Campaign Nonviolence Organizer Catherine Kreuter in Salt Lake City, Utah sent us this note recently about her experience of the CNV Action they planned during Campaign Nonviolence Week September 2014 which focused on ending nuclear weapons. Before their action, they began their organizing with an Engage Study Group as she indicates below. You can see more photos on the previous blog we posted about their action here. If you are interested in planning a 2015 CNV Action September 20-27, 2015, let us know here.
Jane Baker and I have begun a study group, using the Campaign Nonviolence 12 session workbook called ENGAGE. I am very interested in learning more about this program to see if I might be comfortable offering it to the SLC public school community education program or my parish, St. Ambrose.
Our 9/26 Beat the Bombs event was a marvelous success, more so than in the numbers attending. All involved in the planning spent many hours putting together a fabulous program and making posters and banners, displays, invitations. Unfortunately, the week prior to the event indicated rain that Friday evening. Unless you were as passionate as those of us planning the event, I doubt the prospect of wet grass, umbrellas, etc. would be appealing.
Many of us got to the park a couple of hours early to hang posters and banners and to set up displays. About 20 minutes before the program was to begin, when everything was looking fine, a fierce wind arose. It blew down all the things we had so enthusiastically and carefully displayed. Surprisingly the drummers and their friends (which by themselves numbered about 40 people—the total number of attendees reported by the S.L. Tribune) did not immediately leave. At 6PM the wind STOPPED!
So we ran about, quickly rehanging posters and banners, hurriedly re-displaying things as best we could. And then the drumming began. The tree leaves still— no wind—and a glorious, joyful sound from the drums beat a happy pulse. Jane had brought 4 early elementary school age refugee children from St. Ambrose for the occasion. They began hopping around. The wonderful African woman began dancing up close to the drummers. Susan Soleil ventured out to join her in dancing. When I saw them, I could not resist dancing too. The children not only danced, they did cartwheels across the dance floor (concrete slab). This went on so long that all the hesitant dancers had time to think about it and join us. It was so much wonderful fun!
THREE groups of drummers performed, and we were happy to have Sugarhouse walkers and joggers stop by to see what was going on. By the end of the scheduled time (8PM) drummers were collecting their UCAN (Utah Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) peace-dove t-shirts. (The t-shirts were thank you gifts from UCAN.) Suddenly, just as fast as the wind had stopped earlier, the wind came again. Blowing hard once more, this time WITH RAIN, and everything began flying around for a second time!
Somehow all our stuff was hauled in the rain back to the cars it came in, the wet participants drove away, and rather dramatically it was over. What I mostly remember is that in the precious two hour window the wind and storm stayed away for us. Personally, I suspect the presence of the Holy Spirit. God could not be contained by our little planning sessions, and does not think like we do, so God’s participation can only be guessed at? But believing as I do that “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God”, I think the Holy Spirit blew her joy all over us, keeping alive our spirits for the ongoing work of making life on earth as it is in Heaven.
Blessings and more blessings upon you, Catherine Kreuter