Joe Power Drutis reports that Bix has a new fashion accessory: his official Bureau Of Prisons ankle bracelet was snapped on early afternoon on February 23rd. Bix has now joined the ranks of ankle bracelet veterans like Anne Montgomery, who also wore one after her release from prison.
LENTEN PRAYER OF PETITION
FOR THE RETURN OF ALL CHURCHES TO
THE TRUTH OF THE NONVIOLENT JESUS
AND HIS WAY OF NONVIOLENT LOVE
(*By Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy)
Abba, in the name of Jesus
we ask you to send the Holy Spirit
to gather the Churches together,
so that with one mind, one heart and one voice,
they may proclaim as God’s Way
Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of all people—friends and enemies—
and thereby teach that
violence and enmity are not God’s Way
violence and enmity are not the Christian Way,
violence and enmity are not the Holy Way,
violence and enmity are not the Catholic Way,
violence and enmity are not the Apostolic Way,
violence and enmity are not the Way of Jesus,
and thus set Christians free forever
from bondage to the
unholy, uncatholic, unapostolic, unChrist-like
ways of the counterfeit gods and philosophies justifying
war, capital punishment and abortion.
We plead this grace so that
the Nonviolent Lamb
may be our Lord in deed,
as well as in word and sacrament.
We request this gift
so that the Christian Community
may be for afflicted humanity
a faithful witness
to Jesus’ Way of conquering evil.
We implore this healing
so that the Church may be
an authentic extension in time and space
of the Way of the Lamb of God,
of the Way of the Nonviolent Jesus
which is the Way
to renew the face of the earth. Amen.
OUR LAMB HAS CONQUERED; LET US FOLLOW.
Peter J. Ediger, poet, prophet and peacemaker, died in Las Vegas February 16 after a brief illness. Ediger resided in Las Vegas, where he co-founded Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service in 1989 with the Franciscan Friars of California.
The lifelong activist and advocate for nonviolence, social justice and Christian pacifism had recently directed his prophetic words to local churches, challenging them to obey Jesus’ command to “love your enemies.” In addition to regular work with Pace e Bene, he worked part time for Family Promise and served as a member of the Las Vegas Catholic Worker and Nevada Desert Experience communities until near his death.
Born to Jacob H. Ediger and Margaretha (Wiens) in central Kansas in 1926, Ediger was ordained by the General Conference Mennonite Church (now Mennonite Church USA) in 1954 and pastored several Mennonite congregations until 1986.
He was preceded in death by ex-wife Marjorie Reimer Ediger and brothers Abraham and Menno, and survived by sisters Katherina Epp, Marie Regehr, Anne Martin, and Elma Kauffman; children Irene, Joe, Janice and Duane; and grandchildren Jack, Greta and Sallie.
The memorial service is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 21, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4601 W. Lake Meade Blvd, Las Vegas.
For more information, contact Duane Ediger, 312-523-9955.
See www.peterediger.blogspot.com for a blog that follows events during Peter’s illness.
Editor’s Note: Here, also, is a piece written by Fr. John Dear about Peter and his passion for peace: http://ncronline.org/blogs/road-peace/raising-question-peace-outside-churches-all-faiths
The Pacific Northwest Antiwar and Radical History Project interviewed Bix in 2008 for a special section on anti-nuclear organizing in the Northwest. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Bix, here is a brief historical sketch from Matt Dundas’ interview with him on November 12, 2008.
Bill “Bix” Bichsel was born and raised in Tacoma, where he now lives. A Jesuit priest, Bichsel is a long-time member of Tacoma’s Catholic Worker community, who commit themselves to social justice campaigns and working with the poor.
As a teacher at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, Bichsel worked on fair housing and anti-discrimination campaigns, and later took part in anti-Vietnam War protests in Boston. Upon learning from environmental activists about the nuclear weapons slated to be stored at Bangor Naval Base on Hood Canal, Bichsel joined the pacifist civil disobedience at the base, work he believes “made real” his commitment to nonviolent civil disobedience and the spiritual power of protest and resurrection.
In 1975, nonviolent theologians and activists Jim and Shelley Douglass helped form an intentional community near Bangor Naval Base, which later purchased land next to the base and became the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolence. Bichsel became involved with the work of Ground Zero, and took part in many of the acts of civil disobedience: fence cuttings, intentional acts of trespass, and planning for the peace blockade of the Trident nuclear submarine, the USS Ohio. Ground Zero also helped spark a nationwide campaign of witness protesting the movements of nuclear weapons from Texas to the Northwest on “white trains.”
