Cherith Brook

(816) 241-8047


3308 E. 12th St. Kansas City, MO 64127

Practicing God ‘s Mercy & Gospel Resistance

Advent 2009

Cherith Brook
A Night on the Streets
by Devin Magee
Although I had been volunteering at Cherith Brook since last summer, I could not begin to comprehend what being homeless was all about. I had always wondered where the people went after they got their shower and hot meal in the mornings. I was offered a chance to experience homelessness when Cherith Brook celebrated the Festival of Shelters. It was a chance for a small group of people to try and understand what the homeless of Kansas City do every day. I jumped at the opportunity, but did not realize how much this would change my view of life.

Catholic Worker

Weekly Schedule

Who are we?
Community—Cherith Brook is a residential Christian community committed to sharing table fellowship with strangers, and all our resources with one another. We have found our inspiration from the early church, the Church of the Savior, and the Catholic Worker. Mercy—Our daily lives are structured around practicing the works of mercy as found in Jesus’ teachings. We are committed to regularly feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, visiting the prisoner and the sick in the name of Jesus. Peacemaking—As followers of Jesus, we understand our lives to be centered in God’s Shalom. Cherith Brook strives to be a “school” for peacemaking in all its dimensions: political, communal, and personal, working constantly to undo poverty, racism and militarism. These three orbs can be summed up as the struggle to connect with the God of life. We pray that Cherith Brook is a space where all of us—the broken—can come to learn and relearn the ways of Jesus; a place to struggle together for God’s call of love, mercy, peace and justice.

Last WED of each month 2nd SAT of each month 2nd SAT of each month

Christ is Born!

We moved on towards Monroe Ave, heading towards a man’s house who was a regular at the “Shower House,” as Cherith Brook is called on the streets. We ended up behind a Somali Coffee House where many cab drivers come to relax when they are off So Elijah did according to the word of the the clock. There were a couple of younger Lord; he went and lived by the Cherith men out back talking, and the group apBrook...and the ravens brought him bread… I Kings 17 proached them. We began finding out about them, and discovered that they were refuabout how he jumps people for fun and gees that had come over from Somalia in the early 90s when they were young. They for no reason. As he was yelling this, Eric headed back towards the man to talk to him. He said his name was Chopper. It was not hard to tell I showed up at Cherith that this man was under the Brook at 6pm on Sunday, influence of drugs, but Eric was October 4th. We first heard able to get him to put the gun in testimonials and stories from his pocket. At that point we had four different types of homebeen walking for almost two less persons. We heard from hours, and when he found the a lady who had been an ungroup was thirsty he started documented immigrant, folbringing us water and continulowing her husband who ally refilling the glass for us. attained a work visa, and all After talking with him for the trials she had to struggle about 30 minutes, Eric asked to through to make it here. We see Chopper’s gun. He asked if heard from a refugee, and he could lay his hand on it, but discussed how difficult it Chopper refused. So he rested was for some women to get Glenna, Josh, Laura, Frank, Eric, Nick, Micah, Chris, Tim, & Devin his hand in the air above the away from abusive relationgun and began to pray over it, ships. All of these people asking that Chopper never use it or feel through certain circumstances had ended up were all Muslim. Eric asked them how Kan- that he needed to for any reason. It was sas City had changed since they had moved in the same place and relied on Cherith amazing to watch because most people here. They responded by saying that there Brook and its volunteers to help them. had always been drugs and prostitution, but would not have wanted to have the gun We then split into groups to head out for the number of homeless in the area had out, loaded, while you prayed over it. the night. There were a total of six in my greatly increased. There was an Apple Market across the group, including one man named Terrie From there we went off the main drag to street with a neighborhood directly bewho was actually homeless. We walked see a man that frequents the Shower House. hind it. It was now around 9 or 10pm. down Indiana Ave where we ran into a The neighborhood was dark with only a group of teenagers on their front porch talk- Suddenly man came running out of his house. He was asking what we were doing couple working street lights. We saw a ing. Eric Garbison started talking to them man walking towards us and recognized about what it was like living in a neighbor- on his street. |Then there was a click I real- him as Martin who frequents the Shower ized that this man had just pulled the action hood that was full of crime and discussed lever back on a handgun. He was yelling (continued on pg 5) their situations.


