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Turning toward peace

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. James 3:18

Each year some people of faith decide to witness for peace by redirecting their war tax dollars to efforts that nurture life, build justice and promote peace.
The MCC U.S. “Turning toward peace” initiative provides an opportunity to sow the seeds of peace by supporting MCC program in Afghanistan, or the MCC U.S. Summer Service program.
WASSA Staff counseling

WASSA psychologist counseling woman to deal with her problems.

An MCC partner in Afghanistan, the Women Activities and Social Services Association (WASSA) located in Herat Province, is providing trauma healing services for 270 women over a 3-year period, through counseling and regular group activities. During decades of war and political turmoil, women in Afghanistan have faced many constraints, sometimes resorting to suicide to escape the violence and hopelessness that surrounds them. Established in 2002, WASSA promotes the equal participation of women in the socio-economic sectors of the country.
According to Jamila Sharifi, counselor at WASSA, many women who enter the program say, “I am useless; I am not important; I have no value. ”Jamila reminds the women that God created each of them and that they are not to give up on their lives.
Zahra Hasanapur, former managing director of WASSA notes, “We are not hopeless and voiceless. I believe we will change the situation. We have many strong women who are working for women in Afghanistan.”
Summer Service Program

Through the MCC U.S. Summer Service Program, young Anabaptist such as Micah Hart (left) of Cordell, Okla., gain new experiences, broaden their perspectives and put leadership skills into action in their home communities. Hart began his Summer Service work in 2012 with the Global Anabaptist Peacebuilders Institute in Fresno, Calif., where he and institute participant Kaleb Dalke (middle) learned about solar eclipses and creation care. After the institute, Hart returned to Oklahoma, where he worked with the Cheyenne Cultural Center, which has ties to Koinonia Mennonite Church. "Summer Service helped me be more of a person who can get the word about our tribe, educating people about our background, where we came from," says Hart. "It helped me see other people's worldview, their point of view." (MCC Photo/Silas Crews)

MCC’s Summer Service program supports young adults of diverse backgrounds from across the United States to participate in a 6-10 week leadership development program. Serving in their home communities through a church or other agency, young adults help with various activities such as vacation Bible school, summer youth camps, or other community building activities. When you support the Summer Service program, you are helping prepare young adults to be future leaders in their churches and communities.
In 2011, Erica Cuellar of Sanger, California compiled resources for churches on the problem of human trafficking and prostitution.  "The word 'injustice' is key to my purpose, to my relationship with God," she said.  "It's my turn to dig deeper into what has already been sown by pastors or professors."
Resources for Reflection
Choosing to redirect one’s war tax dollars to peaceful purposes often involves prayerful reflection on one’s deepest faith commitments and careful consideration of the potential consequences. The following resources may be helpful:
  • Visit MCC's Conscientious Objection web site for information on the spiritual roots of war tax resistance and the experiences of people of faith who have chosen to make this witness, 
  • War Tax Resistance at a Glance, a review of options, consequences and common questions related to war tax resistance, published by the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee.
  • National Priorities Project's interactive web site that shows how taxes for war contributed by your home town could be spent for other areas of human need.