PACE May 2018

PineRidgeSignAn Intergenerational Service Trip for KMUCC youth, and adults who love them.

I am very pleased and excited to announce that at our first planning meeting we chose a destination for our 2019 service-learning trip: “Re-Member,” an organization on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. I encourage you to visit the Re-Member website.

There are many organizations that host folks who want to travel and volunteer. Some cater to those interested in doing “short term mission trips” which combine hands-on service with evangelizing. Others simply offer travelers a way to add meaning and compassion to a vacation.

While there are positive aspects to both of those models, we’ve chosen an organization that offers another way:

  • There will be many hours of satisfying volunteer work -- work that makes a real contribution to people’s lives: building bunk-beds, adding insulating skirting to trailer homes, building wheel-chair ramps, installing outhouses, working in community gardens.
  • There will be opportunities to spend money to support the local economy. 

But perhaps most important of all, there will be opportunities to connect with Lakota people and to learn about their history, culture, and spirituality. We’ll tour the reservation and have our hearts cracked open by the ways that poverty threatens to obscure the beauty and resilience of the place and the people.

And when we return we’ll bring Pine Ridge and its people with us in our hearts and minds, to inform the way we think, act, advocate, and pray.

At our next planning meeting, 11:30 Sunday, May 13, we’ll choose our travel dates and create a calendar of fundraisers. While there is a lower age limit of 12 years, there is no upper age limit. On Pine Ridge the wisdom of the elders is honored and prioritized. Join us!

ACT DelegatesThe “A.C.T. - Awaken, Confront, Transform - to End Racism Rally,” drew clergy, laypeople and peace advocates from diverse races, creeds and faith tradition to Washington DC last month. Our own Joanie McClellan, of the CPC's Justice & Witness Team, attended on behalf of our conference. The event was sponsored by the National Council of Churches, Sojourners and many other organizations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination on April 4, 1968. There were various activities scheduled along with an amazing ecumenical worship service at the St Sophia Cathedral on Tuesday evening and the ACT NOW! Rally on the Mall, the next day, where stages were set with the (real) Capitol as background and featured such celebrity speakers and singers as Danny Glover and gospel singer Yolanda Adams. Joanie met activists "Ben and Jerry" (ice cream, of course) and author of "Dear White Christians" Jennifer Harvey, after they addressed the crowd. The ACT NOW! events culminated with visits to Congress by hundreds of participants, on Thursday as the assembled group prepared to leave. Much more to report as we continue with actions and activities to finally end racism.

(Photo of Joanie and other UCC women participants.)

Photo: (c) iStock.com / Yobro10 (Image ID 97999271)The suggestions for this month are books which offer insights into two of the bigger issues facing our city and country…poverty and homelessness and the recurring police shootings of black men. If you haven’t read these books yet, they are very powerful and thought provoking.

The first one is “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond which won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2017. The author spent a year living in the poorest parts of Milwaukee, WI following the lives of 8 families caught in the affordable housing crisis. He gives you a firsthand look into the lives of the very poor and of the hopelessness and stress that they encounter daily.

The second book is “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. The story is told through the eyes of a 16 year old African American girl, Starr, who lives in a poor black neighborhood, but attends an affluent white school miles away. The uneasy balance between her two worlds is upended when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend by the police. As Starr struggles to understand what has happened, the author skillfully presents all sides of this issue through the other voices in the book. The audio book, which is available at the library, is a performance more than a reading and is extremely well done.

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