After years of study and discussion, Mennonite Central Committee’s “Peace Section” decided to start an office in Washington as a “listening post.” On July 1, 1968, Delton Franz opened the office and six months later this newsletter was born.
Looking back through the newsletter’s 50 years, one is struck by the strong, prophetic tone and the timelessness of the messages, regardless of the era. Many of the words written 40 or 50 years ago could have been written yesterday.
On the one hand, that is discouraging. Countless injustices–from the deeply-flawed criminal justice system, to the bloated Pentagon budget and reliance on militarism–stubbornly persist. But on the other hand, it is heartening to see that advocates have just as persistently raised their voices over the years to say, “another way is possible.”
And there have been changes. Together with other faith-based offices in Washington, we advocated strongly for debt relief for heavily-indebted poor countries. The Jubilee 2000 campaign largely achieved that goal. On other occasions, MCC staff and others have raised concern about U.S. military aid to repressive governments, and in some cases that assistance has been reduced or cut off entirely.
Advocacy is long-term work. Even 50 years is not long enough to see the fruit of all of our efforts. But we can trust that if we are abiding in Jesus as we do this work, it will indeed “bear much fruit” (John 15:5) in time.
–Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, director, Washington Office