"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."
"The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker." Albert Einstein
Last night, I fell asleep watching TV, only to awaken as President Obama gave a speech that our enemy, Osama bin Laden, is dead and justice has been done. Obama ‘succeeded’ in a few years, where Bush did not. Much of the world is rejoicing, praising those brave Navy Seals, and other joint forces, who completed a 10-year mission.
Osama bin Laden is dead, but there will be repercussions. The movement is not dead; the hatred of the west and America still exists. I realize the dangers of bringing Osama bin Laden to the US for trial prevented that as a viable option, but it would have been more human and humane.
People forget the US/CIA befriended Osama Bin Laden when the Soviets attacked Afghanistan, by providing weapons and training for his freedom fighters. When the US cut their losses & walked away, bin Laden watched his troops struggle, die and never forgave his former friend – America. He demonstrated his hatred of us by embassy bombings and other acts of terror. Attacking US soil on 9/11 was horrifying: it was the result of hatred brewing over years.
Gandhi said if we take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and an arm for an arm, before long we will have a nation that is sightless, toothless and limbless.
As many celebrate, I find tears in my eyes. After all, with this assassination, alerts for Americans abroad are heightened. We are not safer than we were before bin Laden’s death. Remember - violence begets violence. Rather than rejoicing, I pray for peace.
"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction."Bill Gates
With the earthquake in Haiti only four weeks in the past and news channels focused on other current events, the situation in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas remains dire.
As the poorest country in the western hemisphere and only 700 miles from America’s border, Haiti’s history is one of political turmoil and devastating natural disasters. In the past few years, 4 major hurricanes brought over a million refugees from the rural communities into the city hoping for work. Although record donations help bring emergency relief to the 3 million victims of this catastrophic disaster, many needs remain unfulfilled.
“Right now they are concerned with the medical treatment for the worst of the old and the young. So many hospitals collapsed. People survived the earthquake and are still dying because there’s not enough help,” said Gessie Gelin, a Haitian Living in central Maine. “There’s not enough tents for everyone, but day-by-day, things are coming in. China’s been a big help.”
With the Haitian government in shambles, many agencies find it difficult to deliver aid to the world’s neediest people. Since government approval means delays, donated containers of food, clothes and shelters potentially sit at port, rotting in the tropical heat.
Several charities, including Christian denominations and Jewish World Service, work with the United Nations (and Red Cross) to pool resources and purchase necessary shelters, food, water and medications at reduced prices so a greater number receives aid.
The Roman Catholic Church has a rich history in Haiti, spanning several centuries. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has people on the ground in Haiti working to distribute emergency aid, even though the Haitian Archbishop and many priests died in the earthquake.
“It calls us to understand that nature happens. We need to respond with love and understanding. We’re working with Catholic Relief Services and the Diocese of Maine. You can put a special envelope in the basket for Haiti or write a check,” said the Rev. Phil Tracy, pastor of the Corpus Christi Parish in central Maine. His concern is for the immediate relief and spiritual needs in Haiti as well as for eventually building a strong and educated future for Haitians. All money donated for Haitian relief in the parish will go to CRS.
The Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) are also present in Haiti, supplying tents as well as other aid. Donate to ERD on-line, through any Episcopal church or through the Diocese, with 100% of your donation going to people in need.
When helicopters with UMCOR rescued people from the tops of buildings in New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina, many thought it was a Marine reserve unit. However, UMCOR stands for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Donate to UMCOR, for Haiti, with 100% of your donation going to people in need, at any Methodist church.
Just 5 minutes before the quake, Rev. Sam Dixon and Rev. Clint Rabb, UMCOR leaders, walked into the lobby of the Hotel Montana in Port-Au-Prince to discuss serious problems with health care in Haiti. Although rescued, they died of injuries. As people around the world mourn their loss, Methodists hurry to put together health kits to aid Haitians.
