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The mission that drives us . . .
Church Women United, an ecumenical movement of Christian women impassioned by the Holy Spirit, advocates on behalf of women and children throughout the world. We find unity in diversity, and we work for a world of peace and justice.
Church Women United of Lane County supports the National programs, priorities and goals, and celebrations.
Our monthly forums reflect the concerns of participants and explore issues of concern to local and state governments and to the citizens of Lane County,
A word from our President ...
Anne O'Brien, President
Keeping myself informed about justice issues isn’t easy. That’s why the monthly Vine and the Forums help me learn of actions I can take. My membership helps pay the small stipends given our speakers which go directly to their nonprofit. CWU gives me new resources that I can share with my faith community.
Best of all, CWU helps me keep my courage up. I’m in a fellowship that believes that working together we can make changes that help make our society more just.
WELL SAID, CINDY!
Our dues are $25 for the year. Make check to CWU and bring to our forum or send to Donna Cash at PO Box 765, Springfield, OR 97477
A WORD FROM OUR PRESIDENT
I’m devoting this President’s message to the memory of our long time member, Peg Morton, who left us on December 19, 2015.
Peg was a Quaker who lived out her faith. She has been active in peace and justice concerns for most of her life. Her many activities have included League of Women Voters, NAACP, CISCAP, Witness for Peace. She has worked for justice in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba, and Columbia as well as here in the USA
Since coming to our town in 1989 she’s facilitated lots of local actions from coordinating one to two week fasts to raising funds. She was a fixture at the Post Office on Tax Day, educating our community about how much of our taxes go to the military and how to withhold taxes to avoid financing wars.
Peg’s played an important role in the activities of Church Women United for years. She was key in involving CWU in the Ribbon of Hope Project. Many of us made banners and used them on several occasions. A great memory was the night we stretched it across the back and then front of First Christian at the 9-11 service. Also remembered is the day we fasted, stretched the banner in front of the new Federal Building, and then prayed for the people in the building, that God would give them wisdom in the decisions they would be making. Peg was a real peacemaker. She worked at educating legislators, she coordinated silent peace vigils. She put her freedom on the line when she volunteered to be arrested at a vigil at Fort Benning and spent three months in a Federal Prison. She was arrested several times here in Oregon too. She was a brave soul.
It was appropriate that she was the recipient of our highly valued Valiant Women’s Award in 2009 and, oh, did she deserve it. Her importance to the entire community was demonstrated by the huge crowd that attended her Memorial Service on January 16.
How I will miss her warm greeting every time we saw each other. The world will miss you, Peg. You made a real difference. We offer our condolences to your family.
A WORD FROM OUR PRESIDENT
I received an email from Raise the Wage worker Brandon Thompson who also attached an invitation to all to attend the hearing regarding Raise the Wage on January 14th at the State Capital.
He referred us to an article in the Huffington Post by Rabbi Deborah Kolodny and I thought the message was one worthwhile sharing with those, like CWU, who are working toward a world that betters the lives of all of our sisters and brothers.
The Rabbi reminds us that by focusing on the positive we can bring the positive into our lives. It starts with being grateful for what we do have by what she calls a “daily gratitude practice” or by “counting our bless-ings.”
In her invitation to us to join the rally to Raise the Wage on January 14 at the Capital, she suggests we switch from “scarcity consciousness to abundance consciousness” which she believes could create some real change in our world. She asks that we start by feeling and showing real gratitude for minimum wage workers and thereby helping to Raise the Wage for everyone, at least in Oregon. Instead of blaming those we think are responsible for the poverty we see around us, instead of being righteous, we would start celebrating all the contributions that the people who deserve this Living Wage make to our own abundance.
Can you make a list of all the low wage people who help you each day? That could be our caretakers, our grandchildren’s caretakers, our servers as we eat out, the people who keep our buildings clean, the people who help get our packages off to other parts of the world, the people who harvest our crops and process them. We can feel honored by them and we can honor them. As she says, “Their service to the collective is priceless.”
An important fact for Church Women is that two thirds of these people we would celebrate are women, most of them raising families. We can be a part of im-proving their lives and bringing them hope by support-ing this Living Wage.
A WORD FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Shocking (in a good way)
Our own Phyllis Hockley quietly and with a huge amount of energy (and she’s even older than I am) and help from her friends, went about putting on a chili feast at St. Mary Episcopal on October 25. Ended up over 150 bought tickets and all were fed. The object was to raise funds for Community Sup-ported Shelters (communitysupportedshelters.org) which works for legal camping/housing for the un-housed. When Eric de Buhr and his wife Fay told the folks cleaning up in the kitchen how much had been pledged at the dinner, everyone was amazed ( of course, including Phyllis and Len Hockley) In the end over $30,000 was donated to CSS. What a shock!!! Thanks go to many helpers and to Holly Ca-bell from St. Mary who was so convincing in her plea for donations after dinner.
Everyone deserves a home. And National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, the week be-fore Thanksgiving -- Nov. 14-22 this year – is a good time for us to remember that. We know that $30,000 will be a real help to the work of CCS in housing the unhoused.
Social teachings of the Catholic Church teach that safe and decent housing is a basic human right. We all have a moral obligation to help end homeless-ness. Most of us are old enough to remember when there were not groups of homeless people in our streets. Yes, we always had a few folks who “rode the rails” etc. But, we’ve seen a huge decrease in low cost housing solutions in the last 25 or 20 years. Yes, we all have a role in helping end home-lessness.
