Monthly Archives: November 2007

UPDATE: Nov. 26

THIS WEEK:

TUESDAY – Breakfast Brigade, 4:15-7am. Join us in preparing a homemade breakfast of fresh-baked cinnamon-raisin bread, hard-boiled eggs, and fresh fruit, which we share with our friends at three area labor pools.

Scripture Study, 6-7:30pm. Al Cason will lead our conversation on the book of Exodus this week.

WEDNESDAY – Morning prayer, 7:15am. Johnny will share a reflection

THURSDAY – Roundtable discussion and dinner, 6pm. Dr. William Little of Santa Fe Community College will lead us in a discussion on Ernesto Cardenal, a poet-priest of Central America. We’ll touch on liberation theology, the US in Nicaragua/Central America, and his poetry. Feel free to bring a dish to share or just show up.

FRIDAY – Breakfast Brigade, 4:15-7am. Join us in preparing a homemade breakfast of fresh-baked cinnamon-raisin bread, hard-boiled eggs, and fresh fruit, which we share with our friends at three area labor pools.

SUNDAY – Dorothy’s Cafe, 2-7:30pm. This week’s cafe is prepared by and hosted by the Servants of Christ Anglican Church. We always need extra help in set-up (2-4pm), serving (4-6pm) and clean-up (5:30-7:30pm). And extra servings of fresh fruit are also always welcome. Thanks!

In peace,

the GCW community

Gainesville Catholic Worker
218 NW 2nd Avenue
Gainesville, Florida 32601

352.271.6941

http://gainesvillecw.org

UPDATE: 11/19

Dear friends, 

This is a light week for the GCW. Thanksgiving week is a time that a lot of churches, social service agencies, et al, mobilize to reach out to folks who are struggling, and therefore, it has been a week where we scale back a little and let others do their thing. So note below that many of our regular projects won’t be happening this week, especially after Wednesday. We’ll return to our regular schedule after Thanksgiving. 

Thanks to the nice group of high school students from Holy Faith Catholic Church for their work at Dorothy’s Cafe yesterday. We heard absolute raves from many on the homemade chicken soup, especially from one of our regulars Matt, who said that he has been praying for chicken soup for the past few months.  

Six of us from the GCW also went up to the annual vigil and action to close the School of the Americas in Columbus, GA this past weekend. The school trains soldiers from Latin American countries and many of those trained there have been implicated in horrific violations of human rights in their home countries–assassinations, torture, disappearances and kidnappings, rape, etc. Over 25,000 gathered for the protest, which happens each November around the date that 6 Jesuit priests and their co-workers were assassinated by graduates of the school in 1989. Kendera and James from the house got to carry a banner and march at the front of a long funeral procession remembering the victims of the soldiers trained at the school. You can see Kendera and then James briefly in this slideshow by a photographer at the Columbus newspaper: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/175/story/180372.html. For more about the history of the School of the Americas, click here 

And lastly, this Thanksgiving week, we thank all of you for your care and support and for being part of the GCW community. You are a witness and inspiration to us and we are so grateful for each one of you.

THIS WEEK:  

TUESDAY – Breakfast Brigade, 4:15-7am. Join us in preparing a homemade breakfast of fresh-baked cinnamon-raisin bread, hard-boiled eggs, and fresh fruit, which we share with our friends at three area labor pools. NO Scripture Study this week. 

WEDNESDAY – NO Morning prayer this week.  

THURSDAY – NO Roundtable discussion and dinner. Folks from the house will be having a small gathering for a family-style Thanksgiving dinner. (NOTE: This is NOT a big meal shared by a lot of people like Dorothy’s Cafe; St. Francis House and others provide a big meal on this day).  

FRIDAY – NO Breakfast Brigade today. 

SUNDAY – NO Dorothy’s Cafe. 

In peace,

the GCW community Gainesville Catholic Worker
218 NW 2nd Avenue
Gainesville, Florida 32601

352.271.6941

http://gainesvillecw.org 

OPINION: Veteran’s Day

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Veteran’s Day came and went this week with the usual mix of letters to the editor. But this year, the hawks seem muted and the sorrow heavier as we approach the end of the fifth year of the war in Iraq – the deadliest year so far. 