These simple kits (find complete list on the UMCOR website), consisting of a comb, washcloth, hand towel, nail file, Band-Aids, toothbrush, etc., help restore a small bit of dignity to disaster victims. Contact your local Methodist church to see if your youth group or school can help gather these items.
Come across religious differences and help our neighbor through one of these organizations, or donate to UNICEF or the Red Cross for immediate aid. Check out Charity Navigator - Your Guide to Intelligent Giving. to learn about charities. In the coming months and years, you can help to rebuild a sustainable Haiti. For now, lives need saving.
Sunday, February 07, 2010 Sunday, February 7, 2010 "People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society." Vince Lombardi
Although I have not posted in several months, I stay focused on Standing Up for the world's neediest people. After Stand Up last October, I had to concentrate on other writing as well as getting ready for an early winter, after having a late spring, short summer and fall. Before I knew it, I had several bouts of flu, draining my energy beyond belief.
However, On January 12, as people around the world looked on in horror, the eathquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti caused a catastrophe of biblical proportions. Already the poorest country in the western hemisphere, now homes, schools, businesses, churches and the seat of government lay in rubble with countless victims buried beneath.
Having grown up in the US Virgin Islands, I felt as if a neighbor's house was burning down - with them in it - and all I had was a jug of water and a cup to put it out.
I wrote the poem to express my thoughts, after speaking with a Haitian friend. Her brother returned to Haiti a few months ago to help family members. She finally reached him a few days after the earthquake and she asked what she could do.
He said, "Pray for us."
Haiti - What Can I Do?
Haiti – What can I do? Your people had so little No jobs or food – just trouble Now cries lessen beneath rubble Of their battered, shattered homes
Haiti – What can I do? They dig with spoons and fingers Finding life in living graves Only to die - no meds to save Their battered, shattered bodies
Haiti – What can I do? Flocking to find tent cities Singing in your camps at night Praying for hope to dispel fright Uplifts battered, shattered souls
Haiti – What can I do? No passage on broken roads People running out of time No water, food or meds – a crime For battered, shattered masses
Haiti – What can I do? Frantic calls to Haitian friends As I watch the death-toll rise And I listen to the cries Of battered, shattered Haitians
Haiti – I pray for you.
This poem is protected by copyright.
Five days into the horrific aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, getting help and supplies to those in need is close to impossible.
With a breakdown in infastructure, supplies sit in staging locations, with few deliveries. People saved from their ordeal of being buried alive for hours and days, die due to lack of medical attention.
Antibiotics, costing about 5 cents a dose, cannot be found. Bandages, pain medication and ointments are also in short supply.
With the focus on Port-au-Prince, outlying areas are reportedly in ruins, with no help in sight.
Prior to the earthquake, nearly 50% of the Haitian people have no work, and 70% live on less than 2 dollars per day.
Friday, October 09, 2009 Friday, October 9, 2009 "At a certain point, I just felt, you know, God is not looking for alms, God is looking for action." Bono
With only a week to go, the Millennium Campaign still has a few glitches in their program to post events. The NEIDEEP event in Fairfield, Maine is in the USA, not Canada - some little gremlin keeps changing that fact!!!
The Campaign will work on this problem - it must be hard to have a program to work properly for over 180 countries. I list the event as Fairfield, Maine, and yet the program drops the state name!
Just keep checking here for details and updates through this next week. I will post detailed directions, too.
With less than two weeks to go, Stand Up plans - here in Central Maine - are coming together.
Jan Schrock - who just retired as the senior advisor to Heifer International and also the daughter of Dan West, founder of Heifer - joins us again this year. With her, she brings a lifetime of experience and wisdom of building sustainable communities, and the special knowledge of the role of women in ending poverty.
The Native American community joins us this year, which is essential to healing the earth and bringing all people together as one. Yesterday, I attended a moving ceremony in the pouring rain, on the shores of the Kennebec River. Performed by Grandmother Snowy Owl (a Cherokee), an ancient prayer - said over a wooden bowl of water - called on Mother Earth to help cleanse the earth, by first cleansing the water. As part of the ceremony, Snowy Owl then poured the sacred water into the river.
