding prison justice, while also appreciating and supporting each other’s involvement. They also allowed us to learn much more about current, systemic issues facing the prison system, such as racially discriminatory mass incarceration through the War on Drugs, the injustice of biased plea bargain trials, the harms and dehumanization of imprisonment in general, and much more. During some meetings, the group split into breakout rooms for one-t0-one discussions of the material, which made for increased personal connection and in-depth discussion between group members. On one such occasion, group members participated in a casual mock debate, taking turns arguing for and against some of the principles of Kingian Nonviolence in order to prepare for disagreement with those who do not agree with the practice of nonviolence and the goal of prison reform. 

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  • Raising Race Conscious Kids Webinar

    On Earth Peace will be holding a four-week webinar series on how to raise race-conscious kids. Topics will include how parents and teachers can teach kids about race, the role of racial scripts, and the future of racial justice. The book Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In A Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey will be used to guide the discussions, however, reading the book is not required. We will be meeting every Thursday at 8 PM ET starting on July 23rd through August 13th.

    If you are interested in attending, please click here to complete the registration form.

  • Internship Highlight: Albert Nguyen, our Development Support Intern!

    Albert works as our Development Support Intern at OEP! “I help build and redesign the OEP donation page website. I also help build the Impact Leaders Project, which displays any leader who has impacted OEP in the past (interns, anyone else).” Albert has been spending most of his time at OEP creating a new donation page that should be launching soon! “Right now, we are getting closer to the soft launch for the OEP Leaders Impact and Donation page, so I am really excited to see how it all holds up. It should be an exciting thing to see.” With his work in the backend of OEP, Albert finds joy in using the skills he has been honing for years. “The best part about working with OEP is being able to use some of the skills I have and some of the skills I have learned and to be able to apply those skills into day to day life. Like for example, using my communication skills to talk to people, or my computer science skills to create pictures for Facebook.” Albert’s work with OEP is intensive and exciting for him, making his projects a place of pride in his life. “Outside of OEP, I just take breaks and do some exercise, probably look at my school website and look around to see what I can read about; anything interesting like news or academics. I guess you could say playing video games is a hobby of mine too.” 


    With all the support behind-the-scenes that Albert provides to OEP, we can without a doubt say that Albert has made OEP a better and stronger community through his dedication and support. Thank you Albert for keeping OEP running proud and strong! 

  • published Song and Story Fest 2020 in Blog 2020-07-01 11:01:04 -0400

    Song and Story Fest 2020

    Song and Story Fest has been moved online this year! Though we won't have our usual campfires and sing-a-longs in person, webinars and ZOOM gatherings will span between July 3rd and 10th to give everyone the sense of community they have been missing. To kick off everything we’ll gather, do a little visiting, tell some jokes, explore and embody a scripture for the evening, and then let some of our leaders offer songs and stories in an intergenerational worship program. The whole evening will last about 90 minutes on July 3rd, from 8:00 PM Eastern time until about 9:30.

    The following days will have workshops/sharing/discussion offerings! On Sunday, rewriting the history of the Church of the Brethren, and on Monday, white people for racial justice.  In addition, on Thursday we will have sharing circles for women and men (separate ZOOM links).


    Contact Ken Kline Smeltzer at [email protected] to identify yourself and obtain the ZOOM links for these events.

    Scheduled Events for 2020 Song & Story Fest

    Friday, July 3, 8:00 PM Eastern time: “Song & Story Fest – Built for Such a Time as This” 

    • Discussions of Scripture: Amos 5:22-24 and Esther 4:12-14
    • Leaders: Mike Stern, Jim Lehman, Bill Jolliff

    Sunday, July 5, Workshop, 8:00 PM  Eastern time: "A People's History of the Church of the Brethren: an exercise in collective memory and narrative construction.”

    • Together we will "re-member" the social/cultural history of our church to "dis-cover" how we became complicit in our own acculturation and demise.”
    • Debbie Eisenbise

    Monday, July 6, Workshop, 8:00 PM  Eastern time: “If black lives matter to white people, what should white people be doing?”

    • Jonathan Hunter and Bonnie Kline Smeltzer will convene this sharing and discussion time, focusing on racial inequality, justice, and what we can do about it. 

    Tuesday, July 7, 8:00PM Eastern Time: “Christmas in July – Another Way of Living?” 

    • Discussions of Scripture: Mark 5:38-48
    • Leaders: Jonathan Hunter, Rhonda and Greg Baker, Others?

