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Peace Church Witness Chronology and Links
Compiled by Arnold Neufeldt-Fast
(See also Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StouffvillePeaceFest and Twitter: @WSPeaceFest)
October 14, 2013 * Dick Benner, “Peace triumphs in festival,” Canadian Mennonite 17, no. 20. http://www.canadianmennonite.org/articles/peace-triumphs-festival. * Twitter (@WSPeaceFest) followers: 448 * Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/StouffvillePeaceFest) “likes”: 316 October 1, 2013 * “Keeping the Peace: Stouffville Festival breaks new ground,” Stouffville Free Press, p. 5 (https://twitter.com/neufast/status/385899233641242624/photo/1) * Steve Authier, “God and Culture: Why God transcends Christianity to deliver peace message,” (paid column, Heise Hill Church) Stouffville Free Press, http://www.scribd.com/doc/170285467/Why-God-transcends-Christianity-to-deliver-peacemessager). * Arnold Neufeldt-Fast, “Community Mennonite Voices: Unveiling of Peace Plaque Recalls History of Earliest Settlers” (paid column), Stouffville Free Press. (https://twitter.com/neufast/status/385902132022747136/photo/1). * Kate Gilderdale, ed., “Free Opinion: Give Peace a Chance,” Stouffville Free Press 8, no. 11 (http://www.stouffvillefreepress.com/opinion/give-peace-a-chance). September 26, 2013 * Meeting with Paul Calandra, MP for Oak Ridges—Markham (Arnold Neufeldt-Fast and Rene DeVries. Agree to submit text and pictures of Peace Plaque Unveiling for his “Community Report” (Fall 2013; theme: “Remembrance Day”). * “Peaceful Feeling,” Stouffville Sun-Tribune, p. 13 (https://twitter.com/neufast/status/383386648546799616/photo/1). September 24, 2013 * Jane Philpott, “No one can keep us from dreaming,” (Blog entry) http://janephilpott.ca/no-onecan-keep-us-from-dreaming/ (Jane Philpott was moderator of Peace Panel). September 22, 2013 * Peace Festival, Peace Plaque Unveiling Ceremony, with Mayor Wayne Emmerson, Councillors Rob Hargrave, Clyde Smith, Susanne Hilton; MP Paul Calandra; MPP Helena Jaczek, Downtown Stouffville (2 pm); * Announcement of Stouffville Peace Prize for Stouffville District Secondary School (Gr.10s)
* Pictures: see Facebook page; Historical text: Arnold Neufeldt-Fast, “Peace Church Settlers of Whitchurch-Stouffville: Historical Background” (http://www.scribd.com/doc/170136045/PeaceChurch-Settlers-of-Whitchurch-Stouffville-Historical-Background). * Stouffville Peace Panel Video: Introduction & highlights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZFhA5FWzNA) September 21, 2013 * “Peaceful Start,” Stouffville Sun-Tribune, p. 3 (https://twitter.com/neufast/status/381417908145885184/photo/1). September 20, 2013 * Peace Festival, Labyrinth Walk, led by Joyce Turman, Parkview Village Auditorium (video highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENBRFQSjAYw&feature=youtu.be). September 19, 2013 * Peace Festival, Theatre of the Beat’s performance of “Commemorate!” (Nineteen on the Park) (https://twitter.com/neufast/status/380873052684169216/photo/1), written by Kimberlee Walker. September 12, 2013 * Sandra Bolan, “Weekend of peace includes world, charity music events,” Stouffville SunTribune, p. 13 (http://www.yorkregion.com/whatson-story/4074986-stouffville-peace-festivaljoins-forces-with-music-events/). * Peace Festival Committee Meeting (Philip, Rene, Steve, Arnold) September 5, 2013 * Sandra Bolan, “Stouffville peace festival features panel discussion, theatre. Inaugural event part of busy weekend,” Stouffville Free Press (http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/4062957stouffville-peace-festival-features-panel-discussion-theatre/). September 1, 2013 * Arnold Neufeldt-Fast, “Signs of Stouffville’s