The War Against the Poor
outside the ghettos. The buses don’t run out to where the jobs are. The poor can’t find work. The poor lose their homes when property taxes rise. The poor move deeper into the ghettos. The poor search for homes. The poor sneak into abandoned homes to get out of the cold. The poor are told they can’t sleep in parks. The poor are told they can’t sleep in abandoned houses. The poor are told they can’t sleep in the woods. The poor are told they can’t socialize on sidewalks. The poor are told they can’t ask for money.

by Nick Pickrell

House Notes
As we enter this time of Advent, this time of patient waiting for the birth of Christ, I have become more aware that the better we get to know our friends, the smaller the gap seems between us and them. The more we patiently listen to and understand their joys and concerns, the more we see that they are really just like us when you boil it all down. And what differences there are actually make getting to know them all the more exciting and interesting.

by Sarah Cool


There are many who live in the Northeast who experience hundreds of lose-lose situations that our laws, policies, and cultural practices help create and maintain. I recently read a letter that Mother Teresa wrote urging both George Bush Sr. and Saddam Hussein to consider their poor and the ill effects war would have on them if violence were to ensue. She talked of all the poor having no place to go, all the displaced persons being rendered poor, and all the soldier’s families being torn apart by violence. This simple letter gave me pause. My mind then turned to those I call sister, brother, and friend. I thought of all of the people in our neighborhood caught in an endless cycle of catch 22’s and how we, the privileged class, have played a part in it. After a year of accompanying our guests as they go to court, rehab, ER, or to city hall it has become clear to me that there is much work to be done to break the yoke that enslaves the poor of our city. Below are a few simple reflections on the hardships our friends and guests endure on a daily basis, as well as some of the ways the privileged class experience the “deep poverty” Mother Teresa speaks of often in her writings.
-------The poor receive our leftovers—our clothes, our food, our work, our shelter. The poor are concentrated in the ghettos. The ghettos are dilapidated. The poor are treated as sub-human.

The poor can’t afford to run for political office. The poor can’t afford to lobby. The poor can’t afford to be shareholders. The poor live at the mercy of others. Then the poor are told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. The poor in our neighborhood end up being treated like unwanted animals. Thankfully, Christ told the poor they would be first in the kingdom of heaven. That is a reason to hope. The rich are told to give to the poor. The rich are also poor. Poor because of riches. Poor because of greed. Poor because of loneliness. Poor because of strategic relationships. Poor because of aggressive competition. Poor because of isolation. Poor because of rugged individualism. Poor because of performance evaluation. Poor because of busyness. Poor because of fear. Poor because of hoarding. Poor because of materialism. Then the rich are told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. --------

Ade Bethune

The poor do manual labor for work. The poor work and sometimes don’t receive money. The poor panhandle and sometimes receive money. The poor become unemployed when economies crash. The poor experience daily violence. The poor are robbed. The poor are beaten. The poor are raped. The poor are exploited. The poor are criminalized. The jobs move away from the ghettos. The poor don’t have cars to get to work

The poor get arrested. The poor can’t afford to pay fines. The poor serve jail time. The poor get felonies. The poor with felonies can’t receive food stamps. The poor with felonies can’t get work. The poor with felonies can’t get housing. The poor with felonies spend more time in jail. The poor are killed or displaced in times of war. The poor die due to inability to pay for health care.

Jesus says something astounding in his Sermon on the Plain—that the kingdom of God belongs to the poor. Not only that, but repeatedly Jesus calls the rich into a life of giving and service to the poor in our midst. As Cherith Brook CW struggles to break free from the pursuit of wealth, the scramble for security and our obsession with individualism, something new bursts forth. When we learn to share more radically, serve more humbly and love more completely we are always taken aback by how much we end up receiving. A simple thanks, a shower curtain, a box of oranges, food salvaged from a dumpster, moonflower seeds, a couple of dollars for our water bill, a hug. When we begin taking concrete steps to break through the economic and social barriers that exist in our society, we will surprisingly discover the chains of oppression being broken. Not only that, but we will also find ourselves calling our “enemies” friends and discovering the beauty and brokenness within all of us.