In mid-1980s, Bichsel became involved in solidarity work in Central America, and then with protests at the School of the Americas—an American combat training school for Latin American soldiers—though he maintains his commit to anti-nuclear activism. As he says, it is our responsibility to continually protest: there is, he believes, “a power much greater than nuclear weapons.”
Click here to go to Bix’s oral history page at the Pacific Northwest Antiwar and Radical History Project where you can watch a number of videos of the interview with Bix, including one in which he describes his first act of civil disobedience, carrying a replica of the Trident nuclear submarine through a hole cut in the fence.
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Even as we experience the joy of our dear Bix’s release from prison and his good health, another peacemaker has experienced a dramatic decline.
Peter Ediger, longtime peacemaker, was hospitalized toward the end of January due to serious medical issues. I do not have enough details to even begin to properly explain, but suffice to say that he needs for us to hold him deep in our hearts in this extraordinarily difficult time.
I do not know Peter personally, although I have gotten to know him through his work and his writings, including “Living with the Wolf: Walking the Way of Nonviolence.” As JIm Haber put it, Peter is known by many “because of his booming voice singing at gatherings like the recent CW [Catholic Worker] gathering in Las Vegas, his activism at Rocky Flats, the Nevada Test Site with Nevada Desert Experience, and his work for Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service.”
Megan Rice just this morning reported that Peter, “companion in nuclear resistance to us all… has had a quick decline after two days of real awakening just last night….”
You can follow Peter’s progress at the blog his son Duane set up at http://peterediger.blogspot.com/.
If you’d like to send Peter a message, email it to Ryan Hall at Pace Bene, (firstname.lastname@example.org), and he will be certain to get it to him.
At 10:15 am this morning William “Bix” Bichsel, SJ was released from SeaTac Federal Detention Center. According to Theresa Power-Drutis, Bix’s first request was to “head over the bridge to Bangor.” His second request was a latte. His chauffeurs went for the second request. With all the milk he consumed during his liquids-only fasts while in solitary he seems to have rediscovered a desire for dairy products.
Shortly after Bix returned to his home (Jean’s House of Prayer at the Tacoma Catholic Worker) friends came and went throughout the afternoon to welcome him home. Everyone remarked how well he looked. It was obvious to all of us that Bix came out of prison (after a month in solitary confinement and a total of 19 days of fasting) in phenomenal form mentally, physically and spiritually.
Bix spoke freely about his time on the inside. He spoke of his return from the halfway house to SeaTac and how he was able to enter into a fast immediately. “The only thing that sustained me was the Grace of God, and I felt that. But I also felt that sense of freedom that… you know, it was like a joyful sense of… a gift of God.”
Bix interrupted his stories with spontaneous laughter now and then; his spirits (and everyone else’s) were high. When asked how he was feeling after his release he said very firmly, yet gently, “I feel good.”
Sitting with friends at the kitchen table Bix wore a simple necklace of bells made in Cambodia from collected shell casings and other weapons of war, a fitting symbol of Bix’s deep desire to turn our swords into plowshares.
At one point, after telling us of his prison experience, he moved the conversation to our shared work to eliminate nuclear weapons and create the peaceful world in which we are all meant to dwell together. Many people consider such vision a pipe dream. Sitting there with Bix I had a firm sense that his dreams do not come from any pipe. Rather, they emanate from a deep, abiding faith in God, a God who wants all of us to learn the lessons of peace and make war no more.
I think we all have much to learn from Bix’s dreams, but even more so from his embodiment of The Word. He is truly The Word brought to life. And, it is good.
P.S. – Two additional things: The Guadalupe Gala is this Saturday (Feb. 11th). Whether or not Bix will be able to attend depends on factors beyond our (or to a large extent Bix’s) control. One way or another it will be a festive and important event. More info by clicking here.
And – You can now write Bix at:
Tacoma Catholic Worker
1417 South G Street
Tacoma WA 98405-4437
Bix walked out of the SeaTac Federal Detention Center just a short while ago, and will soon be home at Jean’s House of Prayer at the Tacoma Catholic Worker!
He would be happy to have visitors, and anyone is welcome to drop in today after 12:00 noon to give Bix a big hug and welcome home.
Theresa Power-Drutis and company are ensuring that Bix has a comforable and safe ride home.
It is good,