Long and Rich Peace Heritage on Display Throughout Town,” Community Mennonite Voices (paid column) in Stouffville Free Press 8, no. 10 (http://www.scribd.com/doc/164324719/Signs-of-Stouffville-s-Long-and-Rich-PeaceHeritage-on-Display-Throughout-Town-Sept-Issue-of-SFP-pdf). * Steve Authier, “What does it mean to be ‘Peace Church’ in 2013?,” God and Culture (paid column, Heise Hill Church) in Stouffville Free Press, 8, no. 10 (http://www.scribd.com/doc/162722568/What-does-it-mean-to-be-a-Peace-Church-in-2013SFP-article-pdf). * “Weekend of Music and Peace” / “Labyrinth Walk Promotes Peace” in Stouffville Free Press 8, no. 10, p. 4. https://twitter.com/neufast/status/374284563469451264/photo/1 * “Free Opinion: What’s brewing in Stouffville,” in Stouffville Free Press 8, no. 10. August 22, 2013 * Mennonite Central Committee, “Stouffville Churches Bear Witness,” Peace Sunday 2013: Ambassadors of Reconciliation (Resource Packet for Peace Sunday), 14. Highlights of the Stouffville 2012 protest of military parade (http://mcccanada.ca/peace/peacesunday). August 15, 2013 * Graphic design, logos, buttons, poster created by Landon Wideman (http://www.scribd.com/doc/176345597/Graphic-Design-for-Stouffville-Peace-Festival-LandonWideman; attachment has items created as were needed, beginning with logos)
* Social media campaign launched: Twitter: @wspeacefest; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StouffvillePeaceFest August 13, 2013 * Stouffville Peace Festival Planning Meeting (Eve, Philip, Rene, Steve, Arnold) June 27, 2013 * Stouffville Peace Festival Planning Meeting (Eve, Philip, Rene, Steve, Arnold) June 26, 2013 * Meeting: Anna Rose (Town Whitchurch-Stouffville Downtown Coordinator), Michael Burns (WS World Music Festival), Jim Priebe (ArtsCan Benefit Concert), with Steve Authier, Rene de Vries, Bryan Moyer Suderman, and Arnold Neufeldt-Fast. Decision to promote each other’s events along theme: “Weekend of Music and Peace.” June 9, 2013 * Community Mennonite Church commits a budget of $5000 towards the Stouffville Peace Festival and Stouffville Peace Prize June 1, 2013 * Peace Plaque Planning Committee Meeting; decision for a “Peace Festival” (Eve, Philip, Rene, Steve, Arnold) May 22, 2013 * Paul Calandra, Member of Parliament for Oak Ridges—Markham, Question Period/ Government Orders, “Canadian Museum of History Act,” House of Commons. (http://openparliament.ca/debates/2013/5/22/paul-calandra-3/), with mention of disagreement with the peace churches. February 22-24, 2013 * Idea of a “Stouffville Peace Festival” and a “Stouffville Peace Prize” (Retreat, Community Mennonite Church; presentation of play “Commemmorate!”, by Kimberlee Walker January 2, 2013 * Glenda de Vries, “Community Mennonite Voices: Town Council and Peace Churches Settle on Peace Plaque” (paid column), Stouffville Free Press 8, no. 2 (Jan. 2013), pp. 8,10 (http://bit.ly/YYed1L). Dec. 27, 2012 * “Newsmakers 2012: Fight ensued before war event staged,” Stouffville Sun-Tribune (http://bit.ly/U70f90). Dec. 8, 2012 * Andy Crosby, “Historical Amnesia and War of 1812: Constructing Canadian Identity,” The Leveller 5, no. 3 (Nov/Dec 2012), pp. 8-9 ( http://issuu.com/leveller_ottawa/docs/5.3/9?e=0); reprinted in The Dominion, Dec. 8, 2012 (http://ottawa.mediacoop.ca/fr/story/historical-amnesiaand-war-1812/14982). Dec. 4, 2012
