Media Advisory


Kate Heinzel,
University Mennonite Church
(717) 606-2909

Joel Weidner,
Congregational Chair
University Mennonite Church
(814) 777-4494

Mennonites and Other People of Faith in Centre County to Hold Demonstration at Representative Glenn Thompson’s Regional Office Calling for Ceasefire in Gaza

The demonstration will include delivering a letter (see below), a discussion outlining demands, prayers for peace, and protest signs outside office, denouncing the ongoing siege of Gaza

December 19, Bellefonte, PA — Mennonites from University Mennonite Church and allies will hold a peace service protest at Glenn Thompson’s office calling for them to sign on to the “Ceasefire Resolution”.

WHAT: Mennonites, members of a historic peace church, and their allies are expected to peacefully demonstrate at Glenn Thompson’s office. They will be calling on members of Congress to support the “Ceasefire Now” resolution led by Rep. Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib, and for humanitarian assistance to be allowed to enter Gaza. 

Copy of letter that will be delivered to Glenn Thompson below

WHERE: 3555 Benner Pike, Bellefonte, PA 16823

WHEN: December 19, 2023 at 3 PM

WHO: Mennonites affiliated with University Mennonite Church and Mennonite Action in State College PA alongside allies from other local churches and faith organizations. 

Mennonites and other people of faith across the United States and Canada have been shocked and horrified, first by Hamas’ brutal attacks against Israeli civilians on October 7th, and then by Israel’s continuing attacks on Palestinian civilians, as the death toll climbs into the tens of thousands, including thousands of children. Over the past few weeks, they began to organize a new movement called Mennonite Action. Hundreds of North American Mennonites have joined planning webinars and started organizing other members of their congregations and other like-minded people of faith to take public action demanding that their representatives call for a ceasefire.

The actions planned for Tuesday will be the new movement’s first public actions.

“Our Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, and Muslim friends and loved ones are demanding a ceasefire even while they are forced to reckon with unspeakable tragedies,” said Kate Heinzel, pastor, University Mennonite Church. “We believe we have a duty as pacifists and Christians to join public action for peace and justice whenever and wherever we can.”

Mennonite Action is a movement of Mennonites bonded by a common belief that we have a responsibility to use our voices as powerfully as possible for the cause of peace and justice. We are members of an historic peace church who are mobilizing fellow Mennonites and Anabaptists across the United States and Canada to use creative nonviolent actions to demand a ceasefire, end the US and western funded occupation of Palestine, and build for a lasting peace.

Letter to be Delivered to Representative Thompson

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Representative Glenn Thompson
3555 Benner Pike
Bellefonte, PA 16823

Dear Representative Thompson,

We are people of faith who live in your political district. We are church congregants, pastors, faith leaders, and community members whose shared values compel us to follow a model of active peacemaking. We are asking you to stand with us to end the massacre in Gaza and promote a lasting peace for all Israelis and Palestinians.

We were shocked and horrified by Hamas’ brutal attacks against Israeli civilians on October 7. And we are heartbroken and horrified by Israel’s continuing attacks on Palestinian civilians that have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, including thousands of children.

Over the past several months, we have watched in disbelief as the scale of violence in Palestine has reached staggering levels. Cities are in ruins. Children are trapped under the rubble. Hostages are being held captive. Hospitals are collapsing. Entire family lines have been wiped out. As bombs — funded by our tax dollars — rain down on Gaza, our hearts ache for the people of Palestine who are living through an unimaginable humanitarian crisis.

We cannot turn away. We cannot keep quiet. Our faith demands that we speak out.

Our spiritual values move us to advocate for peace and justice. We understand as people of faith we are called to nonviolently shape our world for good. We ask you to use your platform as an elected official to show the world that there is another option besides an endless cycle of bombings, airstrikes, rockets, invasions, and killings.

Together, as people of faith, we are calling on you to:

  • Sign on to Rep. Cori Bush’s Ceasefire Now Resolution and publicly demand a permanent ceasefire.
  • Stop giving a blank check to Israel for weapons of war.
  • Advocate for diplomacy and a political solution that ends the occupation of Palestine and builds toward dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.

Violence will keep no one safe. As the deadly cycles of violence continue, we are seeing hate crimes spread across the U.S. We believe that our Jewish, Muslim and Arab neighbors and friends deserve safety and security wherever they live. We believe it is our responsibility as people of faith to stand up against violent theologies that promote antisemitism and Islamophobia.

Will you use your power to prevent more death and destruction? Will you advocate for a political solution that dignifies the lives of all Palestinians and Israelis? Will you stand with us for peace?

In peace,

Kate Heinzel, pastor, Ben Wideman, Mary Derstein, Rosita Derstine, Ruth Tillman, Joel Weidner, Krista Weidner, Carolyn Brubaker, Michelle L. Davis, Todd Davis, Nathan Davis, Jasiel Lira, Gloria Horst Rosenberger, James Rosenberger, Joyce E. Hall, Karen J Rath, Paul McCormick, Doug Yoder, Rebekah Saxena, Ross C. Hardison, Anita Hope Brubaker, Frances Brubaker, Riley Horst Brubaker, Nel Kopp Leah Witzig, Sophia Weidner, Mike Mwirigi, University Mennonite Church

Claudia Wilson, Darlene Clark, Loretta Jeffreys, Vilmos Misangyi, Rebecca Misangyi, Ann Sidone, Paula Schroeder, Paul Clark, Susan Knox, Emma Priya Myers, Nicholas Rehler, Michael Grutzeck, Katherine Lumley Sapanski, Dorothy Habecker, State College Friends Meeting

Janet Irons, Maren Larson, Pamela Farley Short, Tobin Short, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County,

Bonnie Kline Smelter, retired pastor, Gail Addison Guss, Dan Guss, Jean Morrow, University Baptist and Brethren Church

Julia Spicher Kasdorf, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bellefonte

Connie Poissant, Good Shepherd Catholic Church

Rev. Gregory A. Milinovich, Rev. Sarah Coker Voigt, Kelli Prescott, Kevin R. Harwell, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation

Shih-In Ma, Six Rings Zen Sangha

Phil Jones, Director, Center for Alternatives in Community Justice

Manuel Rosaldo, Centre County Wage Justice Coalition

Lisa Sternlieb, Geoffrey Landers-Nolan, Shannon Telenko, Barrett Marshall, Sarah Q. Malone, Gopal Balachandran, Jon Brockopp