Peacemaking piece by piece

Dear friends,
I have long been inspired by the work of the Missoula Peace Quilters. Not only do they make beautiful, creative pieces of art that we are drawn to, but their work and their quilts are, to me, symbols of our work for peace. Just as a quilt contains many different colors and pieces of fabric – all different sizes, shapes, colors and patterns – peace must include many perspectives, opinions, cultures and experiences. Some of the pieces of fabric in a quilt are treasured and others are scraps but in the quilt they are equal and they each contribute to the beauty of the whole without prejudice. We would do well to view the world with such equality. I know when the quilters sit down to begin a quilt, they each come with ideas and talents. And yet they each come willing to surrender their vision in service to the larger group. They are “peace” quilters because they know what it is to bring disparate pieces of fabric together to make something of beauty that is larger than any individual piece.

The quilters have done their magic in the quilt pictured here and they are generously raffling it off to benefit the JRPC. Let it inspire you as a symbol of the work for peace. Raffle tickets are available at the Center for $5 each or 5 for $20. Call us or stop by to get your chance to own a beautiful example of peacemaking…Betsy

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.”  Dieter F. Uchtdorf


I just returned rather abruptly from what was to be a 3-week vacation in Ireland with my family. We were heading to a cousin’s wedding with a long list of people to see and places to visit. And instead I sit here at home in the beginning days of isolation with my thoughts, my emotions and the mental pictures of all the people and connections I am grateful to have in my life. This is not the first time, the universe has tried to teach me that I am not the one in control. But this time I have plenty of time to let it sink in – to listen with my heart to all the lessons around me now.

I cannot control what is happening in my world, only how I respond and what I do with it. Sounds a lot like working for peace! I can acknowledge the fears and worries I have and choose not to respond from them, not to react and blame others, but to seek knowledge and connection instead. I can rest in my aloneness while also reaching out in compassion and understanding to let the needs of vulnerable others fill my heart and mind. And as I hear tales of empty shelves, I am reminded of Gandhi’s quote that “the world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s greed”.

I am grateful for the opportunity to write this letter today. Connecting with you, my peace community, every week for the last 15 years has been one of the constants in my life. We will continue to focus on the connection we have with you and others in our community, because that is what the JRPC is about. And we will continue to keep an open mind to hear the lessons our future holds for us all.

Finding the peace within — with you, Betsy

What a Week

What a week. I don’t know about you, but I have been blown away by how our community and others across the country have come together this past week. It really has been a beautiful thing to watch unfold. The momentary sense of dread I had last Wednesday after being addressed from the Oval Office has been replaced by hope and faith. Hope for what we are capable of achieving by working together and faith in our ability to do so. Times are strange right now (to say the least) but the work of peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability continue.

This week I was reminded that 17 years ago today, March 19, the United States was addressed from the Oval Office by a different President. I was 10 years old. I can still remember sitting in our guestroom watching Survivor one minute and the next watching President Bush announce our invasion of Iraq. 17 years. Our country has been involved in some version of (official) war and/or armed conflict all but 3 years of my life. War creates conditions where people live in fear and uncertainty. People lose jobs, homes, family members, and education opportunities.

I’m sure there will be no shortage of lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. One lesson that I have personal hope for is this- No person should have to live in the conditions created by war, disease, and climate crisis. There is, as always, much work to be done. While the JRPC office remains closed to the public for now, we are taking full advantage of this time to think outside the box. To find creative new ways to build a world that is nonviolent, socially just, and environmentally sustainable… and until we build that world, I will maintain my stubborn faith in our ability to do so.

Carol Schwartz


Dear friends,
One week from today many of us will sit down with friends and family to begin the holiday season in gratitude. I grew up hearing the story of grateful pilgrims sitting down in thanks with the people whose land they took. Of course, the story never included that last part, but today we know that those days were the beginning of great trauma for the first nations of this country. Family gatherings have always been joyful for me. However, I know that is not the case for many. Some families will face empty seats this year because of violence and war. Some families are as divided in perspective as our country and face difficult conversations and the reliving of past traumas. As we prepare our grocery lists, let us also prepare our hearts and minds to embody ourselves with a presence that is authentic, check our assumptions and biases so we can truly honor each other for the stories we each bring, and connect with each other in a healing way.

Our thanks to all of you who contributed to make our Peace Party a success. Check out our LONG list of generous sponsors, donors and volunteers

And — In case you missed the PEACE PARTY, but still want to get in on the fun, we have a few dinners left that are available for purchase. To find out more, give us a call at 543-3955.