ers, coffee, conversation, or a meal four mornings a week. They share their joys and concerns with us. They feel like our family now. Our Thursday night commuSandwich Meat (no bologna) nity meals have grown to hosting as many Sandwich Bags as 60 or more some weeks! We had our largest garden yet this summer with so Mayonnaise much produce that we almost couldn’t keep up with it. We’ve had a steady stream Sliced Cheese of guests stay with us, volunteers coming Peanut Butter & Jelly to learn about our way of life here and to help out with the Bananas & Oranges never ending list of Therefore, couldCoffee, Sugar, Creamer chores and work n’t we translate this projects, family and Vinegar (gallon size for cleaning) concept to any two friends stopping in groups of people? Baking Soda for quick visits and Not just to us and some for longer our friends who visit Dish Soap stays. We’ve added a us for showers and seventh full-time Toilet Paper meals? How about community member, us and people of Milk, Eggs, Butter Josh Armfield, another race or which takes our total Black Beans creed? Or us and the to 10 including our undocumented imSalt & Pepper Shakers children. Josh is in migrant? Or even us his last of eight years Folding Tables and the Taliban or that he committed to Al Qaeda? (standard rectangular size) the Army, choosing I would predict, based on our at this time to take the status of Inactive Clear Plastic Restaurant Cups “experiment” here at Cherith Brook that Ready Reserve. In that status he no longer this phenomenon would hold true regard- has any regular military responsibilities, Water Pitchers less of the two groups. Now, figuring out a although he could be deployed if needed. Hand Held Mixer way to make this theory a reality in the Having already done one tour in Iraq we larger world seems much harder than what pray that all war will cease immediately, Industrial Refrigerator we’ve done here. Or is it? This and are confident that if Josh is called back “experiment” hasn’t been easy. God had to to duty he will use it as an opportunity to When possible, please call us at least a connect the right group of supporters with practice nonviolent resistance. day ahead of time to schedule the best the right group of folks who could live this time to make your delivery of donations. As always, we all continue to try to be life. God had to provide the right location Thank you! faithful to the mandates of Matthew 25. with the right mission. Then God had to We feed the hungry, give drink to the coordinate all of the people and resources thirsty, invite the stranger to share in to create what has sprung up here, and it has taken time and patience. And then God what we have, clothe the naked, take had to send God’s children to be fed by the care of the sick, and visit the prisoner. Sure, we actually DO lots more than Brook called Cherith, as we read in 1 just those things, but those are the Kings: 17. This didn’t happen overnight, basics. From these, we spring forward but over more than three years. into many other areas of interest and A friend recently reminded me that real concern and need, all the while feeling change, things that really make a differGod’s hand directing it all. And knowence, takes time and patience. We see that ing that each new friendship we make every day in our friends, and for some, all here at Cherith Brook draws us closer they have is time. For us who live here, to God and to closing the gap between we’re becoming more and more comfortus and them. Our prayer is that our able with giving things time and being world at large finds a way to do the patient. And, oh how it’s paid off! Izabelle Cool-Abbey, Diana Garbison and same, and that you too will find a way Taryn Summers prepared fresh salsa with We have an abundance of friends, some- to close the gaps wherever you are, tomatillos from our abundant garden! over time and with patience. times 40 or so, coming by for showers

House Needs



Hidden Routes
The Magi were some of the first to discover that encountering Christ invites detours. Sent by King Herod, they were supposed to return back to him to report on the Christ-child’s whereabouts. But, “In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country." (The Message) They chose the hidden route of Christ rather than the efficient and destructive way of Empire. Cherith Brook has challenged me to rethink several of my everyday choices about efficient food and transportation. My eyes have been opened to the connections between my everyday dependence on oil and the wars in the Middle East. The convenience of cheap, imported food as well as quick, flexible, and personal automobile transportation depend on cheap oil, and in turn make me complicit with violence used to secure that oil. I also started to realize how driving disconnects me from neighbors and nature which I might encounter along my journey. So, I decided to try biking to work.

by Chris Brennan Homiak
up or burned. I saw gardeners and roofers, dealers and wanderers. I heard cardinals and Red-winged Blackbirds. I smelled damp leaves and fresh-cut grass. I raced squirrels and chased them up trees with my bell. I waved to porchsitters at the group homes and apartment complexes.