For folks who are in middle-age (like me), we can clearly define the generations we’ve known by their wars.  Our grandfathers fought in WWII, our fathers in Korea, our older brothers in Vietnam, our spouses in Desert Storm, and now our children in Iraq.  One of the boys my sons played flag football with died there this year. 

I have struggled to find a way to “celebrate” Veteran’s Day with some integrity. How does one celebrate the love, self-sacrifice and courage required of young people willing to give their lives for something greater than themselves – “freedom” as the story goes.  And at the same time, recognize the endless procession of this craziness whereby adults (us) continue to do this to our sons and daughters?  We make the mistakes again and again; our greed and self-service, our short-sightedness and apathy keep leading us to where we finally tell the time-worn, Big Lie.  We bless the troops and send our sons and daughters off to give their lives for (this time) cheap oil, our unsustainable lifestyle, and revenge – because we can, because it thrills us to be high and mighty, because… God only knows why we keep doing it over and over again through generations.

I read a short piece in Utne Reader this week by Patrick Hicks, a professor at Augustana College in South Dakota.  Somehow it captured both things – the love we have for our “troops” and the gut-wrenching sorrow we have to have for what we’re doing to them. Again.  Read it hereThis is the poem he refers to.  It’s Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen – a British soldier who died at 25 during the final days of the First World War, “the war to end all wars.”

Kelli 

UPDATE: November 13

Dear friends,

Thanks for all the great help last week–Dave’s Roundtable discussion, the great group from St. Anastasia for Dorothy’s Cafe, Wednesday Night Live folks, et al! This semester has really been going great and we are really thankful to all of you who consider yourselves part of our extended family.

Last week, Dave Chynoweth, who many of you know from the Breakfast Brigade and the Roundtable, lost his mother. This Thursday, in lieu of our regular roundtable, members of the GCW will be attending Dave’s mom’s wake at Holy Faith Catholic Church. For those of you who want to show your support of Dave, more info is available below. And his email address is dpchyn@gmail.com.

And Happy Birthday to Holly! Holly, a member of our community here at the house and a participant in the Metanoia Semester, celebrates her b-day this Thursday!

Last chance for Metanoia Semester in the spring! Any of you who may be interested in or feel called to living at the Gainesville Catholic Worker House for the Spring 2008 semester, January thru April 2008, please contact us by the end of this week. We had 5 people join us this semester for Metanoia, and we think we’ll have a few spots open in the spring for 2-4 new people to join us. To read more about the Metanoia Semester, click here. If you are interested, contact Johnny at gvillecw@yahoo.com or by phone at 219-8419 as soon as possible. The deadline for applying is Friday, November 16 and we’ll let folks know if we have room by Tuesday, November 20.

Here’s what is going on this week at the house:

THIS WEEK:

Join us for a simple vegetarian dinner Tuesday thru Friday, 6pm.

TUESDAY – Scripture Study, 6-7:30pm. We’re studying the book of Exodus–oppression, revolution, liberation–all that good stuff. Click here to read a little summary of what we’ve been studying so far. We share a simple meal just before we study so feel free to come hungry or even bring something to share.

WEDNESDAY – Morning prayer at the GCW, 7:15-45am. Join us for a simple, reflective morning prayer each Wednesday at the house. Johnny leads this week’s reflection.

THURSDAY – NO Roundtable discussion and dinner. Instead, several of us will be attending Dave Chynoweth’s mother’s wake at Holy Faith Church, with visitation at 6 PM and prayers and sharing at 7. The Funeral Mass will be at 9:30 AM on Friday, Nov. 16, also at Holy Faith.

FRIDAY – Breakfast Brigade, 4:15-7am. Join us in preparing a homemade breakfast of fresh-baked cinnamon-raisin bread, hard-boiled eggs, and fresh fruit, which we share with our friends at three area labor pools. (Also on Tuesday mornings.)

SUNDAY – Dorothy’s Cafe. Holy Faith Catholic Church’s confirmation group and the Knights of Columbus will be preparing the food this week and bringing volunteers. We can usually use a little extra fresh, in-season fruit (the citrus crop has started to roll in), and a few extra volunteers, anytime between 2-7:30pm: 2-4pm is set-up; serving between 4-6pm; and clean-up from 5:30-7:30pm. Join us if you can!

