Good News, 06.20.2013

Friends:

“I shall pass through this world but once.  Any good thing that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now and not defer it, for I will not pass this way again.” (Clinic door plaque for Dr. Rick Hodes at Mother Teresa’s Community in Ethiopia)

Dr. Jan and Pr. Margareta remind us that all the members of Peace are invited to Celebrate their 120th Birthday with a special Jazz at Peace Event on Sunday, June 23 at 5:00 pm.  The Danish jazz violinist Mads Tolling will perform and you will be delighted!  Your presence will heighten their joy.

Compassion – Survival of the Kindest:  Why in our country that consumes 25% of the world’s resources is there an epidemic of loneliness, depression and anxiety?  Why do so many in the West who have all of their basic needs met still feel impoverished?  Politicians might answer, “It’s the economy, stupid,”; based on theological and even scientific evidence, a better answer would be, “It’s the lack of compassion, stupid.”  Recently the Dalai Lama said, “If we say the practice of compassion is something holy, nobody will listen.  If we say, compassion actually reduces your blood pressure, anxiety and stress, and improves your health – then people pay attention….though they may not act on it.”  Compassion is the recognition of another’s suffering and a desire to alleviate that suffering.  Often brushed off as a outdated religious term that is irrelevant in modern society, now even rigorous empirical data supports the view of all major world religions:  compassion is good.

The poverty of the West is not that of the wallet but rather that of social connectedness:  both parents work, family time is decreased, distance from the extended family has increased,  awareness of social needs is diminished, trust and engagement in community is on the decline.  Yet studies at Emory University have demonstrated that regular compassion meditation and practices reduce negative neuroendocrine, inflammatory and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress.  Compassion benefits you and others.  Clearly Survival of the Kindest will lead to the long term survival of our species and planet!  (Dr. James Doty)

We Are All Connected:  The primary goal of this work in support of Dr. Rick Hodes in Ethiopia is to raise the consciousness among the children of our community about the critical needs of other children around the planet.  Thais and Leone want the children in our community to understand that the children of the world are all connected and through working together each of them can make a difference on this planet.  Thanks to our Education and Justice Advocacy Committees who are encouraging this work with our local schools.

Welcome to our New Members Rev. Bob Lesher and Rev. Ruth Lesher.  Aren’t we blessed to have the wisdom, grace and humor of these new friends!

Was wonderful to celebrate with Julia and Mark Laurlund and their whole family last Sunday.  And the Eucharist bread they made…..mmmm – as the scriptures say:  Taste and see that God is good!

Our Website Development Fundraising effort continues.  We hope to meet our goal by the end of June.  Thus far the congregation has raised $4,000 – so we are approximately 2/3 of the way to our goal.  If you have questions please speak with Dabbie.  Checks can be made out to Peace and noted ‘Website’.  Thank you.

Seminary Intern / Prison and Peace: Rev. Donna Duensing from PLTS has confirmed that Peace will share and supervise Seminarian Brock Kolbe with the Chaplaincy at the Federal Prison in Dublin.  Brock’s ministry with us will begin in September.  An Internship Committee will be organized – could be dynamic to have several prisoners on this Committee too.  The Justice Advocacy Committee is working on creating a Prison Visitation Ministry from Peace as well.

Pat Leong will be teaching a Sunday School Class based on “The Fruits of the Spirit” during the summer.  Details to come.

Our Nicaraguan Delegation – John Brett, Libby Flynn and Gary Sponholtz – met for an initial Orientation this week.  They will be journeying in Nicaragua for 2 weeks in August.  More details to come.

Please keep in your prayers:  Those with dementia and their caregivers, Pat, our Graduates, the hungry and disenfranchised in our country, the people of Syria.

George Hepner sends his greetings from Maine.  Son Karl is in the Navy and out at sea; Kathy and Ethan are doing well.  Much love to friends who are missed!

Bread for the World: In the closing minutes of Bread for the World’s 2013 National Gathering, Rep. John Lewis entered a caucus room packed with hundreds of exhausted Bread members who had spent the day walking the halls of Congress, meeting with their lawmakers on behalf of hungry and poor people. The civil rights leader brought them to their feet with a rallying cry: “Continue the fight. Continue the struggle. Never give up until everyone has food.” On Lobby Day, Tuesday, June 11, Bread members engaged legislators or their staff in 199 meetings, telling our stories and those of people in need, urging our leaders to consider the most vulnerable when they cast their votes—and reminding them that we are holding them accountable. Three-quarters of the Senate was visited by Bread members during Lobby Day.  Thanks to your efforts, the farm bill just failed by a vote of 195-234 on the House floor! This farm bill proposal included over $20 billion in cuts to SNAP (formerly food stamps), $2.5 billion in cuts to food aid, and policy changes that would have substantially increased hunger for years to come.  Thank you for your faithfulness in speaking out with and for hungry people.  As we have seen today, when together we raise our voices to Congress with a message anchored in the love of Christ, we can bring good news to hungry and poor people. (Rev. David Beckman)

Blessings,  Pr. Steve