Necessary, Possible, Impossible

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“Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible,
and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~Francis of Assisi

Dear friends,
The first day of spring…an end and a beginning, the edge of death and rebirth. I don’t springthink any other season holds so much promise and hope for renewal. We clean our houses, buy new clothes, admire the budding new birth around us and refresh our spiritual life. Marveling at the ability of buttercups to push through the snow and shine always reminds me that I too can push through adversity and the world will renew itself. Seeing the tragedies and injustices of our world sometimes makes it hard to believe in renewal and keep hoping. Continue reading

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

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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

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“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

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“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

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“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

Healing the Soul of America

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“Just as there is a so-called art of waging war, there is also an art of waging peace. We need to declare peace now, with as much serious effort and intention as that with which a nation declares war.” – Marianne Williamson

Dear friends,
The quote above comes from the book ” Healing the Soul of America ” by Marianne HealingWilliamson, which Betsy recently recommended to me. It was one of those moments in life that something is given to you at exactly the right moment. Personal tragedy and other instances of life’s unpredictability had severely distracted me from the civic duty that I had been an active participant in for most of my life. I could feel tensions rising around me in family and friend circles, I could see it happening in news headlines and my social media feeds 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

A Tree Without Roots

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“A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture
is like a tree without roots.” ~Marcus Garvey

Dear friends,
Our un-conference last June, “Seeing the Elephant” brought together many differentworkshop folks from our community to participate in conversation, debate and reflection around the question “Does my world look different from yours? One of the most engaging conversations was Dr. Udo Fluck session around “cultural identity” and it has continued to interest many in the months since. At their request, Dr. Udo Fluck and I are teaming up to offer a follow-up event that would have “cultural identity” as its central topic for presentations, 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