A Good Story

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“A good story is like a compass, it points to something true and invites us to orient our own direction according to it and perhaps to live a little better.” ~Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen

Dear friends,
Dr. Remen reminds us that it is the stories we hear that show us the way forward and challenge us to live a little better. This Saturday, we will be celebrating the stories of our peacemakers, our youth, the musicians in our community and each other. We have a special opportunity to learn about peace from Denis Matveev who is joining us from his work in Europe as a Peace Broker with the Crisis Management Initiative. This group was founded in 2000 by Nobel Peace laureate and former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari and is now one of the leading organisations in its field with a staff of around 70 and ongoing commitments in the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Eurasia. This is a rare opportunity for us in Missoula and I hope you can join us.

In fact, the whole day will be filled with peace. There will be a couple food vendors so you can purchase food. And Fernanda and Robert are offering a portion of all beverages sold to support Nonviolent Peaceforce, a great way for our celebration to do more good in the world. Below is the schedule for the day. I hope you can join us…Betsy

10:30 am-12 noon: Living Rhythm Community Drum Circle with Matthew Nord & Dave Robertson from Tangled Tones

12-2 pm : Imagine Ireland Irish Circle

1:30-2:30 pm : Strategic Peacebuilding Workshop w/ Denis Matveev senior advisor from The Crisis Management Initiative (CMI Peace Broker), an independent Finnish organisation that works to prevent and resolve violent conflicts through informal dialogue and mediation.

3-3:45 pm : Congolese Choir and Fr. Jim Hogan Search For Peace Youth Award. The award will be announced at the event. Nominees include:

  • Allison Moran, a 6-year-old kindergartner at Jeannette Rankin School 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
  • Cecilia Spencer, a 4th grader who is active in the constant effort to promote justice and harmony
  • Kara Good, Blake Lindemer and Emma Stevenson, from Seeley Lake who are bravely spreading awareness about discrimination, injustice and environmental issues;
  • The Youth Group from University Congregational United Church of Christ who are active in a broad spectrum of social justice issues such as food insecurity, homelessness and Native American reservation issues — Clara Hahn, Adam Hahn, Josie Firehammer, Helen McGeary, Keira Skovlin, George Cassens, Rowan Welch, Skye Welch, Gabriel Hendrix, Grace Cassens (Youth Leader) and Karin Clark Cassens (Youth Director)
  • Lily & Maizy Miller, middle school sisters who started businesses to raise money for girls to go to school in Nepal and Malawi

3:45-5 pm : Montana Women’s Chorus Missoula provides music and the Missoula Peace Quilters present the Peace Award to Fernanda M.B. Krum and Robert Rivers

5:30-8 pm : Live Music w/ Good Old Fashioned and time to mingle with our peacemakers and each other and celebrate all that we have to inspire us!

We Shall Have to Begin With the Children

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“If we are to teach real peace in this world…we shall have to begin with the children.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Dear friends,
There are so many stories of folks doing great things to change the world. And we love to hear them. Gandhi tells us that if we want to change the word for peace, we must begin with the children. But here is something I have learned. The “children” have a lot of wisdom to share with us if we will listen to their stories.

Today, I would like to introduce you to several young people who are changing the youngpeacemaker2019world. They are living stories of courage, compassion and justice that will inspire us all with hope. These are the nominees for our 2019 Fr. Jim Hogan Search For Peace Award.

  • Allison Moran, a 6-year-old kindergartner at Jeannette Rankin School 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.
  • Cecilia Spencer, a 4th grader who is active in the constant effort to promote justice and harmony;
  • Kara Good, Blake Lindemer and Emma Stevenson, from Seeley Lake who are bravely spreading awareness about discrimination, injustice and environmental issues;
    University Congregational Church of Christ Missoula Youth Group who are active in a broad spectrum of social justice issues such as food insecurity, homelessness and Native American reservation issues
  • Lily & Maizy Miller, middle school sisters who started businesses to raise money for girls to go to school in Nepal and Malawi

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 will have to select one of these individuals or groups to receive a cash award for their contribution to the search for peace — not an easy task! But we want to honor and appreciate all of them for giving us hope for the future.

