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 The momentary sense of dread I had last Wednesday after being addressed from the Oval Office has been replaced by hope and faith.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

JRPC closing during virus restriction


Dear JRPC & Olive Branch Friends,

In an attempt to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 we will be closed to the public starting March 16. While this was not an easy decision, we feel it is best for the safety of our community, staff, volunteers, and customers.

We encourage you all to practice social distancing where you can and follow all recommendations of your local and national health officials.

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
World Health Organization

We are all in this together and JRPC will continue to be a resource for you and our community. Stay tuned to our social media and email newsletters for ways to continue to practice peace in this time of social distancing. We also invite you to join our JRPC Community Group as a way to virtually socialize!

Be good to each other & stay safe,


Peace – Peaceful


“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”

Jean Shinoda Bolen

Dear Friends,

We are all too familiar with those days when you feel like you are pushing yourself to function at a baseline human level. I see you. I see you in the person weaving in and out of traffic gesticulating wildly and saying what I’m sure are lovely things. I see you in the Mother staring blankly ahead at the store while your child throws tantrum number 4 for the day. I see you in the person doodling on your notes during that meeting that could have been an email. I see you in the person being short with the waitress taking your order because that guy took your parking spot. I see you in the mirror sometimes.

We have all seen these people. We have all been these people. I’m sure a whole thesis could be written on judge not lest ye be judged as it relates to all these scenarios. I don’t have time for a thesis today. So, without judgement, I offer a reminder that in order to give the best of yourself to the world you need to treat yourself with kindness, patience, and compassion. Not all days are good days. Somedays you need to take care of yourself and there is no shame in that. Far too many people opt not to practice self-care because it is perceived as selfish or they don’t think they have time. I would counter that if taking 30 minutes to meditate every morning makes you happy it is the most generous thing you can do for the people around you and I promise you have the time.

So, I challenge you this week make time for at least one thing that brings you joy. This month, try some new self-care practices. We live in a community overflowing with opportunities to nourish your soul. Here are a few ideas.

  • Get outside.
  • Create something.
  • Watch a new movie at home or the theater.
  • Take yourself on a date.
  • Read a book.
  • Take a drive with no destination.
  • Sit and take in a view.
  • Introduction to Meditaion with Present Moment Practice: March 19, 6:00-7:00 At JRPC
  • Knitting For Peace: Tuesdays, 1:00–3:00pm At JRPC.
  • Nonviolent Communication Practice Group: 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, 12:00-1:00pm At JRPC.
  • The Cranium Origami Group: The Cranium creates origami delights every 1st, 3rd and 5th Wednesday, 1:15-3:15 At JRPC

Be good to others and yourself,
Carol Schwartz

Women in Black Stand for Peace


“I believe that peace is not merely an absence of war, but the nurture of human life, and that in time this nurture will do away with war as a natural process… Only in freedom is permanent peace possible. To unite women in all countries who are opposed to any kind of war, exploitation and oppression and who work for universal disarmament and by the establishment of social, political, and economic justice for all without distinction of sex, race, class, or creeds.”
Jane Addams

Dear Friends,

Have you noticed the women standing on the Higgins St. Bridge on Friday’s? They have been standing there almost every Friday since December 6th, 2001. These Missoula Women, are part of an international movement that began in 1988 in Israel when Israeli and Palestinian women stood united for peace while they mourned the victims of war and violence. They are part of an international history and the history of women here in Missoula. March is Women’s History Month, a time to note the contributions of ordinary women.

While the individual women have changed over the years the belief in peaceful protest, and consistent visibility is an action that brings attention to the ongoing loss of life by violence and war. The women stand as witness to the suffering of all victims of violence and in solidarity with people all over the world who struggle for peace and justice.

For the past eighteen plus years, each Friday, from 12:15 to 12:45 pm, women of all ages supported by brothers, partners, fathers and sons stand quietly as an on-going presence reminding others that war and violence continues.  Each week we hand out peace cranes, we hold signs and we wait and we hope.  We will continue to quietly stand as a presence dedicated to peace.

A few years ago, the Missoula Veterans for Peace, joined the peaceful protest of the Women in Black.  They stand beside us sharing the belief that until we end violence and war, we will not have peace. Both the Women in Black and the Veterans for Peace, invite you to stand with us and share our common belief in peace; Peace in our homes, in our communities, in our governments.

Let Peace be worldwide,

Carel Schneider
Missoula Women in Black



“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ~Maya Angelou

Dear friends,
I am thrilled to welcome Carol Schwartz back home to JRPC. She started 4 years ago as a work-study student and then when she graduated, she became our Administrative Assistant. Today she begins a new journey as our Program Director. Come meet her at our Open House on Saturday, December 7 for the Parade of Lights. We are open 10 am to 7 pm and we’ll be teaching everyone to fold origami cranes from 11 am to 3 pm. We hope to see you for holiday treats and special savings! To thank you for being members, we are offering 25% off fair trade purchases and 75% off our sale items — a deal you can’t beat!! If you’re not yet a member this is a great time to fix that but you can still save 10%. See you Saturday!

