Cal-Nevada Clergy Among those Arrested at Beale on Good Friday

April 20, 2001

Two retired clergy members of the California-Nevada Annual Conference, The Reverend John Auer of Fresno and The Reverend Sharon Delgado of Nevada City, were among those detained at an anti-drone demonstration at Beale Air Force Base on April 18, Good Friday. The two had joined other clergy in leading a prayer service at the gates of Beale, "in the shadow of killer drones, modern day equivalents of the cross, to pray, to act, and to build a community of peace." There are frequent anti-drone demonstrations at Beale, home of the Global Hawk Drone, a surveillance drone that assists in finding targets for armed Predator and Reaper drones. Over fifty people attended the service, which included prayers, songs, Holy Communion, and reflections by internationally recognized peace activist Kathy Kelly. Following the service, eleven demonstrators, including Reverend Auer, Reverend Delgado, and Kathy Kelly, crossed the demarcation line onto Beale property in an attempt to deliver a letter to the base commander, along with two statements about drones from religious groups: The World Council of Churches' Statement on the Use of Drones and the Right to Life and "A Call from the Faith Based Community to Stop Drone Killings," signed by religious leaders from around the country. Those who crossed the line were detained for over an hour, then released. Also detained were The Reverend Elizabeth Griswold, pastor of Parkside Community Church, UCC, in Sacramento, The Reverend Dr. Gerald O. (Jerry) Pedersen, a retired Lutheran Pastor and member of Veterans for Peace from Sacramento, and five other demonstrators. Kathy Kelly is coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare. In 2011, Kathy Kelly was a passenger on "The Audacity of Hope," the U.S. boat in the international flotilla to break the illegal occupation of Gaza. She has taken nine trips to Afghanistan, where she has lived alongside ordinary Afghan people in Kabul. She has joined activists in the United States to protest drone warfare outside of military bases in Nevada, upstate New York, and Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. She has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.