Love

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For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”~Carl Sagan

Dear friends,
Each of us has a choice about the way we see the world. We can see the turmoil and look for blame, for enemies. Or we can see beyond that to ask the causes and to seek out the solutions. Why do those we call enemies do what they do? Can we change the narrative from blame and evil to understanding and compassion? I think we can. But it is not easy because everything in our world teaches us to think in terms of a war narrative of blame and evil instead of the peace narrative — winning and losing instead of cooperating and collaborating. However, I believe we can be the change. In times of fear and panic, we can be a force of calm. We can be safety for those who are trembling or the voice of reason for those who question. We can comfort the oppressed and be compassion to those who suffer. Let’s all practice looking first for the things we can do and understand instead of looking first for those to blame and attack. Together we can change the narrative.

PS, at long last, our new database is up and running. At long last, this will be our last newsletter in this format. Next week we will send it from our new database. This should solve many of the problems you all have had viewing this on your phone, etc. But as with any transition, there will be issues to work on. So please let us know if you don’t get next week’s e-news or if you have any problems viewing it. We are grateful to all of you for your support, for staying in touch with us and for helping to make this transition possible…Betsy

 

House is on Fire

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“I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” ~Greta Thunberg, 16, Swedish activist

Dear friends,
Were you at Downtown Tonight last week? If so you saw the Student action to declare a climate emergency.  Michelle Obama once sad that “grief and resilience live together”. Nowhere could that resonate more than in conversations about the climate, the planet we live on. As we watch the horrors in Indonesia and the Amazon, we have to grieve. But we must also reach down and find our will to go forward with what is possible not only what is wrong. JRPC has been meeting with several group in town to organize actions around the global climate strike being held around the world. We are all being asked to strike for the planet on Friday, September 20, to leave work or school, to give our employees the day to leave and go to rallies and actions aimed at finding that resilience and will to act. You can check out all the activities being planned for the week at the Global Climate Strike website. Students from Hellgate, Big Sky, Sentinel, Willard, Loyola, University of Montana, Missoula College and young adults from across Missoula inspired by Greta Thunberg, are also working on a plan to strike for the planet. They have asked us all to sign a pledge for the planet. Now is the time to ask ourselves what we will do to save our planet…Betsy

 

Peacemakers

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Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience. ~Thomas Merton

Dear friends,
Look around you at the heroes in your life. 33 years of Missoula Peacemakers have inspired us with their courage and commitment and strengthened our peace community. Each fall, we ask you to look around you and nominate someone (or some group) to be considered for this prestigious award given each spring by the JRPC and the Missoula Peace Quilters. Who inspires you? Who has a story that needs to be told, and a message that will call others to act? We are looking for that special person or group who consistently makes a professional and/or personal commitment to “walk the walk” of nonviolence, social justice and sustainability and serves as a role model for this community. We particularly want to find and honor the “unsung” among us. A selection committee made up of Missoula Peace Quilters and JRPC Coordinating Council members will have the difficult task of choosing from among the nominations received – a selection that is never easy. This year, the deadline for nominations is October 15, so don’t delay. Make a contribution to peacemaking by honoring someone who inspires you. The nomination form is available on our website or contact us for a paper copy. We’ll be waiting to be inspired yet again…Betsy

Walk in the Light

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“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear friends,
An 1868 US-Sioux Treaty granted the tribe the Black Hills of South Dakota in exchange for peace. Eight years later, the US passed a law taking that land away because gold was discovered there. Four hundred years ago this month, the first enslaved Africans arrived on the shores of Virginia aboard a Dutch ship. Hold these people in mind as we hear the stories from concentration camps along our border. So many opportunities we have had to learn to choose generosity and altruism over selfishness and hatred. And so many times we’ve failed to do so. Peace knows neither color nor border. Recently in my own life, a neighbor asked us for a favor. And I, living on land stolen from indigenous people with all the privilege of my race and color had the opportunity to choose generosity over selfishness. It won’t undo any wrong, but hopefully it will teach me to walk that way…Betsy

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

“Action is the antidote to despair.” Joan Baez

“Action is the antidote to despair.” ~Joan Baez

Dear friends,
This week has been far from peaceful. We have seen several horrifying examples of the devastation that comes from division and hatred. Despair must be the first thing our minds go to — despair that we have failed to reign in the awful violence of too many guns; despair that people can be filled with so much hatred; despair that people of color are not safe in our midst; and despair that “isms” such as racism and nationalism seem more important that humanity and compassion. So it is ok to spend some time in Continue reading