But before that, we will be hosting our annual Kid’s Night on Friday, December 6 from 5 to 7. Check the details below. And here’s a nice gift for the Earth. You can help Citizen Initiative I-187 get on the ballot by signing its petition. If passed, I-187 would require that electric utilities use much more renewable energy (& less fossil fuels), would protect and strengthen net metering, would put a small tax on electricity to replace the coal severance tax and fund a worker retraining program for fossil fuel workers. More info at Look for the I-187 petition signature gatherers at First Friday events on Dec 6, Missoula Parade of Lights events on Dec 7 and at the Missoula Holiday Made Fair in UM’s Adams Center on Dec 8. Now’s your chance to give a gift to the Earth.

Let the holidays begin!!

Give cheerfully and accept gratefully


“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ~Maya Angelou

To you — the members, supporters and volunteers of the Peace Center,
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving – a perfect time for me to say thank you for the contributions of time, money and ideas you make each year to keep us going strong. There is much work for peacemakers – in our world, in our community, and I suspect, even at our own tables, so I am grateful that you have chosen to be part of our “peace community”.

Continue reading

Jeannette Said No – Musical Tribute to Jeannette Rankin


Jeannette Said “No”

We are pleased to share this musical tribute to Montana’s Jeannette Rankin,
the first woman elected to Congress.

Jeannette Said “No” is composed by Joe DeFilippo and performed by the R.J. Phillips Band, a group of Baltimore musicians. Joe DeFilippo: vocals, piano, bass guitar; Sue Tice: fiddle; Bill Phelan: mandolin; Leslie Darr: background vocals; Bill Pratt: drums, organ, background vocals. Produced & recorded by: Bill Pratt @ the Bratt Studio, Baltimore,MD.



Jeannette Said No – music   

Be the Change


“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Gandhi

Dear friends,
9-11-01 changed our world. It is easy to feel insignificant and even hopeless in the face IMG_2711 smallerof the world we have become — full of fear, hatred and division. But, September 11 is another anniversary as well – one that offers us great hope and significance. On 9-11-06 Mohandas Gandhi took his first action of non-violent resistance against a world that he saw as terribly unjust. Here was a man who, despite being trained as a lawyer, was too shy to actually practice law. And yet, he knew that the problems of his day were only being compounded by an “eye for an eye” mentality. And he knew that he must Continue reading

Cheers to our Peacemakers


“There’s always a story. It’s all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story.
Change the story, change the world.” ~Terry Pratchett

May 10, 2018
Dear friends,

Today, I would like to introduce you to several young people who are changing the world. They are living stories of courage, compassion and justice that will inspire us allmarchforourlives with hope. These are the nominees for our new Fr. Jim Hogan Search For Peace Award.

Allison Moran, a 5-year-old kindergartner at Cold Springs Elementary who epitomizes kindness and caring by volunteering in the community, looking at the positive in every situation, going out of her way to help others and pay it forward and spreading love everywhere she goes.
Marita Growing Thunder who stepped up in a very visible way to respect her heritage, raise awareness and express solidarity for a very under represented voice in her community — the plight of the many missing and murdered indigenous women in our community.
The SOAP Girls (that stands for Save Our Amazing Planet) a group of 4 girls who have been working on social justice issues for 8 years — since they were ages 9-10. They focus on positive ways to make a difference, from the useful tips on their website for conserving natural resources, to the many causes their fundraising has supported both locally and globally, including a summer camp for kids ages 4-8 and a two day overnight camp for older kids (ages 7-11).
The Group that Organized the Hellgate HS Walkout on 2/21/18 — They mobilized a lot of kids quickly and effectively into a nonviolent civil disobedience action to move things forward around the topic of public safety and guns.
The long list of students from across town and across schools — from 3rd grade through High school, ages 6-18 who organized Walk Outs at all schools on March 14, then went on to organize, lead and speak out at the community rally March For Our Lives on March 24 with 1,000 people in attendance.
These are the faces and voices of the future stewards of our world — the authors of the stories that will change our world. A group of their peers has selected one of these individuals or groups to receive a cash award for their contribution to the search for peace. But we want to honor and appreciate all of them for giving us hope for the future.

On Sunday, May 20 at UCC Church from 2 to 3:30 pm, at our annual Peacemaker Celebration we will honor and thank all these young people and announce the winner of the Fr. Jim Hogan award just prior to celebrating our 2018 Peacemaker, Steve McArthur.

If you are at all discouraged by the world around you, these inspiring young people along with our very own Peacemaker Steve will renew your hope for the world and make you proud to be part of this community. This is a celebration you won’t want to miss and there will be a reception to follow so you can meet and mingle with all the movers and shakers of peace in Missoula!