August 2020

Pacifism and Power:

Exploring Protests and Policing

Exploration discussions on Wednesdays @ 7:30 p.m. via Zoom:


Below you will find a variety of resources to help you learn about and connect more deeply with issues of pacifism and power. The intent is not that you will read and engage with all of the items, but that you will choose a few that seem most interesting to you. All items are appropriate for all ages; those selected specifically for children are marked with an asterisk*.

Items are listed in four categories:

  • Head: Readings and videos to help us learn about the topic
  • Hands: Activities to engage with the topic
  • Heart: Opportunities to reach out to others–within the church and beyond
  • Spirit: Spiritual practices to help you connect more deeply with God

Please feel free to share your reflections and additional resources in the comments below.


things to think about

Mennonite Church USA statement on racial injustice

Reflections on Protesting and Faith” from Mennonite Church USA

Mennonite Central Committee web page “Why are so many people incarcerated

And MCC’s video “Mass incarceration and the Christian mandate” (16 minutes)

PeaceLab, from The Mennonite, has many good podcasts–choose one (or two)!

Some positive movement: “Atlanta to transform city jail into justice and equality center community space

Here is a good introduction to the idea of prison abolition: “The Case for Abolition” by Ruth Wilson Gilmore and James Kilgore

And here’s a graphic art statement about prison abolition

A New York Times article: Is Prison Necessary?

Podcast about mass incarceration and the history of the US criminal justice system from Throughline.

Trevor Noah interviews guests about what it means to defund/abolish the police (22 minute video)

Here is an organization that promotes a world without police

And here are some answers to frequently asked questions about building a police-free future.

Why “Defund the Police is Deeply Anabaptist” by Mennonite pastor Hillary Watson.

Podcast on the history of policing in the US from Throughline.

A 4-minute video introduction to the idea of defunding police.

Here is a discussion on the “Fictions and Futures of Transformative Justice

An academic article on Mennonites and policing

Must Christian Pacifists Reject Police Force?” article by Gerald Schlabach

An issue of Conrad Grebel Review on Policing

Audio and video stories about youth encounters with police in Chicago

*Sesame Street’s videos on “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration

Imagining a World Without Prisons 51-minute video

A 15-minute TED Talk on What a world without prisons could look like

Revisited podcast on abolishing prisons


Other resource lists:


ways to reach out

Share one of the resources from the “head” section with a friend or family member, then talk with them about it.

Talk with a police officer about the work they do. How do they feel about their contribution to the community? What aspects of their job do they wish were different? What support do they need?

Talk with a person who has been incarcerated or had a family member incarcerated. What was that experience like? What would have helped prevent the situation? What reforms/transformations do they think are most important?

Participate in the advocacy work of Mennonite Central Committee.

*Listen to this song by John McCutcheon and talk about how people can work together to make a difference.


things to do

Check out the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams. You can read about their efforts, sign up for their newsletter, sign a letter, and watch a webinar.

Learn more about Black Lives Matter

*Make a protest sign. What do you want to say to the world?

Learn about protests that are happening near you. Consider joining one or supporting it in another way.


ways to connect with God

Make a prayer list of organizations and individuals working on justice issues you care about. Pray for them on a regular basis.

*Invite children to contribute to this list and join you in prayer.

Listen to some songs of protest.

Read this “Sermon for Yom Kippur 5778: Another World is Possible.

Listen to a protest speech from Pastor Mike McClure Jr.

Pastor Joanna’s sermon on Acts 3:1-4:4: Annoying the Authorities. (You may have already heard this one.)

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