In peace,
the GCW community

Gainesville Catholic Worker
218 NW 2nd Avenue
Gainesville, Florida 32601
352.271.6941

http://gainesvillecw.org

SCRIPTURE STUDY: Step One Toward Liberation – Things are Going to Get Worse

Chapter 5 in Exodus lays out the basic structure of the Egyptian economic enterprise and the nature of the relationships within that structure. One modern-day parallel we noted in our study a few weeks ago was the similarity between the Israelites and today’s migrant farmworkers, as well as that of the Pharaoh with his circle of advisors and the CEO and various levels of management of a major agribusiness corporation. Moses and Aaron play the part of labor organizers. 

As chapter 5 opens, Moses and Aaron have won the support of the elders of Israel and, by extension, the Hebrew people for the carrying out of God’s plan to secure their liberation. Their initial encounter with Pharaoh, however, ends predictably badly. The only power that Pharaoh is aware of and recognizes is his own. His immediate perception of the situation fits all the known factors: He has power; the Hebrew slaves do not. Why would he acquiesce to their demands?  Why would he believe this talk about “the God of Israel?” The idea that some other deity (remember that Pharaoh’s cultural and perhaps self-conception is that he is a “god-man”) would choose to align with a bunch of slaves must, in Pharaoh’s mind, speak to the weakness of such a god, if there was one. Pharaoh has subjugated these people for generations. Where was their “God” then? Why should Pharaoh believe this “God” has any power now if it has not exercised that power before? 

Pharaoh’s response to the request to allow the Hebrews to go out into the desert to celebrate a festival to God is to press down even harder in his oppression of the Hebrews. His reasoning is that if these Hebrews have time enough to entertain thoughts of a “vacation in the desert,” then they must not be working hard enough. In essence, Pharaoh sets out to destroy whatever impulses toward recognizing their dignity and rights which Moses and Aaron have stirred up in his Hebrew slaves. If they think that these two agitators are giving them good advice, well then, Pharaoh will show them just what will come if they decide to continue listening to the words of Moses and Aaron. 

So Pharaoh increases their workload, even to the point of making it impossible. He ratchets up the work so that every level feels the strain: the workers have to find their own straw now to make the bricks and they have to still make as many bricks per hour as they were making before; the foremen over the workers (fellow Israelites) need to make sure that production does not ease up on bit despite the added labor; taskmasters (Egyptians) over the foremen, have to make sure the foremen keep the pressure on and they have to report to Pharaoh and his advisors the status of the work. The Hebrew workers can’t keep up, the taskmasters drive them harder, but the foremen set over the workers can’t make the prescribed amount of bricks and so they are beaten. They complain to Pharaoh about the impossibility of the situation. Pharaoh throws back at them the request of Moses and Aaron to let the Hebrews go off into the desert and offer a sacrifice to their God, insinuating that the workers must be lazy since they have time to sit around and listen to Moses and Aaron and entertain thoughts about how they deserve a three-day break. Very adeptly, Pharaoh undermines their trust in Moses and Aaron and lays the blame for the brutal work situation of the Hebrews on the two of them. 

So the Israelite foremen leave Pharaoh angry with Moses and Aaron, and they confront the two agitators who stirred things up in the first place with their talk of this God who had heard their cries and was going to lead them out of Egypt. Moses and Aaron have only made the lives of this oppressed people worse. Their campaign has experienced the first “push-back” from the powers-that-be, and Moses and Aaron have experienced the first round of backlash as Pharaoh attempts to crush their little movement before it can ever really get started.  

Such a scenario is typical even in our world today. At first glance, all the power seems to reside on one side. People who have been disempowered and subjugated all their lives enter into confrontation with what appears to be an irresistible force and those little voices in the back of their minds that say that there is no chance of winning here, no chance of making anything better are seemingly confirmed when those in power exercise that power against them, making their lives harder just for the fact that they have dared to challenge or even question the ways things are. This is the way it starts. Power, especially illegitimate power, does not simply fold in the face of challenge. Rather, it puffs itself up even more and marshals its resources to crush that challenge. It will do anything to maintain its privilege, anything to maintain the status quo from which it benefits.  