Please join us on Saturday, May 18 at Imagine Nation Brewing Company at our annual Peacemaker Celebration to honor and thank all these young people and announce the winner of the Fr. Jim Hogan award just prior to celebrating our 2019 Peacemakers, Fernanda M. B. Krum & Robert Rivers. If you are at all discouraged by the world around you, these inspiring young people along with our two amazing peacemakers will renew your hope for the world and make you proud to be part of this community. At 1:30, before we announce the Search For Peace winner, there will be a special peacebuilding workshop arranged by our peacemakers. 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!

See you there…Betsy

Transformed people transform people

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“Transformed people transform people” ~Richard Rohr

Dear friends,
Twenty years ago, a nun in Great Falls, MT told Robert Rivers that he would have a connection to Brazil. At the time it meant nothing, but when he met Fernanda Menna UbuntuBarreto Krum while working as a Nonviolent Peaceforce trainer in Romania. The two quickly became more than a connection and that magic has made an impact around the world helping people recover from conflict and rebuild lives. Fernanda and Robert settled in Missoula 7 years ago and while they have continued to have an impact around the world, they have built a center in Missoula that has transformed our community and many people in it. I am honored to announce that Fernanda and Rober have been chosen as the 2019 Peacemakers.

Imagine Nation Brewing Company is a place beyond beer — a Center for Transformation, the first of its kind, where connections conversations and change can occur. Their logo is a buffalo, the only animal that turns to face a storm. Fernanda and Robert have supported many people in conflict zones around the world to face the storms before them and transform their communities. The Center they have built here in MIssoula is helping us do the same by making space for critical dialogues such as LGBTQI issues, climate change, immmigration, veterans issues or criminal justice reform. Robert and Fernanda believe that we are all connected and that what we do together gives us strength. They have given almost have of their profits back to Missoula nonprofits and given us all a place to transform ourselves so that we can impact the world. The African saying that inspires their work is Ubuntu — we are who we are because of each other.

Please join us and the Missoula Peace Quilters to honor Fernanda M. B. Krum & Robert Rivers on Saturday, May 18 at Imagine Nation Brewing. At 1:30, Fernanda and Robert will offer a peacebuilding workshop presented by Denis Matveev. Then at 3 pm, we will introduce you to the five Youth Peacemakers nominated for the Fr. Jim Hogan Search For Peace Award and then the Quilters will present a special peace quilt to honor the work Robert and Fernanda are doing to strengthen our connections to each other and heal the world. I hope you can join us…Betsy

PS: Last week, our server was interrupted so we thought it wise to reassure you our security systems kept us safe, and we are back on track. We apologize for any disruptions.

 

The Light Within Me…

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“No matter how much light I carry within me, there will always be times of feeling lost, being confused, seeking direction. It is the way of the human heart.” ~Joyce Rupp

Dear friends,
Today, I will join many other community groups to table on campus for the Student Advocacy Resource Center. They celebrate diversity and support respect and care for all the academic community so that the UM campus can become a place that is free Lightfrom discrimination and unwelcome physical, emotional or social coercion. What a great resource for our campus community. But more importantly a role model and reminder for the rest of us. We all go through rough times and loose our heart and our direction at times. So the question is not why, but rather, how can we be each other’s resource and bring back each other’s light. Peace begins in small ways every day…Betsy Continue reading

Young Peacemakers

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“…young people are in the forefront of the political process—working, listening, talking, participating…”
Mike Mansfield, 1970.

Dear friends,
In 2001, Fr. Jim Hogan challenged the community to look to young people to find peacemakersexpressions of peace in our world. He believed that our children and young adults could offer us an inspiring perspective. 2018 saw proof all over this country that he was right. Young people raised their voices and took to the streets to speak up about the issues that are important to them, including gun rights, racism and more. This past couple of years, we have witnessed proof that our young Continue reading

One Voice

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“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” ~Malala Yousafzai

Dear friends,
Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, who we will honor this next Monday talked often about MLKbuilding beloved community, where everyone matters and truly cares about and works for the welfare of all. Thanks to the courage of many indigenous women, we are learning about an epidemic that must be addressed in our communities so we can move the needle a little closer to “beloved”. Native American women and girls around the country are disappearing and being murdered at an alarming rate — 5,712 reports in 2016, which begs the question — “how many remain un-reported?” Even more Continue reading

Be the Change

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“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

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“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!

