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World-Renowned Peacemaker, Art Gish, Dies in Tractor Accident

Art and Peggy Gish by Dinty W. Moore

Art and Peggy Gish (above) 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 this 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.

Art Gish stares down Israeli tank.

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.

Art Gish on his organic farm in Athens, Ohio.

To read books about and by Art and Peggy Gish, check out these:

Iraq: A Journey of Hope and Peace by Peggy Faw Gish

As Resident Aliens: Christian Peacemaker Teams in the West Bank, by CPTer Kathleen Kern

and find more at Christian Peacemaker Teams.

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • editterry July 29, 2010, 12:19 am

    You’re right about Art. Here’s a better link than the short Columbus Dispatch story about Art Gish’s death:

    http://www.athensnews.com/ohio/article-31680-prominent-local-activist-dies-in-farming-accident.html

  • dale hess July 29, 2010, 2:06 am

    Greeting from Melbourne, Australia. I was greatly saddened to learn of Art’s tragic accident. He has been an inspiration to me for more than 36 years. I keenly feel the loss of his presence and hold Peggy and other close supporters such as Cliff and Arlene Kindy in the Light.

  • Kathleen July 29, 2010, 9:03 am

    Rose what a beautiful tribute to Art’s life. Art’s life was a daily testimony to his deep beliefs. I had the privilege and honor to spend time with and travel with him to numerous peace actions in D.C. and elsewhere. Have spent hours, days with him and I have never heard a harsh personal word towards anyone only love and deep concern. Now I have heard him seriously criticize the violent policies and actions of governments and individuals supporting those governments but never personal attacks on anyone.

    Art Gish was a living breathing example of the love of Christ. He believed deeply. His example always keeps me trying harder. He has inspired so many.

  • dlclair July 29, 2010, 6:35 pm

    HOW SAD that a man of this calibre who stood up for the rights of others throughout his life has been taken in this sudden manner.
    May Art rest in peace; and may his family and friends find comfort with this loss at knowing how great the work Art did was for humanity!

  • Sahal Abdulle August 16, 2010, 4:51 pm

    What a sad news this is. Art was a good human being. I have stayed in his farm and photographed him. “Art Gish on his organic farm in Athens, Ohio” is one the photos that I took.

    He had a profound effect on my life and I’m sure so many others had the some experience.
    I learned a lot from him. He was a wise man, the world will miss him.
    rest in peace Art Gish

  • Rose August 16, 2010, 5:04 pm

    Dear Sahal–
    Thanks for your note and reflections — and thanks especially for giving all of us who loved Art that wonderful photo of him.
    Peace–Rose

  • kimberly lessard November 5, 2011, 11:38 pm

    I just learned of arts death and am very saddened.peggy,I am sorry for your loss.I was privelaged to liveon the farm with art and peggy. Art showed me and my family unconditional love and became a mentor to me and my children. We will continue to shine his light in his dream of peace.goodbye art.you are missed. Kim and family.

  • John Douglas February 29, 2012, 4:14 pm

    Hello there John Douglas in New Zealand here . . . some years ago I picked up a second-hand copy of Art’s book “Living in Christian Community.” It has long had its place on my library shelves, many times over the years its “come on-and-off” that shelf. This morning it came off again, and as I scanned several points “relevant to what I’m writing in a dissertation,” a thought struck. “Is Art still alive?” Both Google and my internalised-theology answered my question. They said; no and yes. Sure I read about a tractor accident in July 2010, but I’ve read in Art’s book too many times to settle a no to my question; just as Christian community is one existing in time and transcending it so also it members. The writer to the Hebrews resonates that into me (12:18-29). So this morning in my research writing, I find the longer-than-life strands of Art’s personal manifesto for living in community weaving into an argument that, “Christian spirituality is a social behaviour” – Yes for me while Art’s writing is a paper source, his words are living-source; incarnated-words in concert with the general assembly and the church/community of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven.

  • Jake Gross February 10, 2013, 7:27 pm

    Is the book “Living in Christian Community” available anymore?
    Would love to have a copy.

  • Rose February 11, 2013, 9:52 am

    As far as I know the book “Living in Christian Community” by Art Gish is still in circulation. I believe that Wipf & Stock reissued it.

  • Jeanne Smith December 11, 2013, 12:09 am

    My husband and I learned to know Art and Peggy Gish when Art was at Bethany Seminary in Oak Brook, Illinois. We always admired his tenacity when it came to his Christian peace position. It’s so ironic and sad that his life was taken the way he was, yet I believe that if he had the choice, he would rather have gone on his own tractor rather than from someone else’s machine gun. He would not have wanted to impose guilt on the person who was the perpetrator.
    Art is our pacifist hero … one willing to go to any length to live out what he believed. Would that more of us would have his kind of courage.

  • Rose December 11, 2013, 4:50 pm

    Thank you Jeanne. Art kept his hand to the plow (literally) until the end. No better way to go. And Peggy continues to carry the Light they once carried together.

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