Chapter 5 ends with Moses, the one who received the mission and promise directly from God, even questioning the situation – not wanting things to get any worse, wondering how it is that this already brutally terrorized people must suffer more, and why his part in it has so far brought them only more pain.

- John

UPDATE: November 6

Dear friends, 

Several interesting things happening this week at the house and in the community. One brief item we want to share with you concerns Wednesday Night Live, the every other Wednesday event at the house run by some of our most committed long-time volunteers from UF and Santa Fe CC. Kelly Jones, one of the coordinators of WNL, writes:  

“Wednesday Night Live is an event that began after a group of us took an alternative spring break trip to Washington, D.C. working on, and experiencing, issues of homelessness back in 2005. We wanted to come back and make a difference in Gainesville, and we thought it might be nice to have a fun night where people could just come, hang out, and relax. WNL happens twice-a-month (with a few exceptions), on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month, at the Gainesville Catholic Worker House. We serve a home-cooked dinner and show a movie, and we try to make it a relaxing and fun experience for all the guests who come. We’ve been really short on volunteers since several members of our original group have recently moved away. If anyone is interested and able to help, we could use assistance with cooking and setting up, serving, and cleanup. Please contact me, Kelly Jones. at uflkelly@hotmail.com if you’re able to help.”

  WNL is one of the gatherings at the house that people just seem to love. Join them if you can! 

We also again want to invite you to prayerfully consider whether you may be interested in or feel called to living at the Gainesville Catholic Worker House for the Spring 2008 semester, January thru April 2008. We call it the “Metanoia Semester,” and in a nutshell, it is an immersion experience into our life at the GCW–living in community, practicing a commitment to a life of spirituality and a life of solidarity with people who are marginalized in our society. We had 5 people join us this semester for Metanoia, and we think we’ll have a few spots open in the spring for 2-4 new people to join us. To read more about the Metanoia Semester, click here.  If you are interested, contact Johnny at gvillecw@yahoo.com or by phone at 219-8419 as soon as possible. The deadline for applying is Friday, November 16 and we’ll let folks know if we have room by Tuesday, November 20.  

Here’s what is going on this week at the house: 

THIS WEEK: Join us for a simple vegetarian dinner Tuesday thru Friday, 6pm. 

TUESDAY - Scripture Study, 6-7:30pm. We’re studying the book of Exodus–oppression, revolution, liberation–all that good stuff. Click here to read a little summary of what we’ve been studying so far. We share a simple meal just before we study so feel free to come hungry or even bring something to share.  

WEDNESDAY - Morning prayer at the GCW, 7:15-45am. Join us for a simple, reflective morning prayer each Wednesday at the house. Johnny leads this week’s reflection. 

Homeless Night Out on the Plaza, 3-11pm. GCW community member Alfred Cason will be speaking at this year’s event. 

Wednesday Night Live, 6pm – 9pm (see italicized above 

THURSDAY – Roundtable discussion and dinner. This week’s topic is “Hypnosis and Healing,” presented by Dave Chynoweth. Dave is a former professor at UF at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and heads up Friday’s Breakfast Briagde at the GCW with his wife Gloria. He is a man of many interests, an expert on sustainability issues, and has visited and studied alternative communities across the United States. Dave is currently studying the use of hypnosis in therapy and will share some of what he has learned with us. We discuss and converse while sharing a delicious meal at 6pm. Bring a dish–salad, bread, some fruit, anything–to share if you can. If you can’t, no worries; just show up!  

FRIDAY – Breakfast Brigade, 4:15-7am. Join us in preparing a homemade breakfast of fresh-baked cinnamon-raisin bread, hard-boiled eggs, and fresh fruit, which we share with our friends at three area labor pools. (Also on Tuesday mornings.) 

SUNDAY – Dorothy’s Cafe. The JustFaith group from St. Anastasia Church in St. Augustine will be preparing the food this week and bringing volunteers. We can usually use a little extra fresh, in-season fruit (the citrus crop has started to roll in), and a few extra volunteers, anytime between 2-7:30pm: 2-4pm is set-up; serving between 4-6pm; and clean-up from 5:30-7:30pm. Join us if you can!

In peace,

the GCW community Gainesville Catholic Worker
218 NW 2nd Avenue
Gainesville, Florida 32601
352.271.6941

http://gainesvillecw.org  

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