Welcome to The Peace Abbey Foundation website!
The mission of the Peace Abbey Foundation is to create and install public works of art that promote peace and nonviolence; and to administer and care for Abbey Interfaith Peace Chaplaincy, The Pacifist Memorial, The Animal Rights Memorial, Cremation Cemetery for Conscientious Objectors and the National Registry for Conscientious Objection. Throughout the year, the Foundation presents the Int’l Courage of Conscience Award at conferences and peace ceremonies and extends the impact of the Peace Seeds interfaith prayers for peace through their dissemination worldwide.
The Foundation supports grassroots efforts to link the many dimensions of the peace movement with a committed emphasis on human rights and animal rights. Central to our universalist approach is the premise that nonviolence is the most effective and long-term strategy in addressing the multitude of challenges that now threaten our increasingly imperiled planet.
- To Educate: We conduct and sponsor programs and projects that promote a deeper understanding of the importance of service as a way of life. We exemplify this commitment to altruism through our decades-long affiliation with The Life Experience School for young adults with disabilities.
- To link: We conduct and sponsor public events that promote understanding and mutual respect between people of different faith traditions and non-believers. We celebrate examples of artistic expression that elevate the ideals of compassion, cooperation, fairness and peace.
The four Peace Chain defendants, Maureen Gaynor, Courtland Woods, William Holcombe and Lewis Randa were charged with “disturbing the peace” for carrying the Peace Chain from the bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi onto Main Street in Sherborn, MA as Donald Trump took the oath of office as President of the United States.
Following the reading of the 12 Peace Chain grievances which involved eight other activists, the four defendants led the group of demonstrators to the side of the street where they continued forward and refused orders by the local police to leave the roadway. This act of civil disobedience was performed having been fully discussed with local law enforcement well in advance out of concern for safety and a desire to maintain a peaceful atmosphere for those involved.
The action was intended to serve as a clarion call of conscience to resist, from day one, all attempts by Donald Trump to: undermine democratic institutions; ignore the threat of climate change; further unleash racism, sexism, Islamophobia, xenophobia and hate; destabilize global alliances; and create conditions for armed conflict and the use of nuclear weapons.
The March 6th pre-trial conference and hearing will determine whether Holcombe, Woods and Randa (Gaynor, from out-of-state, was fined and released during arraignment), will be allowed the “necessity defense” and have expert witnesses testify in their case. American ideals and founding principles are under siege and the predictions, fears, and concerns that led to the Peace Chain action are being actualized at an alarming pace. Donald Trump is unstable, exhibits signs of an acute narcissistic personality disorder, is demonstrably irrational, aggressive, and confrontational. The act of civil disobedience for which the charge of “disturbing the peace” is being adjudicated was taken out of necessity, as our way of life, the health of the planet and world peace are at stake.
The Peace Chain defendants claim the sense of impending catastrophe prompted them to speak out against Donald Trump, which lead to “safely” breaking a minor law in the interest of a greater purpose – upholding the Constitution of the United States, preserving the planet and preventing another World War.
Members: Maureen Gaynor, architect, musician, disability rights advocate from Smithfield, Rhode Island; William Holcombe, Quaker, environmental/climate activist from Sandwich, MA; Courtland Woods, disability rights activist and founding member of the Life Experience School in Millis, MA; and Lewis Randa, Quaker, pacifist, vegan, and social change educator from Duxbury, MA.
Previous Peace Chain actions: “Peace Chain 18” in 2003, which blocked the driveway of the US Army Biological and Chemical Labs in Natick, MA the day after the US invaded Iraq; Peace Chain 5 blocked roadway in protest of Bush’s troop surge in 2007 in front of the Pacifist Memorial; and the closing of the entrance to the Goldman Sachs office in Boston in 2010 following the economic collapse caused by subprime mortgage loans and predatory practices of Wall Street.