Consider going to Pax Christi's annual National Catholic Conference on Peacemaking in Chicago this summer! Pat and I went last year, and it was a very good experience that has continued to reap benefits throughout this past year:
It was there that we met the folks from Just Haiti, and we have since begun a lovely relationship distributing fair trade coffee from Haiti.
It was there that we met the folks from the Michigan Peace Team. We invited them to our place in December for an all-day nonviolence training workshop.
It wast here that I first heard John Dear in person and have been transformed by his and Pax Christi's message of nonviolence: Never has violence solved a problem in any sort of long-term way. Only by breaking our absolute addiction to violence do we have any chance of solving the problems of injustice. I decided to take the Vow of Nonviolence and felt transformed.
Bishop Leroy Matthiesen won the 2009 Teacher of Peace award, and we heard him speak about his daring work in opposition to nuclear weapons.
We also picked up a number of hard-to-find books, DVD's and other materials on peacemaking. There were speakers on many issues and justice groups of all types representated.
Last but certainly not least, it was there that we made good contacts with the folks from the national office and have since begun our own chapter of Pax Christi right here in Columbus!
An added bonus is that Pat and I were the guests of Su Casa Catholic Worker and got a chance to tour their facility while we stayed there.
While Pax Christi is the international Catholic peace movement, there were representatives from many denominations, such as the Soujourners community, Mennonites, to name a couple. The peace movement is one of the most truly ecumenical experiences you may have.
With all that in mind, consider going to the conference this year! I'm sure there will be quite a bit of attention on Immigration Reform in light of the recent Arizona law, as well as our too-easily-forgotten international wars. Eric LeCompte (one of the speakers) is the former national organizer for the School of Americas Watch (SOAW), so I anticipate quite a bit of attention on SOA this year.
Click here for detailed information on the conference. You can register though that link, as well.
Maybe we can get a few of us to carpool . . . ?
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From the Pax Christi facebook page:
This year's theme: Know Justice, Know Peace: Ending War at Home and Abroad and includes speakers Rev. Bryan Massingale, Jeremy Scahill, Elena Segura, Jack Jezreel, Sr. Dianna Ortiz, Dr. Megan McKenna, Rev. Joseph Brown, Eric LeCompte, Brigitte Gynther, Adrienne Alexander, Joe Grant, members of the Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team, and more. Special award recognition for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).
Start Time: Friday, July 16, 2010 at 3:00pm
End Time: Sunday, July 18, 2010 at 1:00pm
Location: Rosemont Hotel O'Hare, Chicago
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I left the conference last year impressed with the speakers but unsure whether the event had any long-term impact on me. Reflecting on the past year, it is clear that going to that conference really bore quite a bit of fruit! Like all things that are substantial, it just needed time to incubate and percolate before it could reciprocate.