An Extraordinary Gift

Shower Needs
Tennis Shoes (men’s & women’s) Jeans & Belts (esp. men’s sizes 32-36) T-Shirts Men’s Underwear (esp. size 32-38) Women’s Panties (esp. 4-7) Bras Shampoo & Conditioner (large bottles)

the fluorescent shirt? I remember seeing all those happy bicyclists when I visited China: dressed for work, balancing their children so effortlessly. . .I thought again about trying the bus. Fortunately, I had friends at Cherith Brook who used bikes as their main form of transportation, and they helped me learn the ways of urban commuting. I discovered the hidden routes of Kansas City – the ways around hills and traffic, which were different depending on if I was headed to or from work. I added bells, lights and fenders to my old bicy-

My new job is too far away to bike; I have to drive. I am eager to find something closer, but for now, it is what it is. Although I try to bring some of my bicycle awareness and tempo to my commute, I know that it’s not the same. I discovered that when I went by bike, I was more energized when I arrived, more full of peace and awareness. I had missed the latest on NPR, but I had absorbed a different kind of news about the rhythms and realities of beauty and suffering in Jerome Harris, Josh Armfield & Nick Pickrell ride their the world. bikes with trailers attached to pick up donated items. I wonder if the Magi’s dream-directed detour was born out of their deep connection to the stars and the sand. They were clearly aware of changes in the night sky; traveling slowly by foot or by camel, they must have also been awake to the daily groans of the people. Surely they knew in their bones that the land was longing for liberation. What if the warning in the dream was delivered not by an angel in shining robes, but by the birds and beggars, the gardeners and widows along the way? How then should we travel? What will be our next detour?

September 18, 2009 Hello Sarah:

Enclosed are a pair of tennis shoes I bought out of

the canteen here a fortnight or so ago. I’ve worn a size 8 for many years. They are a size 8, but they a few hours over a couple of days, thinking they would loosen up a bit, but that didn’t happen. I have since gotten another pair of the same in 8 1/2 and they’re perfect. I guess they’re just cut small. Anyway, the canteen here has a “noare too small, too tight on my feet. I wore them for

return” policy, so I couldn’t take them back and they’ve just been sitting under my bunk. After do with them. Friday is the designated day to They still may not go out until Monday or reading that newsletter, I knew exactly what to mail stuff out, or I would have sent them sooner. Tuesday. I’m thinking you should have gotten

Razors Spray-On Deodorant Tube Socks Foot Powder Shoes Toothpaste & Brushes Tampons Pads Ibuprofen & Tylenol Laundry Soap (he) Stamps Bus Passes

cle. I learned how to take my lane, so that cars gave me more than a few inches when they passed.

Georgia O’ Keefe once said, “Nobody sees a flower, really -- it is so small, we haven't time -- and to see takes time, My first time, I arrived very out of like to have a friend takes time.” This breath and on the verge of losing my inconvenient way of commuting awakbreakfast. I had missed a turn, and ened me to new friendships. Although I ended up in heavy traffic. It took about was whisking by the flowers, I could three times as long as driving, seemed at track trees changing in the fall. I felt the least three times as stressful, and left me cool breezes of the early morning and sweaty. Was it really worth it? Did I the gift of the afternoon sun. I noticed stink? What about the helmet hair, and houses that had recently been boarded

my letter yesterday. I’m waiting to be called to the Property Room so I can get this off. I’ll be in touch. Take care! Ronald

Potosi Correctional Center Mineral Point, MO

Shawn hams it up in the clothing closet.


catholic Workers & Protest-ants
Catholic Workers today are diverse with no centralized leadership or consented structure. We do, however, share family resemblances, the most common of which is our houses of hospitality. These are residential houses in local communities that strive to welcome needy strangers in ways that celebrate their dignity as God’s children, and as our sisters and brothers. A hot shower and a full stomach is cause enough for “success,” though we often wish for happier endings. In a culture of militarism and violence, the movement remains a small voice bellowing for unqualified peace. Jesus’ teachings, life and Lordship mandate for a nonviolent life. So we disciple those who come to us through thoughtful study, discussion, debate and our front porch singing to live unconformed to militarism, racism and greed and to be transformed by the renewing power of love that refuses all harm doing. Daily we are reminded that all of this begins with ourselves.

by Eric Garbison

Yes, we are a “Catholic Worker.” We say it with less hesitation these days, and a sense of pride. But why the moniker “catholic” since none of us claims Rome? And why “Worker,” when we work little for pay and volunteer a lot? An explanation is due and I’ve been asked to give it a try.

living at a personal sacrifice, refusing to do harm, welcoming the unwelcome with justice, communities of sharing, deepening bonds between Creator and creature in land and labor, sacramental living and a way of life centered in faith in Jesus, Lord and Human One. Over the next few newsletters we hope to elaborate on some of these values through story, explanation and scripture—we hope to share the resonance we feel with them, and why it ought to matter to you.