* Delegation to Town Council. Presenter: Arlene Reesor (Text: w/ Arnold Neufeldt-Fast). Delegation Request Form: http://bit.ly/TwoVZc; Presentation Text: http://bit.ly/UoLbCC. Carried. (Council Minutes, p. 3: http://bit.ly/RWMTir) a) Text: Peace Church Settlers of Whitchurch-Stouffville A large number of the early settlers of present day Whitchurch-Stouffville were members of the Historic Peace Churches: Brethren in Christ (Tunkers), Mennonites, and Quakers. They were attracted to settle Upper Canada by Lt. Governor John Graves Simcoe with the offer of military exemption (1793). The peace teachings of the Christian tradition deeply shaped their faith and caused them to wrestle with what it means to be people of God’s peace, especially during times of conflict and war. As pioneers of conscientious objection in Canada, their commitment to the work of peace and reconciliation continues to stand witness in this community and around the world. b) Location: Memorial Park, Stouffville [NB: recommended location later changed to Main Street on recommendation of Mayor] c) Request to use the Town Crest, with symbol of peace dove and olive branch d) Date for Public Dedication: Sunday, Sept 22 (UN International Peace Day, Sept 21) October 23, 2012 * Steve Authier and Arnold Neufeldt-Fast meet with Town of W-S Heritage Advisory Committee and Town Clerk (Michelle Kennedy), Museum Staff (Stephanie Foley) to finalize proposal for a commemorative plaque, including date of dedication location. August 16, 2012 * Steve Authier and Arnold Neufeldt-Fast meet with Town of W-S Heritage Advisory Committee and Town Clerk (Michelle Kennedy), Museum Staff (Stephanie Foley) to consider proposal for a commemorative plaque. July * Snap-Stouffville/Uxbridge, “Freedom of the Town.” Online video and pictures (http://www.snapsu.com/index.php?option=com_sngevents&id%5B%5D=413105) June 28, 2012 * Cameron Kaufman-Frey, “Community Mennonite Voices: Protesting in Memory of WhitchurchStouffville’s Contribution to Conscientious Objection” (paid column), Stouffville Free Press 7, no. 8 (July 2012): 10. (Text attached at end of this doc) June 27, 2012 * Bryan Moyer Suderman, “remembering the alamo, remembering stouffville,” SmallTall Music Blog (http://bit.ly/LBMGMr) June 25, 2012 * Sheldon C. Good, “Different Memory of a War: Amid national celebrations, Canadian peace churches remember those who objected to War of 1812,” Mennonite World Review (http://bit.ly/Mxf1lL) June 19, 2012
* Dick Benner, “Stouffville counters with Peace at 1812 parade,” Canadian Mennonite. (http://bit.ly/PkgMni) June 18, 2012 * John Gormley, “Does it make sense to commemorate the War of 1812? Interview with Arnold Neufeldt-Fast,” John Gormley Live, NewsTalk Radio, 650 CKOM, Saskatoon, SK http://www.newstalk650.com/content/monday-june-18-2012 June 16, 2012 * Jim Mason, “Crowd welcomes military parade,” Sun-Tribune (online article: http://bit.ly/L4ghzv) * 55 to 60 Quakers, Mennonites, and Brethren in Christ gather in Stouffville to give peaceful witness/presence during Freedom of the Town military parade and ceremony. See video by Steve Authier (pastor, Heise Hill): “Peace witness at Freedom of the Town,” YouTube: http://youtu.be/yxKbVdhLPIo. June 15, 2012 * Meagan Fitzpatrick, “Conservatives draw fire for War of 1812,” CBC Inside Politics Blog (http://bit.ly/Ks1Rbn; interviewed ANF on May 25). June 14, 2012 * Sandra Bolan, “Military Parade ‘Once in a Lifetime’,” Stouffville Sun-Tribune, pp. 1,12 (interview with ANF June 11; http://bit.ly/Ka81YQ); also: Amanda Persico, “Children of Peace were born during year of war,” pp. 13 (not online; .jpg copies available from ANF) June 13, 2012 * Pieter Niemeyer, Steve Authier and Arnold Neufeldt-Fast meet with Town of W-S Heritage Advisory Committee and Town Clerk (Michelle Kennedy), Museum Staff (Stephanie Foley) to discuss the possibility of a commemorative plaque on town property. June 11, 2012 * David Tsuboushi, “Thought Provoker,” Ontario News Watch (video: http://bit.ly/M3lgKk ). June 10, 2012 * Arnold Neufeldt-Fast, “War of 1812: More than a soldiers’ story. Military-themed celebrations