Wednesday, December 12, 2007
See links to peace related events for
Peace Tree Wishes
At the urgent suggestion of a fellow congregant, the Peacemaking Council agreed to join Yoko Ono’s
After the holidays, a photograph of the peace tree, along with the writings, will be collected and mailed to join others in
The Peacemaking Council has been more active than this blog site would attest.
Attorney Dave Salinsky conducted a mediation workshop on May 19th, focusing on family conflicts and settlements. Mr. Salinsky is a 1984 graduate of Tulane University School of Law in
Immediately following the mediation workshop, the Peacemaking group began planning for the third event. The second peace vigil, held October 7, 2007, was part of a larger Unitarian Universalist faith event. It was followed by a day of fasting for peace.
The vigil was held in the Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church sanctuary. That evening, the sanctuary lighting was kept dim to strengthen the simplicity of the vigil. Dove cut-outs taped to the partition behind the podium, a series of flags with the word “peace” depicted in various languages, and a larger peace flag were position about the church. A small table that is usually home to service flowers was position before the podium. Following UU Reverend Matt Tittle’s homily and lighting of the chalice, candles placed on the table were lit: one each for the
While the first vigil was held for peace, this event focused on ending the war in
Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation was read. Written in 1870 as a call for peace, it is relevant today, and reads in part:
Say firmly, ‘We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be to tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, ‘Disarm, Disarm!’ The sword of murder is not the balance of justice! Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
Numbers current to that evening of those who died or wounded were sited. As of that evening, there were more than 3800 United States fatalities and 28,000 wounded. There were at least 75,000 Iraqi civilians killed although one study claimed that number was more than 600,000. Over a million Iraqis have fled their home country while many do not have enough drinking water or electricity. Iraqi unemployment is soaring. As of October 2007, the cost of the war in
These somber statistics were followed by a presentation of Bringing the War Home On the Road with Eyes Wide Open. The DVD film, produced by American Friends Service Committee, features a pair of boots honoring each
Those attending were invited to fast for peace the following day. “Just as Isaiah called the People of Israel to hear the Yom Kippur fast as a call to feed the hungry, just as Jesus fasted in the wilderness, just as Christians through Lenten fasting and Muslims through Ramadan fasting have focused on spiritual transformation, just as Mahatma Gandhi, Cesar Chavez and others drew on fasting to change the course of history, so we cal on all our communities of faith to draw now on fasting as a path toward inner spiritual transformation and outward social transformation.” Those attending then broke bread together as a “sign of our commitment to work together for peace and an end to violence. This shared bread will be a sign of our covenant with one another as individuals and as communities to stand against the war in
Rev. Tittle closed the evening with a prayer for peace. Vigil events were interspersed with singing, lead by “Just Us.” They included Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream, Where Have All the Flowers Gone and ending with Blowin’ in the Wind
Before leaving, those attending were invited to sign either or both of two petitions. One was a petition the Unitarian Universalist Association provided to congregations. President Sinkford would take signed petitions to President Bush within a few days of the event. A second petition, “Nine-Point Comprehensive Peace Plan for
Links to Peace:
The following are a few web sites for local,
Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, www.imgh.org
South Texas Alliance for Peace and Jusice, www.stpeace.org
KPFT’s Calendar for the Houston Peace and Justice Center, http://houston.kpf.org
The Blast lists the following as regular
Ø Live Oak Friends
Ø Department of Peace Campaign-Houston Chapter’s Second Saturday Walking Medication for Peace. Contact Carondelet Dember, 713-522-7279.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
When a few members or our church met in September 2006 first met for a Peace Making meeting, we agreed we wanted to take action for rather than talk peace to death. We are members of the Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church (BAUUC), Clear Lake/Houston, TX and UU members are known for discussing any topic – very thoroughly.
Several members have long been active in peace movements, attending rallies and holding signs over busy
People were given the opportunity to call out names of those they knew, that have been touched by the horrors of war. One of the Peacemaking group members created a emotionally moving and thought provoking slideshow of
We met again in January and further outlined what we would like to accomplish as a group. Suggestions included showing relevant films at a progressive film forum held Thursday evenings at the church. We discussed finding a professional mediator who could address conflict resolution. Another member is making arrangements with a local mediator to schedule for a spring meeting.
On February 22nd our congregation sponsored a production of The Vagina Monologues with congregant members giving voice to this powerful, provocative drama. A flyer inside the program explains, “V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of playwright/founder Eve Ensler’s awared winning play The Vagina Monologues.” V-Day is an organized response against violence toward women. All proceeds from the performance were given to Bridge Over Troubled Waters, a shelter for abused women. BAUUC received many calls following the performance, thanking us for making this available, giving testimony to the difference it made to many audience members. We are proud to be a congregation that is willing to make an uncomfortable decision, supporting an uncomfortable production, provoking uncomfortable realizations that we hope creates change within individuals and our community.
Suggestions at subsequent meetings include requesting a section of the church library for books and films related to peace. One member has been in contact with Diane Wilson, author of An Unreasonable Woman and founder of Code Pink toward inviting her to give a church sermon and weekend workshop regarding her work.
Our group keeps a calendar of peace-related events, both grassroots and organized, in the
Friday, May 4, 2007
Here is a link to the Houston Peace and Justice Center site. It has news about peace related groups and activities in the Houston area. The Local Events Calendar is located on the left menu bar under Highlights.