Speaking to her afterwards, Snowy Owl said this prayer was to be shared by women who had known difficult times because they were the ones who could understand the pain of others and experience the most joy - they could help to heal the earth and its people.
Kahlil Gibran said the deeper sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. How fascinating that a Lebanese philosopher and a Cherokee Elder would share similar thoughts.
Join us on October 17 - check this blog for more details, directions and updates about this event and more about Stand Up.
At Fairfield United Methodist Church, on Rt. 201 in Fairfield - exit 133 off I-95
Join NEIDEEP on Saturday, October 17 at 10am for an Interfaith Service, followed by a simple, vegetarian potluck meal and discussions
Guest speakers focus on the effects of women living in poverty locally, nationally and globally.
Health and prenatal care as well as infant mortality, education and gender equality are discussion topics.
Last year, close to 117 million people took part in this global event - nearly triple the 43 million who participated in 2007. During the first year of Stand Up in 2006, 23.5 million stood up in support of the world’s neediest people.
As global numbers rise each year participants in America decline. A Haitian friend said those in the worst circumstances feel hope when they know the world has not forgotten their plight. The hope is for their children.
The event is free.
Did you know…
500,000 women die in childbirth each year
Every 3 seconds a child dies from poverty – a holocaust every year
Nearly 2/3 of the children with no access to primary education are female
Together, we can make poverty history. Join millions worldwide to 'STAND UP and TAKE ACTION' today!
Monday, July 13, 2009 Monday, July 13, 2009 "For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today."African Proverb
Since sleep seems to be out of the picture tonight, I decided to tear up the web.
I just finished reading part of Bono's New York Times Op-Ed piece on the ONE website about Obama's speech in Ghana. I copied that part here as I am not a member of the NYT free site. (I already have too many accounts around the world and love to read the hard copy of that paper!)
Bono wrote: No one’s leaked me a copy of the president’s speech in Ghana, but it’s pretty clear he’s going to focus not on the problems that afflict the continent but on the opportunities of an Africa on the rise. If that’s what he does, the biggest cheers will come from members of the growing African middle class, who are fed up with being patronized and hearing the song of their majestic continent in a minor key.
I’ve played that tune. I’ve talked of tragedy, of emergency. And it is an emergency when almost 2,000 children in Africa a day die of a mosquito bite; this kind of hemorrhaging of human capital is not something we can accept as normal.
But as the example of Ghana makes clear, that’s only one chord. Amid poverty and disease are opportunities for investment and growth — investment and growth that won’t eliminate overnight the need for assistance, much as we and Africans yearn for it to end, but that in time can build roads, schools and power grids and propel commerce to the point where aid is replaced by trade pacts, business deals and home-grown income.Read Bono’s full Op-Ed on the New York Times website.
It is important to remember - especially in these dark economic times - that hope does exist. With every child that goes to bed with a mosquito net and a full stomach, drinks clean drinking water and receives an education, the world becomes a tiny bit better.
I tend to focus on the darkness and tragedy, but it is always balanced with light. As I look at the dire circumstances around the globe, I see my neighbors losing jobs and farmers losing crops due to the many weeks of heavy rain here in Maine. Sometimes the weight on my soul just feels too heavy. But then I hear of success or joy touching someone I know or a stranger in a far land, and I feel a spark of light again. With that spark, my energy increases and I feel rays of hope.
I suspect Obama's going remind us to look forward a lot during the next few years and I am relieved that we have a president who understands the needs of the developing nations.
173,045,325 People Stood Up & Took Action Against Poverty Worldwide
between Oct. 16 - 18, 2009!
They gathered at over 3,000 events in more than 120 countries.
116,993,629 People Stood Up & Took Action Against Poverty Worldwide
between Oct. 17 - 19, 2008!
That is almost 2% of the
total world population!