THANK YOU PHYLLIS AND ALL OF YOUR CO-VOLUNTEERS. In the spirit of the beatitudes: "Blessed are those who help the unhoused, for they shall find a home”
A WORD FROM OUR PRESIDENT
After our wonderful Forum on Fracking and its human rights implications and all that fracking can do to damage our environment I am driven to make some comments about Pope Francis’s Encyclical on the Environment: ”Laudato Si, On Care for Our Common Home” and how CWU can relate to this.
Looking at some of the major points he makes and how that might affect each of us:
Climate change has grave implications. “Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever,” he writes. How do you feel about what kind of legacy we are leaving for our children and grandchildren?
Rich countries are destroying poor ones, and the earth is getting warmer. “The warming caused by huge consumption on the part of some rich countries has repercussions on the poorest areas of the world, especially Africa, where a rise in temperature, together with drought, has proved devastating for farming.” Our speaker Fred Colgan of InStove has seen results of the drought first hand.
Christians have misinterpreted Scripture and “must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.” Many Christians are now seeing that we have not been given dominion over the earth.
The importance of access to safe drinkable water is “a basic and universal human right.” Tom Kerns and Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal are emphasizing the importance of safe drinking water as a basic human right.
Technocratic domination leads to the destruction of nature and the exploitation of people, and “by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion.” The Pope is asking us to put technocratic domination in perspective and reduce the exploitation of people.
I hope that our speakers will continue to inspire us to support activities that can change systems that are likely to cause more damage to our environment and earth’s inhabitants. We on the Board would love to hear from you if you have thoughts about speakers we could invite or activities we should encourage CWU folks to be involved in.
It is always such a joy to witness the warm and spontaneous friendliness that goes on during “fellowship” time at our monthly meetings. It is a very important part of our get togethers. Dwight Lee Wolter has even suggested that “Coffee Hour” is a kind of sacrament. He doesn’t see this as belittling the sacraments but it seems that Coffee Hour is another indicator of communion and belonging. Wolter says that in baptism God comes to us, in communion we come to God, in Cof-fee Hour we come to each other. We share differ-ent bread and a different cup than we do in com-munion and we use different water than we use in baptism. We are touching souls in a different way as we enjoy each other’s company. We appreciate the efforts of our host churches in putting to-gether these fellowship times and we hope you all continue to enjoy these times.
Wolter quotes Matthew 10:42 “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
I hope you have had a restful and pleasant summer. It seems several of my dear friends are dealing with stressful times. I have been thinking about how Christians can cope with stress.
Some would say leave it all to God and He will fix it. I think we need to do our part too. Getting some exercise that fits your health and life style, getting enough rest, proper diet, keeping a balance between work and fun and family, are all good ways to deal with stress.
Lucky Christians have spiritual support too. Start with prayer. Instead of worrying over our problems which makes things worse, we can turn to prayer. This verse in Philippians offers the comforting promise that as we pray, our minds will be protected by a peace that goes beyond our ability to understand.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Another spiritual support is to meditate on the Word of God. The Bible is filled with all kinds of promises from God. Meditating on these words of assurance can help us with our worry, doubt, fear and stress. Here are a few examples of the Bible's stress relieving verses:
2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
"Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."
"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid."
"I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe."
A lot of Christians find stress relief when they praise God. Praise and worship can take our minds and thoughts off ourselves, our problems, and refocus them on God. Suddenly our problems seem small in light of the largeness of God. Music is another way to soothe our souls. Listening to Christian music or other quiet music can be a real antidote to stress. Try it…
I hope you are not feeling stressed but if you are I hope this helps you or someone you know. I’m looking forward to seeing you all at our first Forum on September 4 (our 49th wedding anniversary!) at Unity of the Valley Church.
I’ve already started 2 different messages this month but the prayer that Karla Dawson, our president at St. Jude Women’s Club brought to our end of the season luncheon today just seems to say it all. So, I must share that with you as my message this month.
As a Christian (author unknown)
I will do more than belong, I will participate
I will do more than care, I will help
I will do more than believe, I will live my faith
I will do more than be fair, I will be kind
I will do more than forgive, I will love
I will do more than my job, I will serve.
I will do more than teach, I will enrich.
I will do more than be friendly, I will be a friend
I will do more than live, I will grow.
I hope that is a good description of what we are trying to do in Church Women United. Thank you to all who are continuing to do all of the above and moving me to try to do better.
If you know of a CWU woman or family member who needs a card or a contact because of sickness or other need call Anne O'Brien at 541-554-2646
By Judy Romans
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in soil and water across the globe. It is readily absorbed by many plants into leave,s fruit, and grain.
Recent news articles have publicized the amount of arsenic found in rice, and in apple and grape juice. There is controversy about these studies because there is no government regulation about a safe level of arsenic in food, and experts differ on their opinions of the health effects of long-term exposure. ...
For the rest of Judy's article, please see The November Vine.
Dissent is Patriotic
The right to free speech and the right to assemble are part of our heritage. Yet we read about public areas being taken away and different treatment given different populations, especially our unhoused neighbors.
We are being called to question police and county actions. Follow reports in the press. Be prepared to speak before our City Council and County Commissioners.
Why We're Active in Church Women United
We have been taking a look at current members' comments on why they are active in CWU Lane County. Here are some more, and you may find them inspiring!
One member noted that "the meetings are worthwhile--forums are excellent, celebrations also."
"The people are so interesting, a circle of friends from many churches. And I love the hugs!
Another says, "I appreciate the work for peace and justice. I enjoy meeting women from other churches, and being in a variety of worship settings."
A longtime member adds: "I've been involved in various CWU groups throughout my adult life. I love meeting and knowing other church women who are involved in peace and social justice work."
More insights coming soon!