ignore Canada’s early pacifists” (opinion-editorial),Toronto Star, p. A15 (http://bit.ly/JTWFYI) June 1, 2012 * Ben Embiricos (assoc. editor): “Talk of the Town: Parade Debate Tests Community,” Stouffville Free Press 7, no. 7 (June 2012), p. 11 (http://bit.ly/LOgEMp). * Theatre of the Beat presents: “Gadfly: Sam Steiner dodges the draft,” written by Rebecca Steiner, at Parkview Auditorium (http://www.scribd.com/doc/95136437/GADFLY-Sam-SteinerDodges-the-Draft-Play-Stouffville-Fri-Jun-1). May 24, 2012 * Rene DeVries, “Freedom brings peace debate,” Letter to the Editor, Stouffville Sun-Tribune, p. 6; http://bit.ly/LhO1am [RDV is a member of Community Mennonite Church Stouffville] May 23, 2012 * Dick Benner, editorial, “Wrestling with the Powers,” Canadian Mennonite 16, no. 11, p. 2; http://bit.ly/LgARGZ * “Draft-dodger’s true story told in homegrown play,” Stouffville Sun-Tribune. http://bit.ly/LEPiuv
May 22, 2012 * “Stouffville at War.” Global TV news interview with Lama Nicolas, in Stouffville (with Ruth Reesor, Arnold Neufeldt-Fast, Paul Calandra); http://bit.ly/Jm910i. (NB: the item followed and was intentionally juxtaposed to coverage of Prince Charles at Fort York in Toronto at War of 1812 commemoration events.) * Official poster, Freedom of the Town of Whitchurch Stouffville: http://bit.ly/KNAzYE May 18, 2012 * Dick Benner, "Stouffville to consider peace site and plaque," Canadian Mennonite, http://bit.ly/JZnZaU (video and audio interviews with and Pieter Niemeyer –May 11- and MP Paul Calandra – May 16- for story available http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z96_VLIX4hY). May 17, 2012 * Sandra Bolan, "Council wants more time on plaque proposal," Sun-Tribune article by Sandra Bolan, http://bit.ly/KAfIrX * Jim Mason (ed.), "Editorial: Freedom event taken off rails," Sun-Tribune, p. 6. https://twitter.com/neufast/status/390631515774001152/photo/1. * Sun-Tribune “Letter to Editor: Canadians fought for peace," Charles Aldred (http://bit.ly/K0hqUJ), p. 6. * Draft minutes, Town Council, for May 15: http://bit.ly/KIsitd May 15, 2012 * Discrepancies between Town Council minutes and May 1 meeting noted by ANF and discussed with pastors (now 2 motions, originally 1; no mention of War of 1812) * Delegation to Town Council; Presenter: Steve Authier (text available from ANF); 2nd responder, Pieter Niemeyer (impromptu; partially available as audio -ANF) ** Mayor and Councillor in oral remarks on minutes: Town endorsed "Freedom of the Town," but makes no connection to War of 1812 (collectively heard by Mennonite/BIC group present; noted at debrief); MP Paul Calandra (@PaulCalandra) calls Pastor Steve Authier's (@steveauthier) summary on Twitter a "disgraceful misrepresentation"; "shameful." May 12, 2012 * Sandra Bolan, “Mennonites want plaque, event,” Stouffville Sun-Tribune, p. 4 (https://twitter.com/neufast/status/390143900217659392/photo/1). May 10, 2012 (Fr) * Minutes from May 1 Town Council meeting posted online. http://bit.ly/Kc5kVe. May 10, 2012 (Th) * Noon-hour meeting of leaders/pastor, incl. youth reps for prayer and strategy, chaired by Pieter Niemeyer. Initial draft text for plaque (http://bit.ly/Uh52aX) and June 16th witness discussed. * Stouffville Sun-Tribune, Letter to Editor, "More than Mennonites have heritage of peace," Stouffville Sun-Tribune: http://bit.ly/JFcNhq * Mennonite Church Canada Moderator and Stouffville resident Andrew Reesor-McDowell writes letter to Governor General requesting that the GG gives personal oversight to speeches made on behalf of his horse-guard. Letter was endorsed unanimously by executive of Mennonite Church Canada. * “Talk-back,” listener feedback, CBC Radio One program, "As it happens," www.cbc.ca/asithappens (copy).
