Stand Up and Be the Light

Dear friends,
Today many people around the world are marking the 72nd anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year’s theme is “Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights”, reaffirming the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, the need for global solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity.
Today also begins the celebration of Hanukkah, the festival of light. And shortly after the eight days of Hanukkah, the winter solstice will turn the earth more and more toward the light. One of my favorite Hanukkah traditions is of the shamash, the ninth candle in the menorah. It is the helper candle used to light the other eight candles. After a hard year we all need a little light in the darkness. But today, let Continue reading

Keepers of Peace and Justice

Dear friends,
For as long as I can remember, JRPC has held a “Kid’s Night” in December, an opportunity for our youngest folks to shop and learn about fair trade. I will miss this part of our holiday tradition. It was hard work, but the rewards were many — faces lit up with joy at finding that perfect gift, the care taken to wrap each one just right and the pride as each gift was carried home to the tree. This year will require some adjustments, but hopefully we can find ways to keep the magic because we all need that. I don’t have children but I do appreciate Continue reading

Physically distanced but socially engaged

Dear friends,
Settling in after a long election cycle and our first ever online auction (thanks for making it a success!!), I realize that nothing is settled! Our country is still divided and many of us will forego the gatherings this holiday season that sustain us as social beings. Perhaps this time of physical distance can help us re-imagine ways we can socially engage, because that sense of connection and belonging is a foundation of peace. You know there are people who would love a phone call or a note from you, people who have a story to tell and just need someone to listen. Make a point to engage with them. Continue reading

Gratitude

Nov 12, 2020

Dear friends,
Tomorrow the Montana Nonprofit Association will celebrate Philanthropy Day by honoring outstanding organizations and individuals. Today and ever after, I am honoring the people listed here. In August I sent out a special appeal for donations to help us weather the storm of Covid-19. You folks listed here (as well as a couple who wanted to remain anonymous) stepped up to say “yes”! And because of all of you, we raised over $20,000 from that letter! Each week as the checks kept coming, I was awed by your generosity. And all the notes you wrote touched my heart. My thanks to each of you and all of you for your part in making sure a Missoula icon of peace remains strong into the future.

This coming Sunday we will close our very first online auction and again an amazing group of folks stepped up to donate meals, desserts, quilts, classes and so much more. Special thanks to the Good Food Store and First Security Bank for leading the way. And a growing list of participants is bidding away on items getting us about halfway to our goal. It’s fun to watch! But it is even more heartwarming to feel the support from our community. You all make me so proud to be a part of this organization and to be about the work of peace! Quoting William Shakespeare, “I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks”…Betsy Continue reading

Climate Collapse is a Spiritual Crisis Requiring a Spiritual Solution

The only world we will ever know and love is in danger. Many of us have lost connection with our spiritual roots and no longer remember what it feels like to wander through an old-growth forest or to stare in awe at a star-spangled sky. It is time for us to resacralize our connection with the Earth that nurtures and sustains us; time we acknowledge our sacred obligation to live in a much more awake and openhearted way.

Facts alone do not tell the story. Our hearts break as we witness blackened forests and lands drowned in floods. Our despair is deepened by a pandemic that keeps us isolated inside individual shelters, deprived of human touch. We’re anxious and scared, and don’t know what to do. Continue reading