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An FCNL Intern Returns to the Peace Colloquy

November 5, 2010

These are the things that you should do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace, do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, says the LORD.   Zechariah 8:16-17

I am not a Quaker, but a member of the Community of Christ. Our Temple in Independence, Missouri was dedicated in 1994 to the pursuit of peace. Part of the ministry of the Community of Christ is the Peace Colloquy, an annual event with worship, workshops, keynotes and fellowship centered on peace and justice issues. Independence is my hometown, and growing up and in college, I had the privilege to attend many Peace Colloquies. I am very proud that the Community of Christ chooses to honor so many fascinating people working at the forefront of peace and justice, and thrilled that our presentation of the International Peace Award brings them to Independence to speak. My favorites from the past few years have been  Greg Mortenson (this year,) Jane Goodall, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Craig Kielburger, and Halima Bashir. These voices have profoundly shaped my worldview and are probably part of the reason why I am at FCNL today.

I was very pleased when I found out that I would have the opportunity to present at this year’s Peace Colloquy. The theme this year was: Children Cry; We Respond. Other presenters spoke about topics like bullying, children in worship and child trafficking. I work on federal budget priorities, and sometimes when I lead with that, people’s eyes start to glaze over. So this weekend, it was my challenge to communicate the importance of the budget and getting involved in lobbying on national legislation to lay people who work on very specific projects or communities.

I prepared a presentation on how people could advocate for children in national legislation and how federal programs affect children in poverty. I was anticipating a maximum of twenty people to attend, and was blown away when there were fifty! My assumptions were completely wrong. I found that the people who attended my workshop, as well as those that I spoke to throughout the weekend, were very concerned about the loss and potential loss of funding for federal programs that affect children. I found that they were mostly unfamiliar with ways that they could be advocates for the children in their lives, but desperately wanted to learn. For me it was very heartening, inspirational even, to see in the audience people so much older than me, (especially those who had known me as a child,) listening with rapt attention, asking questions and taking notes. I felt honored to be able to give them some insight and power to work for the children they cared for.

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