To My Sisters of Violence
by Alta Newlun I watch from afar, because I know I can’t help the ones who will not help themselves. I will let you know that I noticed your pain, I watch over you with concern, for your safety in life. I wish I could give you strength so you can make changes you need to make in order to go on. But I know I can’t, only YOU can, but I sit aside and wait. I’ll say a prayer for you, and always remember to take care of yourself. I have great care for my sisters of violence.


Join Our Extended Community
pray with us, cook meals, sort donations, host showers, cut hair, launder clothing, electrical work, carpentry, assemble sack dinners, redo kitchen cabinets, mail newsletter, clean house, fencing, garden, tuck pointing, trim work, & more...

What the Catholic Worker Believes by Peter Maurin
1. The Catholic Worker believes in the gentle personalism of traditional Catholicism. 2. The Catholic Worker believes in the personal obligation of looking after the needs of our brother. 3. The Catholic Worker believes in the daily practice of the Works of Mercy. 4. The Catholic Worker believes in Houses of Hospitality for the immediate relief of those who are in need. 5. The Catholic Worker believes in the establishment of Farming Communes where each one works according to his ability and gets according to his need. 6. The Catholic Worker believes in creating a new society within the shell of the old with the philosophy of the new, which is not a new philosophy but a very old philosophy, a philosophy so old that it looks like new.

In Memory Of
We pray for the souls of our friends who lost their lives on the streets of Kansas City during this past year. We keep their friends with the love, care and concern we showed to them while they were on this earth. “Racoon” David Welliver~~~ February 2009 Wayne Walker~~~ April 2009 Brad Harkin~~~ October 2009 family members and friends in our thoughts. We remember our

Peter Maurin at the NY Catholic Worker.

Labels are problematic in the gospel vision. Let me set one thing straight: our discipleship is at the heart of the matter; we are followers of Jesus. And we resonate with a diverse group of communities who pattern their lives after the Sermon on the Mount; who see the cross as something Jesus intended us to carry; who evangelize with enemy-love a world stuck in a cycle of violence; who recognize that our first resurrection has already occurred; who affirm the church as a living organism, scattered among the poor, walls unnecessary and no endowments; and who sweat today for a future filled with hope of Christ, present to us when we live into God’s love.

While most communities are urban, there are many farms devoted to cultivation, to proportionate use of land and the preservation of its beauty, the dignity of manual labor and the need for life-giving food. This also includes a return to laboring and crafting with one’s hands. Many of the urban communities have tried to incorporate this “Green Revolution” by tilling their lawns, squatting abandoned lots, planting on their roofs and raising city chickens.

It is true that the Catholic Worker has Roman Catholic roots. Praise God! Yet no baptismal verification is required, as many houses today are ecumenical. Some, like ourselves, are predominantly Protestant. So we refer to ourselves as the “catholic Worker,” small “c”—universal body of Christ. We also The Catholic Worker Movement hope to put the “protest” back into represents one such group. It was Protestantism as we struggle against founded on May 1, 1933, when the first the world system, not simply with comnewspaper was sold on Time Square in plaint but by living out another worldNew York at a penny a copy. While view. It is to this movement that we Peter Maurin offered intellectual inspi- have come home. ration, Dorothy Day’s faith and presTo put our way of life in my own ence nurtured and sustained it, and her words would go something like this: writings spread its message.