  •  Authentic Portuguese Dinner by Sofia Reis at the home of Steve and Connie Running on Saturday, January 18, 2020, 2 plates at $225 each
  •  A Turkish Delight from Leslie Burgess, Serena Early and Cyndy and Ray Aten on Saturday, February 1, 2020, 2 plates at $350 each
  • Taste of New Orleans Cajun and Creole Dinner by Nancy Leifer and Linda Andrus on Saturday, February 8, 2020, 2 plates at $225 each
  •  Authentic Indian Dinner from former Coordinating Council member Srini Mondava on Saturday, February 29, 2020, 3 plates at $375

Peace Party Time!

The 2019 Planning Committee is excited to welcome you to our Peace Party. We have worked hard to make sure it an enjoyable evening for all — kids (who are free this year) and adults. Register online by noon on Friday or register at the door on Sunday. Your ticket includes a delightful buffet by Homestead Organics, beer, wine, Kombucha and other beverages and so much more…

Sunday Oct 13, 3:30 TO 7:30. Missoula Fairgrounds Home Arts Building

Online is closed … Register at THE DOOR!

Thanks to: Good Food Store, Imagination Brewery, Homestead Organics, Andersen ZurMuehlen , First Security Bank for their generous sponsorships

We are excited to share OUR ENTERTAINMENT:
Chutzpah Klezmer music, Tom Catmull
AND a Jazz trio from Hellgate High School!


  • Five Friends Italian Dinner cooked to order and delivered to you — by 5 friends!
  • Authentic Greek Dinner  by Effie Koehn (4 plates) on Sunday, October 27, 2019
  • The Flavors of Tuscany: Cuisine of the Italian Heartland by Chef Ray Risho, November 9, 2019
  • Alsatian Dinner by Martha Buser (10 plates) on Sunday, November 10, 2019
    Locally Sourced Five Course Gourmet Dinner  from theo Smith of Masala (8 plates) on Sunday, November, 17, 2019
  • Guided Hike in the Bitterroot Mountains with Guide, Racheal Zeiler & Lunch at Lolo Peak Brewing after the hike (Group of up to 6). Date to be arranged with Racheal
  • Sushi for Two at Sushi Hana. Date to be arranged with Al Gaither at the restaurant
    Dinner Celebration of Peace with Andrea Olsen (4 plates) Tuesday, December 10, 2019 (International Human Rights Day)
  • Authentic Portuguese Dinner by Sofia Reis at the home of Steve and Connie Running (6 plates) on Saturday, January 18, 2020
  • A Turkish Delight  from Leslie Burgess, Serena Early and Cyndy and Ray Aten (6 plates) on Saturday, February 1, 2020
  • 3 Days and 2 nights at a beautiful Flathead Lake Cabin. Dates to be arranged with the owners
  • Taste of New Orleans Cajun and Creole Dinner by Nancy Leifer and Linda Andrus (8 plates) on Saturday, February 8, 2020
  • House Concert By Beth Youngblood (for up to 8 people) complete with appetizers. Date & place to be arranged with Beth (Missoula area only)
  • Authentic Indian Dinner  from former Coordinating Council member Srini Mondava (8 plates) on Saturday, February 29, 2020
  • Authentic Thai Dinner from Jume Slover and her famous food cart Big Thai Country (8 plates) on Saturday, March 7, 2020
  • Beginning Whitewater or Sea Kayaking Instruction with Nancy Siegel (for 2 people). Date and Location to be arranged with Nancy
  • A unique, one-of-a-king JRPC Recipe Collection of food from Peace Party dinners over the years!
  • la Tour de France from Suzzette Dussault (6 plates) on Saturday, June 27, 2020
  • A Week-Long Get-Away in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park of East Tennessee at a lovely old farmhouse. Dates to be arranged with owner
  • And top it off with a slice of Pat Cross’s soon to be famous pie!


  • $20 Gift Card to Thomas Meagher Bar
  • $20 Gift Card to The Book Exchange
  • $20 Gift Card to Acropolis
  • Gift Card for lunch for 2 at Scotty’s Table
  • Draught Works Growler, Fill, Shirt, Glass & Cozie
  • To-Go Mug and $25 Gift Card at Clyde Coffee
  • 1 Month Pass to Unparalleled Movement Gym
  • Family Membership, T-shirt & mug from the MT Natural History Center
  • Kornutopia Popcorn of the Month for 1 Year
  • $50 Gift Card to the Mission Bistro
  • 1 hour Float or Sauna at Enlyten Lab
  • Mums from Pink Grizzly

And there are so many Silent Auction Donors, we barely fit them on a page! Help us celebrate our generous community!!

Contact us at  with questions

Plus, let us know if you want to connect with others to carpool.

Thanks to: Good Food Store, Imagination Brewery, Homestead Organics, Andersen ZurMuehlen , First Security Bank for their generous sponsorships