43,716,440 People Stood Up Against Poverty
Worldwide between Oct. 16 & 17, 2007! Were You One of Them?
23,542,614 People Stood Up Against Poverty
Worldwide on Oct. 15, 2006! Bless Them All!
"Be the Change You Want to See In the World." Gandhi
Send Me Your Events!!! October 17, 2009 NEIDEEP Interfaith Service & Conference
at Fairfield United Methodist Church, 10am to 2pm, including potluck lunch
Join people of all faiths
Discover the role of women in
ending local & global poverty
Location - FUMC, 33 Rt. 201, Fairfield, Maine
Just off I-95, Exit 133
This event is in conjunction with
Stand Up & is Free
The Rev. Dr. Paige Blair Episcopal Priest & Bonnie N. Davis
First NEIDEEP Conference
Our First Meeting took place in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA on 2/21/06.
The day began with an Interfaith Service.
Sister True Virtue, who at the time was the Abbess of the Green Mountain Dharma Center, teaching in the tradition of
Thich Nhat Hanh's Order of Interbeing, led a meditation, centering & grounding
the more than 80 participants for the rest of the day.
Local Christians including The Rev. Dr. Paige of St. George's Episcopal Chuch (York Harbor), Pastor Sharon Miesel of
York-Ogunquit United Methodist Church (UMC)
& Pastor Sue Kingman of Sanford Unitarian Universalist Church (UUC) also took part in the Interfaith Service.
Iman Ibrahim Sayer, Boston Dialogue Foundation, did a transforming reading from the Koran in Arabic.
Rabbi David Mark, Temple Israel in Portsmouth, blew the Shofar,
made from Ram's Horn, reminding us that it is made from the same material as our fingernails &
that the work before us must be done with our hands.
The Rt. Rev. Peter Weaver, presiding bishop of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church (NEUMC)was also
serving the Worldwide head the United Methodist's at the time of the conference. He spoke about trips to Africa, meeting with
religious leaders to speak with President Bush, & attending the Transatlantic Forum on Global Poverty in London prior to the 2005 G8 Summit.
Jan Schrock, Senior Advisor of Heifer International at the time, is the daughter of
Dan West, Heifer's founder, spoke about Heifer's interaction with communities, helping them plan their futures.
Lallie Lloyd, Episcopalian's for Global Reconciliation (E4GR), spoke about her book -
"Eradicating Global Poverty - A Christian Study Guide on the MDG."
Margaret Udahogora, of Rwanda, spoke about educating orphans from her country, also
reminding us of Africa's beauty. Suzanne Bowman,
talked about BeadforLife - Ugandan women (many HIV/AIDS positive) making beads and jewelry for two years and now
supporting 170 families.
NAACP, Salvation Army and United Way attended as guests with clergy and
other participants. Program stressed MDG, trade issues, & activisim.
Millennium Campaign Pledge & ONE Declaration were signed - "No Excuses" White Wristbands were handed out with
resource guides. By setting the example of working together across potitical, cultural, spiritual & religious boundaries,
we can make an amazing difference.
Interfaith Communities Can Heal the World!
A second round of NEIDEEP is planned for October 2008.
Activating New England will make a difference in ending extreme poverty. After all, we hosted a memorable
tea party that changed the course of history.
In a world where so many go hungry,
Let us make the fruits of creation available for all.
In a world where one billion of our brothers and sisters do not have safe drinking water,
Let us help the waters run clear.
In a world where so many die so young,
And so many mothers die in childbirth,
And so many families are ravaged by disease,
Let us bring health and healing.
In a world where women carry such heavy burdens,
Let us recognize and restore the rights of all.
Let us join together, with a new sense of global community,
A new awareness of our need for one another,
And for this fragile planet,
To meet the clear challenge of the Millennium Goals,
To bring hope as substantial as bread,
To make human dignity as visible as wheat in the fields.
Special thanks to The Rev. Mike Kinman for his assistance on how to set up a cool blog!