Celebrating a Peacemaker

Dear friends,refugeeswelcome

Many of you have been asking who the 2017 peacemaker is and today I am able to tell you. We are thrilled to honor and celebrate Mary Poole, founder and director of Soft Landing Missoula. It started with a picture — the one we all saw of the small body of Alan Kurdi, a 3-year-old Syrian boy who drowned as he and his family were trying to reach Europe in the midst of the refugee crisis. Mary, the mother of a small boy herself was moved. But Mary went further and acted. She is the fire behind Soft Landing Missoula which began in the fall of 2015 to make sure Missoula stands alongside communities across the world to welcome and protect other “Alan Kurdi’s”. Today several families from Congo, Syria, and Eritrea call Missoula home. Caring about the welfare of these families is good, but the real inspiration in Mary’s work is her care and concern for those in our community who are opposed to the work of Soft Landing. It is true peacemaking to seek to understand one’s opposition. I have watched Mary’s courage and compassion as she listens to the fears, the anger, even the threats of those who don’t believe in the mission of Soft Landing. And I have heard her learn to call them friends. In the world we live in today, I am not sure we could have a clearer portrait of peacemaking. Please join me — Saturday, May 20, 3-5 pm at Har Shalom — to celebrate the courage and compassion that is Mary Poole…Betsy

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