    Thursday, July 9, 8:00 PM Eastern Time: “Men’s Sharing Circle”, “Women’s Sharing Circle” – separate ZOOM links 

    • Conveners: Jim Lehman, Ken Kline Smeltzer for Men; Carrie and Kathy Fry-Miller for Women

    Friday, July 10, 8:00 PM Eastern Time: “Envisioning and Acting for Social Change” 

    • Discussions of Scripture: Joel 2:28-29, and Jeremiah 29:11-14
    • Leaders: Jim Lehman, Peg Lehman, Louise Brodie, Debbie Eisenbise, more…

  • published Standing With George Floyd in Blog 2020-07-01 10:56:57 -0400

    Standing With George Floyd

    Written by our Racial Justice Organizing Interns, Tamera Shaw and Grace Cook-Huffman


    On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Since then, parts of the United States and other places in the world have erupted in protests. While police brutality, systemic racism and inequity are constantly being challenged, there seems to be a new wave of positive, forward-moving change.  More people in the United States are finally starting to listen and take action. The public is pushing governments to pass laws directly addressing police reform and the defunding of police departments. Subsequently, police officers are being held accountable and responsible for their abusive and bigoted actions. Leading with God’s love and empathy, our collective voices must sing together in a call for action. Now is the time to continue urgently demanding reform, justice, and equity in ourselves, our families, our communities, our churches and spiritual practices, our schools and our institutions. It is pertinent that we use our Beloved Communities to learn, grow, and act together. 


    Movements for uplifting and bringing equity to our society are not uniquely a Black challenge. It is a challenge that every person must rise to in order to effectively create structural change. As we recognize and demand justice for Black lives that have been brutally taken, we must also recognize the countless number of people that are being killed with no media coverage.  This includes Latinx lives, Indigenous lives, and all other people of color that have fallen victim to this system. 


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  • Internship Highlight: Chelsea Little

    Chelsea works as our Newsletter Editor Intern at OEP! “I do a lot of the work associated with the various email blasts and newsletters sent out by OEP,” Chelsea explained. “I am majorly responsible for the bi-weekly PeaceBuilder, so collecting (and sometimes writing) content for that, formatting, editing, and sending out the Peace Builder, though I also handle a lot of the blog posting and the work involved with the bi-annual newsletters and conference wrap-ups. I’m just your friendly neighborhood OEP content collector!”

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  • published StickerScavengerHunt in Blog 2020-06-04 10:11:04 -0400

    Just Peace Outfitters #StickerScavengerHunt

    Beginning June 3rd On Earth Peace is partnering with Just Peace Outfitters (JPOutfitters) to host a fun and enriching #StickerScavengerHunt! 


    Between now and June 30th On Earth Peace’s blogs and social media will be posting and hiding images and hints towards finding 10 exciting & beautiful JPOutfitters peace & justice stickers!

    After you find a sticker you can “stamp” your sticker collection ”book” by:

    1. Sharing the link to that sticker location in your social media
    2. Sending a screenshot or link for your shared post to [email protected]

    The first 10 sticker scavengers to collect all 10 stickers will win their choice of a free peace & justice sticker from the JPOutfitters Store


  • World Refugee Day Virtual March

    Join the World Refugee Day virtual march on June 20th to show solidarity with migrants and refugees. Post a photo of yourself on social media holding up signs with supportive statements and related hashtags like #WithRefugees #SupportRefugees #RefugeesWelcome #WRD2020. Please email your photos to [email protected] in order to create a big photo collage of all the participants by June 19th. Feel free to check out related content on the OEP-Migrant Justice Facebook page throughout the month.

  • OEP on Peaceful Protest and Kingian Nonviolence

    With so many in the streets after the killings of #GeorgeFloyd, #BreonnaTaylor, and so many others, we are mindful of people of many generations and racial/cultural backgrounds who are taking risks, providing support, or being invited into solidarity with the struggle for Black lives. As people seeking to follow Jesus and to follow a nonviolent path, we encourage congregations to stay strong in the long haul work of dismantling racism and building Beloved Community. Join us in the OEP-RacialJustice Learning Action Community for ideas about how to respond. You can learn more about the Movement for Black Lives on their website.

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  • Preserving the Beloved Community

    Some of the beloved community that OEP thanks and appreciates for
    their collected support; 2019.

    Written by Mary E Boria, of the Anti-Racism Transformation Team, for the 2020 OEP Spring Newsletter. In response to the OEP value Beloved Community. 

    Two months ago, around the beginning of March 2020, this would have been a very different discussion. The ongoing realities of life's struggle and increasing disparities between those with and those without privilege was a very familiar refrain. The stress and strain of poor and communities of color was evident in all aspects of people’s lives from health to income and feelings of safety and security in the world. Many made do (while others did not), and some at least held the hope that things would get better for their families and communities. A more direct and public outcry challenged the status quo to eliminate oppression and inequality. The Anti-Racist Transformation Team (ARTT) of On Earth Peace has helped to shape an understanding of the Beloved Community within the context of these realities. Dismantling systems that oppress, and transforming others, is a slow and arduous undertaking. Understanding the role of racism, gender oppression, and poverty have become foundational to the work of OEP. Changing culture and institutionalizing new practices takes time (even as we think of its urgency); 

    But, in the midst of our slow but determined progress, out of the ashes comes the Coronavirus (COVID -19 ) early in 2020. The world stopped, and our lives have rapidly changed, leaving uncertainty, pain, and death to follow. For some, our relative comfort and security has turned to fear and massive loss.

    What is the hope for the Beloved Community in our yet to be determined new reality? And how do we live out our values of anti-racism, non-violence, action towards justice, welcome and hospitality, and Radical Christian love?

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