The Common Good

World-Renowned Peacemaker Art Gish Dies

100729-artgishArt and Peggy Gish are career peace, civil rights, and human rights activists who embody the motto of their primary affiliation, Christian Peacemaker Teams: "Getting in the way."

Art died yesterday morning in a tractor accident on the organic farm where he and Peggy live near Athens, Ohio. He was 70. (See Athens County peace activist killed in farming accident.)

Art Gish has been part of Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron since 1995, getting in the way of Israeli military and settler violence against Palestinian civilians. Peggy was in Iraq as peace advocate and witness before, during, and following the invasion of Iraq.

Both of them have been mentors to generations of Christian pacifists and peace activists -- as well as bringing a deep love and peaceableness to places of violent injustice around the world, including Hebron and Iraq.

The last time I saw Art was when I was leading a nonviolence training in preparation for risking arrest at the White House as part of the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq on March 16, 2007. To lead a nonviolence training with Art Gish in the room was humbling. And talking to him afterward was a deep spiritual blessing.

Art is loved by many and will be mourned by more. I hold him up to the Light. He is an witness to the model of an honorable man who literally lived "neath his vine and fig tree in peace and unafraid" while always standing with those whose vines and fig trees were uprooted by men with guns and for whom peace and safety were fleeting ideals.

"Well done, good and faithful servant." Thank you, brother.

Rose Marie Berger, an associate editor at Sojourners, blogs at www.rosemarieberger.com. She's the author of Who Killed Donte Manning? The Story of an American Neighborhood available at store.sojo.net.

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