Frank and Nate at Community Meal (continued from previous page….) I know this lifestyle is not common and it is not easy. Honestly, I think the lifestyle of Cherith Brook is quite foolish, but aren’t we as Christians called to be fools for Christ? I think that we are compelled by the love of Christ to live foolish and crazy lives for the sake of knowing God and obeying his commands. I don’t want to reach death and realize that I have not truly lived. I want to be fully alive and to be at peace within. I want to know myself and be the person that God has uniquely created me to be. I think that Cherith Brook Community is a good place to be to live a focused and ordered life, to be active in the world, to care for God’s creation, to live justly, to love my neighbors, to be the church, to be together as God’s people and to proclaim the Day of the Lord. We want to give many thanks to the following: C & S Printing for their help in getting our newsletters mailed Cosentino’s Downtown Market for their faithful donations of food



My Need to be at Cherith Brook
In recent months I have become increasingly aware of my own vanity, the desire to be someone I’m not, to be successful and achieve status and recognition, to compete and defeat my neighbor, to be lazy and exploit the earth and others, to be safe and secure and accumulate things, to fill my time with mindless entertainment and avoid silence and solitude and my own inner self, to let fear control me and kill me, and the list goes on and on. People in this country seem to be in a race for success, safety, and security, and hope to one day win the race, but at what expense? Family, friends, neighbors, ourselves? Cherith Brook Catholic Worker is one of the places where I have found people who are conscious of the demands of society and the certain destruction that the American dream has brought upon the character of American people and intentionally refuse these demands for the sake of fulfilling the demands of the gospel. There are few other places where a person would willingly call himself a bum by the world’s standards in order that he may live more authentically as an apostle of Christ by God’s standards. I need a community such as Cherith Brook in order to live the holistic and authentic faith that I seek. want to know myself and embrace the person that I am, that God has created me to be. As I am faced with certain emotions, I want to understand them and know what is causing me to feel this way. I want to pray more often, and meditate more often. I need to be in a community of people that is on a common journey in search of God. Henri Nouwen says in his Genesee Diary, “…that monks are not necessarily better or holier people than others. Instead, they might very well be weaker and more vulnerable and come to a monastery to find the support of a community to enable them to be faithful in their search of God and to keep responding to his continuing love.”

By Josh Armfield

ships and community that Cherith Brook is able to remain. I understand Cherith Brook to be a scholastic community that is constantly learning and progressing. I have learned so much from this community and hope to continue to grow and be transformed by the love of Christ that is lived out here.

I need to be at Cherith Brook because the Spirit calls me to put my faith into action. I am tired of compartmentalizing my life into sacred and secular activities. I no longer want to talk about sacrifice and compassion in church and then go back to my home and turn on the television and watch “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”. I no longer want to complain to my friends about how our culture and country are messed up and then continue to feed the system of exploitation and destruction that a consumer economy has created by buying more things. I want to serve in a holistic way by living with the poor. I no longer want to commute. I no longer want to separate myself be it by class, race, ethnicity, education, or gender. I want to minister through my lifestyle and acHenri Garbison & Josh Armfield enter- tions. I want to serve here at Cherith Brook because faith tain us after Thursday night meals! is alive here. I feel a great need to take the “Sermon on the Mount” seriously and to answer Jesus’ We deeply value discipleship here at call when he told his disciples to sell eveCherith Brook. Authentic discipleship is I very much want to live a spiritually rything they had, leave family and friends, rare in our culture because we are so isodisciplined and ordered life. I understand lated and distracted. But here discipleship and follow Him. I have grown weary of Cherith Brook to function under somewhat happens naturally. I often hear and see the “church”. When church is only a twice a of a Monastic order where each day is cen- word “solidarity” spoken and written here week thing where we all look and dress the tered around prayer, study, work, peaceat Cherith Brook, and I see the value that is same, hardly know one another, and conmaking, and works of mercy. In an age of placed upon being present to others. I stantly bicker over traditional vs. contemcountless distractions and opportunities, I value the fact that Cherith Brook is an int- porary worship, then something is wrong. greatly appreciate this simple and focused ergenerational community where each age I want to be a part of a church that actively way of life. How we spend our time daily group is represented and is learning and lives out its faith and engages its commureveals what we value in life. I want to be growing from those present. I respect and nity, a church that lives together and strugsure that my daily routine is not only cherish this community because it is full of gles together. I am a Nazarene and undershowing others what I value, but more stand my faith best through the Wesleyan humble learners and teachers and not reimportantly that it is constantly reminding bellious, adolescent, punk anarchists who Holiness tradition. This is the holiness that me and keeping me accountable to what I want to stick it to the man (although we are I see at Cherith Brook. God is transformvalue. I want to be conscious of my spiri- anarchists who live into the Kingdom of ing people here inside and out: body, soul tual journey and to continue to grow. I God). It is through the nurturing of relation and spirit. (continued on following page…)

