Fields of Peace, where Bill Kucha will serve as artist-in-residence, was started in Lincoln City in 2007 by the Rev. Charles Busch, and has become an international movement on the web.
Busch served as minister of the Congregational Church in Lincoln City for 14 years, where he founded the Peace Village workshop for children. Fields of Peace is its adult component, and it operates on the concept that by working together, people can end war, solve conflicts peacefully and stop the killing of children.
“Our mission is very focused on ending the killing of children in war,” explained Busch, who describes himself as a peace educator. “I came to that mission when I learned that for every combatant killed, nine civilians are killed in today’s wars, and most of them are children. Our hope is that the people of the world, one by one, will all say aloud a promise to serve notice that war is obsolete. We make a promise and broadcast it and want people to join in. The killing of children woke us up to the fact that war is not inevitable.”
To that end, Busch has written “A Field Guide to Peace,” and invites people to study it either individually or as part of a group. And he emphasizes that modern war in the last three decades translates to the killing of children.
The Fields of Peace website offers the words of the promise as well as the field guide and videos explaining its purpose, and the group is beginning to gather allies from peace and children’s groups. Reading groups in Lincoln City and Eugene are already studying the field guide, which features a four-week course, Busch said.
Prior to focusing on adults, Busch founded Peace Village with the goal of teaching children how to solve conflicts through peaceful means and handle bullying. That interfaith group is now in 11 states, as well as Lebanon and Kenya.
“I loved doing Peace Village and working with kids,” Busch said. “But it became clear to me that it’s so easy for adults to let the kids do it, not themselves. I wanted to work with adults and talk about nonviolence. When I read what modern war had become, I thought Fields of Peace was the way to address what I long believed — that war is not inevitable.”
He concluded, “We can make a promise to our children that we will not support the killing of any child,” even by looking away.
To learn more about Fields of Peace, visit fieldsofpeace.org. See related story on page B1.