Peace & Justice

Wednesday afternoon at Modesto Peace/Life Center

Wednesdays, the Peace/Life Center is usually open from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. Bring brown bag lunch. Come by for some coffee or tea or to chat or to see a film or browse through various books and magazines. Beverages will be provided.

Peace Camp

Building Peace


“Let’s rent Camp Peaceful Pines for a weekend next summer, get Jim Wallis to speak, and invite all those people to a peace camp!” It was Christmas Eve 1982.

Ronald Reagan was in the White House plotting the destruction of the Evil Empire (a.k.a. the United Socialist Soviet Republics). A new generation of US-made nuclear missiles had just been deployed in Western Europe despite tremendous public protest there. Around Central America US trained and backed militaries engaged civilian populations in armed conflicts.

In February 1982 Wilfred and Louise Weaver saw a film made by Physicians for Social Responsibility called “The Last Epidemic.” It described what would happen to the City of San Francisco if a nuclear bomb was dropped on it. They bought a copy of this powerful movie and donated to the Modesto Peace/Life Center. In the next two months it wore out from so many showings in school, clubs, churches, and a second copy purchased. Dozens of local peace people trained as discussion leaders to accompany showings.

In June 1982 a bond measure to allow our local public utility to buy into a nuclear power plant was voted down.

In the November election Californians had just endorsed a Nuclear Freeze.

I was riding home that Christmas Eve from a peace vigil outside Lawrence Livermore National Lab, the think tank of the US nuclear arsenal. The vigil was part of a 20 day protest, Human Rights Day, to New Years Day, initiated and coordinated by the Modesto Peace/Life Center, in which over 50 peace and religious groups from around Central California participated.

Sure thing, Merritt, I told the pastor of the Waterford Church of the Brethren, you find out if camp’s available and if Wallis is even interesting in coming to California. I imagined the Jim Wallis, editor of the evangelical Christian pacifist Sojourners Magazine, whose community worked in inner-city Washington, D.C., had a very full schedule and a very high speaker’s fee.

I didn’t think I ever hear of that idea again.

Ten days later Merritt phoned: there was one weekend open on the Camp Peaceful Pines 1983 calendar, and Jim Wallis was interested in coming, if we bought his plane ticket.

So we gave a Peace Camp and 150 people camped.

This was not to be just a conference set in the mountains, Jim Higgs admonished the group when the idea came before the Peace/Life Center board. We needed to make it a camp. My camp co-coordinator, Dan Onorato, personally purchased marshmallows for the kids to roast since the cooks refused to buy junk food.

For many years the demand was for a highly structured Peace Camp with speakers, workshops, hikes, something every minute. There were often more youth under 18 than adults, with up to five programs running concurrently. All volunteer.

The plan was two-fold: Building Peace in Our World, Building Peace in Our Homes. It was not just about education on issues of concern, but also about time for fellowship, relaxation, nature, and nurture – to get to know people more fully than just their politics.

And, secondly, very importantly for many kids, that theirs weren’t the only “crazy” parents around: other local families were attempting to live peacefully and responsibly.

At camp last year I was explaining about original vision to some first time attendees. A veteran peace camper, age ten, was listening and said, “You’ve certainly met that goal.”

Download an application or call Richard Harvey, 209-571-3384.

Peace Camp is organized by the Modesto Peace/Life Center in collaboration with Tuolumne County Citizens for Peace.

Click here for the Peace Camp registration form.

Over 70 people quietly witnessed at the “Stand in the Park For Peace” vigil in Graceada Park on Mother’s Day, May 13, 2007 beginning at 1 p.m. Sponsored locally by the Modesto Church of the Brethren, the event mirrored similar events held at 1 p.m. around the world. As of May 19, there were 3639 events listed in 75 nations, including 776 organizations. Photo: Russ Matteson.

Lab Gets New H-Bomb, World Gets More Nuclear Danger (from Tri-Valley CARES)

A Slippery Slope to New Nuclear Weapons

ALERT: Livermore may do more than build nuclear weapons


The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to eye Livermore Lab’s Site 300 as a possible location for its half-a-million square foot National Bio and Agro Defense (NBAF) bio-warfare agent research facility. If and when it is built, this facility is expected to house the most deadly diseases on earth, and will experiment on large animals on 30 - 100 acres of land.

From Tri-Valley CAREs’ Feb. 2007 Citizen’s Watch

Ed, note: This proposed lab is in addition to the already purchased 1500 square foot pre-fabricated building that will house a high-level Bio-Warfare Agent Research Laboratory inside the main lab at Livermore.

Important Truths: 2007 Peace Essay Contest

A Petition to Consider

Costa Rica to cease training at the SOA/WHINSEC!  from SOA Watch

The women’s fight against nuclear weapons By SARAH HIPPERSON

Irish Nobel peace laureate shot by Israeli military from Ekklesia

COMMENTARY: Women’s Work: The better half of peacemaking By LAUREL RAE MATHEWSON  from Sojourners