Thursday, April 14, 2005

Office encourages youth to start conscientious objector files.

Resources related to conscientious objection are available from the General Board's Brethren Witness/Washington Office, including the maintenance of personal conscientious objector files. The office maintains individual files for youth and young adult men and women who choose to document their conscientious objection to war and violence.

The office has received over 40 conscientious objector files in recent months. Such files are the only means for conscientious objectors to register their beliefs against war, as the Selective Service System does not keep records of conscientious objectors and does not acknowledge statements of conscientious objection when young men register at age 18. In the event of a military draft, having such a file in place from an early age may help a young man or woman prove a long-standing faith basis for his or her convictions.

Forms and instructions for the files are included in a Church/Youth Conscientious Objector Packet available from the office. Over the past 18 months more than 2,500 of the packets have been distributed. Call 800-785-3246 or download the packet from the Conscientious Objection link at (search words: Witness/Washington Office). Congregations and youth groups are encouraged to use the packet in youth group discussions and congregational forums.

Brethren may request office staff to lead congregational or district conscientious objection workshops. Office staff have presented workshops in seven districts and another district event is planned for Columbus, Ohio, in May. Other regional retreats are scheduled for the Spring, and workshops at district conferences are scheduled for the Fall. Office director Phil Jones also is a board member of the Center on Conscience and War (CCW--formerly NISBCO), and can assist in making available materials, resources, and staff leadership from that organization.

Other upcoming events on conscientious objection include the Christian Citizenship Seminar for Church of the Brethren youth, which will provide an opportunity for youth to make their voice heard in Washington, D.C,; and an insight session and the "Un-Luncheon" at this year's Annual Conference. The "Un-Luncheon" will feature CCW program director Bill Galvin.

The office also is organizing a pool of district support people and legal counselors to be available to conscientious objectors in the event of a draft. To participate in the program, call the office at 800-785-3246 or visit (search words: Witness/Washington Office).

Source: 4/13/2005 Newsline

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