May 9, 2012 (Wed) * MP Paul Calandra interviewed by Carol Off for CBC Radio One program, "As it happens": http://bit.ly/JvkBVt (copy). * Tim Schmucker, "Re-Writing Canadian History" (Blog), MCC Ottawa Office Notebook (http://bit.ly/LmMDFz ). * Andrew Reesor McDowell, Moderator, Mennonite Church Canada, Letter to the His Excellency Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada (unanimously supported by Mennonite Church Canada Executive). (ANF has copy) May 7, 2012 (Mon) * Local pastors, leaders find consensus; submit a delegation form (noon-deadline) for Town Council Meeting for plaque; to be presented May 15, 2012. Decide to rotate spokesperson role to Steve Authier (pastor of Heise Hill); symbolic of broader church support. * Arnold Neufeldt-Fast, interviewed by Carol Off for CBC Radio One program, "As it happens" (go to part II): www.cbc.ca/asithappens (copy). * Koozma Tarasoff, “Bicentennial opposes our pacifist history,” Spirit-Wrestlers Blog, http://spirit-wrestlers.blogspot.ca/2012/05/bicentennial-opposes-our-pacifist.html [Doukhobors-another pacifist peace /faith group] May 5, 2012 (Sat) * Carys Mills, Globe and Mail: "Bicentennial Celebrations an 'affront' to Ontario town's pacifist roots,” p. A14 (http://bit.ly/L6eBpF; the article appeared in front section with large picture; over the next days 312 online comments). * Legion's War of 1812 veterans list (annotated by A. Neufeldt-Fast) for Stouffville and area: Marion Lewis, ed., Those who served (Stouffville, ON: 1999), n.p., http://www.scribd.com/doc/93323084/Stouffville-War-of-1812-Veterans. Quick analysis showed only 2 or 3 (maybe 4) actually lived in Stouffville prior to 1830s (8 names total; next of kin /next generation lived in W-Stouffville hamlets). List shared with councillors etc. May 3, 2012 (Thur) * Sandra Bolan, "Stouffville Mennonites protest War Celebration," Stouffville Sun-Tribune, http://bit.ly/KMXrue (front page) May 1, 2012 (Tue) * Online article (pre-council meeting) by Sandra Bolan, Sun-Tribune: "Stouffville War Celebration Under Fire," http://bit.ly/KsIR7q; ANF tweets this with links to items below; #WarOf1812 / #cdnpoli and contacted by Globe and Mail later same day for interview May 2. * Email sent by church leaders and members to Mayor and Council (see list in Town Council Minutes for May 1 http://bit.ly/Kc5kVe; most letters available from ANF) * ANF contacted by Carys Mills, Globe and Mail reporter for a phone interview May 2 (article appeared May 5) * Delegation to W-S Town Council. ANF's presentation (http://bit.ly/VRditF) based on significant input from leaders of various churches April 30 (Mon) * ANF to Mayor and Councillors, and Sun-Tribune, seeking opportunity to speak to Mr. Calandra's delegation/presentation: http://bit.ly/Xh8hQr April 29, 2012
* ANF “stumbles across” Freedom of the Town proposal on the Town’s online agenda for upcoming Council meeting. Alerts chair of Community Mennonite Church Stouffville CORT committee (community outreach; ANF is member of committee) and local pastors. CORT chair gives green light to move forward. April 27, 2012 * MP Paul Calandra's "Freedom of the Town" proposal to W-S Town Council: http://bit.ly/IBIfif is posted on Fri, April 27, 2012, as part of the agenda for the Town Council meeting, Tue., May 1.
Community Mennonite Voices Stouffville Free Press 7, no. 8 (July 2012): 10 Contributed by Cameron Kaufman-Frey, Pastor
“Protesting in Memory of Whitchurch-Stouffville’s Contribution to Conscientious Objection”
On the morning of June 16 a crowd gathered on Main Street in Stouffville. They had come to see a parade to honour the Governor General’s Horse Guard (GGHG). Some people wore red and white to show their patriotism, but some wore red and white for another reason. About 55 representatives of three historic peace churches (Brethren in Christ, Mennonites and Quakers) wore red and white buttons that said, “To Remember Is to Work for Peace.” We showed up because we wanted to have the history of our town remembered more completely than the parade was telling it. The parade was touted as a reconnection to a military unit from “our area” and that fought in The War of 1812. However, the historical record shows that Whitchurch-Stouffville was populated mostly by Conscientious Objectors at that time. In fact, nowhere else was there such a concentration of CO’s from three historic peace churches. According to our local Legion, there were only two definite, and possibly a third, veterans of The War of 1812 from here. The greater historical contribution of Whitchurch-Stouffville was to the history of Conscientious Objection. As the pastor of a Mennonite Church, a church that talks a lot about peace, I was asked by some other residents of Stouffville why the Mennonites were being un-peaceful. Why would we try to stop the parade from happening? Why did the peace churches show up at Town Council to protest the parade? Some people said we were trying to impose our ideas on others. It seems funny to me that speaking up in a Town Council meeting was considered an un-peaceful thing to do, when democracy is all about resolving conflicts through dialogue. As spiritual descendants of those CO’s, we wanted to speak up about the role they played in Canadian history. They showed that minorities who have different values from the majority can be valuable citizens. They held up a vision of a world where conflicts are resolved without violence. They followed Jesus’ words to “turn the other cheek,” and to “love your enemies,” and inspired many people to think creatively about how to resolve conflict without violence. We know we aren’t the only ones who want peace. We are happy to live in country where people from many races, cultures and religions live together peacefully. So we will continue uphold the story of the contribution of pacifism to Canadian history.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?