“The need for connection and community is primal,
as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.” ~Dean Ornish
Connection and community — two primal needs. We all have multiple connections — with the land, the place, each other and together we celebrate being part of many communities. This week in MIssoula, we have the opportunity to explore these concepts in depth with three sets of events and activities focused around different aspects of community and connection. We just kicked off Suicide Prevention Week, a tragic reminder of how the lack of connection and belonging destroy us. This is also Walk and Roll Week, celebrating 27 years of learning to get around with people- Continue reading
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Gandhi
9-11-01 changed our world. It is easy to feel insignificant and even hopeless in the face of 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
”There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability;there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.” ~M. Scott Peck
Dear Peace Community,
In just 6 short weeks we will celebrate together our 32 years as a community dedicated to learning about and working for nonviolence, social justice and environmental stewardship. Looking back, we can be so proud of what was accomplished by a few dedicated folks – the events, the actions, the bold statements, and the network of committed neighbors working together with passion. But we can’t just look back. We must look forward as well. Our theme this year is “Peace Parties On…and we’re all invited”. Continue reading
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
All around us Missoula is filling up with UM students coming back to school and the excitement of a new school year for many other young people. And this year, we are thrilled to know that some of our youngsters will be attending the new Jeannette Rankin Elementary School! Education is one of the most important pursuits we humans can engage in. Continue reading
“Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change — it can not only move us, it makes us move.” ~Ossie Davis
For the last several weeks, three to five women have set up shop in the community room at JRPC to sew quilts. These are not just ordinary quilts — they are “comfort quilts”, soon to be on their way to children at our Southern border who have endured the heartbreaking separation from their parents that has captivated our news headlines. Continue reading
“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
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 all 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!
May 3, 2018
There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.
Steve McArthur – Peacemaker of the Year
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
The 2018 Summer Fall Quarterly newsletter is now available. It is being mailed to recipients. It also can be downloaded by clicking here.