“THE FIRST DUTY OF LOVE IS TO LISTEN.” – PAUL TILLICH

Featured

FIR“THE FIRST DUTY OF LOVE IS TO LISTEN.” – PAUL TILLICH

“I showed up at the shelter to do intakes one day…I spent the next three hours with little children screaming for their parents. ~Maite Garcia, a Florence Project attorney
Friends, we have all heard the heart-breaking news of children separated from their parents at our southern border. And I am sure we have all wondered what we can do to reconcile this national crisis. The Florence Project is an answer. In the last 9 months, they have worked with 661 children forcibly separated from their parents — children who Continue reading

Right and Left Hands

Featured

“Men and women are like right and left hands; it doesn’t make sense not to use both.” ~Jeannette Rankin

Dear friends,
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the accomplishments of women throughout history and honor the women who hold special places in each of our womenlives. Beginning with Jeannette Rankin, we celebrate the many women whose contributions challenged and changed our society for the better. Women who have worked hard for reproductive rights, voting rights, labor equality, freedom from assault and many other issues. This year a record number of women stepped up to run for offices around the country. Still, we have lots of work to do to combat poverty and ensure that women have an equal seat at the table. We now know the staggering numbers of indigenous women and girls who disappear or are murdered each year. Women around the world bear the burdens of war, poverty, unfair immigration policies, poor health care and lack of education — and for women of color that burden is magnified. Tomorrow we celebrate all the women who struggle for a better world and we accept our responsibility to continue the work of our ancestors and comrades. In the words of Judy Fjell, “You ran for us; you stood for us; let’s face it you stuck out your neck for us…now we’re running in your name Jeannette!” And don’t forget to thank all those supportive men out there who run alongside us!!!

With honor and thanks, Betsy

PS: Fair Trade enables women all around the world to set and achieve big dreams. And we are so thrilled that our very own Jenny Zaso, has been elected to the board of the Fair Trade Federation. We are so proud of her — the future of fair trade is bright !!

Slay the Dragon of Separation

Featured

“It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion.” ~Bertrand Russell

Dear friends,
Religion is one of the ways we separate ourselves into groups — but certainly not thepeace only one. We also use politics, nationality and many other things to fit people into neat boxes. But it seems like our task is to figure out a way to both connect to a group and leave spaces in our connections so we see the big picture. That picture of course is that we are all connected and it is our belief in our separateness that causes our suffering. I see that suffering on the faces of many friends who are feeling abandoned by the Methodist Church today and struggling with the questions of how to belong — how to Continue reading

Beneath the Ink

Featured

“Face your past. Change your life.” ~Beneath The Ink

Dear friends,
I have been enjoying the break from routine to watch many of the films at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. I’ve been exposed to the effects of war, the power of a Changebicycle, the realities of being black or native, the pain of the human condition and the redemption that is possible. All of them connect me to people and places outside my world. They inspire conversations and they teach me what is real and also what is possible. We have had a recent onslaught of hate literature surface in Missoula and I know we all struggle trying to understand how people can believe hateful rhetoric. And we search for solutions that will bring about change and redemption. One filmmaker found a Continue reading

Tearing Down Walls

“To heal our society, our psyches must heal as well. The military, social, and environmental dangers that threaten us do not come from sources outside the human heart; they are reflections of it, mirroring the fears, greed, and hostilities that separate us from ourselves and each other.” ~Joanna Macy

Dear friends,
I’ve been thinking a lot about walls lately. Truth is I can’t read or listen to anything where the question of a wall doesn’t come up. The wall, of course, is the proposed one to wallsseparate the US from Mexico. Many people would gladly spend billions of our national treasury and add to our debt in order to keep people out and protect a way of life that is shrinking — if it ever really existed. But there are other walls we must contend with — namely the ones we construct in our hearts to dismiss or discount others who don’t fit in our picture of the world. Because we too are afraid. And if Continue reading