Students for Peace and Justice hosted a service of commissioning for those students – John Allen, Crystal Hall, Lucas Milliken, and Jennifer Wilder – who will attend the 2010 School of the Americas Watch. John, Crystal, Lucas and Jennifer were commissioned by Dr. Janet Walton and sent on behalf of the Union community. Janet reminded those present that those sent walk in the steps of Jesus. They journey with the hope that the oppression will end and bear witness to those who have have died. Rev. Earl Koopercamp presided at communion, blessing the bread of life and the cup of liberation.
Perspective on the Cross
Welcome to chapel. Today, we bear witness to empire, murder, liberation, and hope, all symbolized by the very crosses in your hands. The cross is a complex symbol, representing at different moments in history and for us today, both murder and redemption, both oppression and radical resistance.
The photos that we just saw likewise represent the tensions between forces that oppress and struggles for liberation. The photos all relate to the School of the Americas, a combat training school for Latin American soldiers in Fort Benning, Georgia. Throughout its 59 year history, this School has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in tactics to wage wars against the people in their own countries in order to carry out the foreign policy goals of the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” and forced into refuge by those trained at the School of the Americas. Among those targeted by graduates of the School are community and religious leaders who work for the rights of the poor.
Each year, thousands of people gather outside the School of the Americas to remember the thousands of victims of crimes perpetrated by its graduates, to stand in solidarity with international movements for justice, and to demand the closing of the School of the Americas and reform of the United States’ oppressive foreign policy. Today, we invite you to struggle with the complexity of the cross and participate in the commissioning of four Union students, our friends and colleagues, who leave tomorrow to represent our community at the School of the Americas Vigil this weekend.
- Written by Jennifer Wilder
Under the Cross
For those who walk on the road to Emmaus with faces downcast,
we lift up their sorrow:
For those whom our rulers have condemned to death,
For the women who mourn bodies not returned to them,
we share their tears:
For those who are unaware of the injustice that has and continues to take place,
we bear witness:
For those who travel to the tomb to cry out for the lives taken,
we commission them to service:
For a new way of peace, embodied and present in our midst,
we break bread together:
- Written by Emily Otto