Betsy

Steve McArthur Peacemaker of the Year

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May 3, 2018

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.
~John Holmes

Steve

Steve McArthur – Peacemaker of the Year

Dear friends,

One of my favorite letters to write — introducing you to the Peacemaker we have chosen. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to a man of great hope and compassion, though to most of you he will need no introduction. Steve McArthur walks the walk like few others! Every day, he draws from the values of respect, cooperation and openness to reach out and connect with everyone he meets. And he does it with the biggest smile, the warmest hug and the most contagious laugh. The fun he has in life rubs off on us and the feelings of being valued and respected that he gives everyone he meets is a basic foundation to the work we all need to do to build peace.

Steve is above all, a good citizen and a great steward of our earth and he believes we all have a responsibility to care about our planet,and each other and as his life is a testament to the actions inherent in living up to that responsibility. To Steve, peace means respecting others, listening deeply to other points of view and working to build consensus. His commitment to peace extends to his own willingness to walk lightly on the earth, composting and recycling, working the earth to grow food to share with others and volunteering for so many Missoula organizations it would be difficult to list them all. Join me in thanking Steve for teaching us to treasure and protect our planet, to truly enjoy life and bring hope to others, to value above all the connections and conversations we have with each other and to truly look below the surface with compassion and love at the value of each person we meet. Thank you Steve for lifting us up in the name of peace…Betsy

Decency

Decency

Dear friends,
Kendrick Castillo represents the latest addition to our shared grief and our disappointment with a government that cannot see past it’s differences to keep our citizens — our children — safe. It is up to us to raise the bar and demand accountability and action. Part of that action must be “being the change”. We can work for change and treat each other with decency and civility. In fact, if you think about it, treating others with respect may be the only way to get their attention and make them feel like listening and learning alongside us.

We are thrilled to join at least 15 other localities around the country calling for National Decency Day on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Join us at noon at Imagine Nation Brewing Company for “a decent lunch”. Bring your lunch or purchase it from vendors on site. Mayor Engen will read a proclamation we have prepared and we’ll have buttons or stickers for everyone who shows up. But the important thing is that you show up and stand up next to other members of our community and pledge to treat each other with civility and decency in our everyday conversations, thoughts and actions. It won’t heal our grief but a commitment to treat each other with decency is at the heart of understanding and moving forward together. Please join us, no matter what your perspective or beliefs. We are a community together. I look forward to standing alongside you…Betsy

 

Saturday, May 18.  Honor our 2019 Peacemaker and the Fr. Jim Hogan Search for Peace award nominees.

10:30am-12pm -Living Rhythm Community Drum Circle
with Matthew Nord & Dave Robertson – Tangled Tones
12-2pm: Imagine Ireland Irish Circle
1:30-2:30 – Strategic Peacebuilding Workshop w/ Denis Matveev senior advisor from CMI
3-3:45 – Congolese Choir and Youth Award
3:45-5pm – Montana Women’s Chorus Missoula and Peace Award to the Peacemaker of the Year
5:30-8pm – Live Music w/ Good Old Fashioned

 

Bee the change!

Dear friends,            Go to our Missoula Gives page
Harriet Tubman said, you “gotta look past everything you know and believe in something better.” That’s what we do at JRPC. For 33 years, we’ve been keeping the idea of peace alive because we know that war is not the answer. It drains our BeeTheChangeeconomies, pollutes our planet, and destroys lives. If war is not the answer, what is? We believe it is connection, conversation and education — plus a little decency and diplomacy in the way we interact with each other. So one of the other things we work hard at is building a society and a world where those values are the ones we hold in relation to each other. You are likely hearing from many nonprofits in our community asking you to contribute to Missoula Gives today and tomorrow. We all work because of you our community! And if you care about our work, if you need what we offer the world, you need to fund that care with dollars. All it takes is $10 and you can support us or a variety of other deserving groups working in our community. Deepest gratitude for your help and support..Betsy

P.S. Did you notice the peace sign on our bee? It’s a little different than the other bees around town and we hope it helps you step up to look past everything you know, believe that a better world is possible and “Bee the change” for peace. Go to our Missoula Gives page between now and 8 pm tomorrow to show us you care. I

PSS: We have to correct a mistake we make last week — The group that was nominated for the Fr Jim Hogan Search For Peace Award was the University Congregational United Church of Christ Missoula Youth Group — good luck to them and thanks for their great work!