Now it was approaching midnight and the air was becoming frigid. I was cold even in my heavy jacket and hood. We headed back to the Mc Donalds, where we had earlier found food, and picked up cardboard boxes to sleep on. We also found individually wrapped packages of apple wedges that would make good snacks for the night and breakfast in the morning. We sat there, eating our food, trying to decide where we would stay for the night.
Pah Wah speaks from her experience as a refugee in Thailand.

was only the beginning of October and that the homeless would be doing this through the harsh winter months, too. Around 4am the entire group was up and ready to move out. We climbed over the fence again and started moving towards Cherith Brook. We got back and decided to spend the last hour or so of the night sleeping on the porch. After I woke up around 6am, I had time to reflect on everything I had seen and how it had changed me. I now look at the homeless with more love and compassion, knowing what they have to go through every day. I now realize how blessed I am and found that I have a passion for serving these people. I was sitting thinking about what all I had learned. I was able to sum it up in this phrase: Be the light in the darkness. I have been a Christian for about five years. I’ve always gone to Sunday School and Bible Lessons, but I never realized that there were two parts to religion. God also calls us to serve the poorest of people as if they were wealthy. I have now accepted this challenge and will continue to serve the homeless of this area. There are places outside our comfort zones where God is not known or followed. He calls us to these very places to share God’s love for them and lead by example. This is what the people at Cherith Brook have dedicated their lives to. Devin Magee is a high school senior, from Knox Presbyterian Church.

(continued from front page) House for meals. He had just left his friend’s house and decided to bring us back with him. There were about 10 men speaking Spanish. We walked up to the porch of the house and I was introduced to them. We talked with them for over an hour, getting their stories and what they had been doing. Communicating with them was difficult because they all spoke little or no English. They did not have anything in their house except for three beds for the men that lived there and a refrigerator which was empty. They did have running water and they provided some for us to drink. After saying goodbye we headed out onto Independence Ave. which has a reputation for drugs and prostitution. It was now past 11pm and hunger was starting to creep in. Terrie and Josh tried dumpster diving at a nearby McDonalds for any wrapped food. They were able to find a cheeseburger and a sausage biscuit. We had also passed a Taco Bell on the way, and walked back to look in their dumpster. We started tearing open trash bags looking for food. After a few minutes, the lady at the drive through window called us over and handed us a bag of warm food. It was worth only about $2 in change. The other three people in our group came back and we had just enough food for everyone to have one item.

As we walked back up Independence Avenue to where we came from, a car came speeding past and hurled eggs at us. One hit me in the leg and then they turned around quickly and threw another volley at us, hitting Eric this time. After thinking about where we could sleep, we decided we would head to the church Josh attends, which was just off Independence. In the front of the church there was a playground, so we climbed the fence and four people went into the play equipment to sleep. Eric and I stayed outside the equipment and laid out boxes to sleep on. For several hours I was able to sleep comfortably, but at around 3am the temperature had dropped even lower and my entire body was shaking. I got up from the boxes I was sleeping on and paced around trying to warm myself up somehow. Everyone else at this point was still asleep and I started thinking that this


Reflections of an SOA Journey
(SOA/WINSEC, School of the Americas/Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, located at Fort Benning, GA is a US Dept of Defense facility known for training more than 61,000 Latin American soldiers and policemen from 1946 until 2001, some of whom became notorious for human rights violations.) “They are servants of Yahweh, and they have chosen how we live.” This, said by Jon Sobrino, reflected much about the SOA journey. For me, this statement presented a personal challenge. I asked myself if how I choose to live is negatively impacting my brothers and sisters around the world. Brothers and sisters who, as Jon Sobrino says, are those we put out of our existence.

A Day in the Life at “The Worker”
by Kerri Dickhut
child at the gate next to hundreds of others. It almost felt as if it were my own child – I did not want to part with it. As I felt this sorrow, heaviness would not pass. The names ceased being called. A more silent mourning took place. Then the puppetistas and music began to take over. The giant puppetista fell – and a great transformation seemed to take hold. I have never quite experienced such a significant group transformation as this. People were spontaneously rejoicing – and I felt as though I was looking through new eyes – and recognized this in other eyes all around!


seemed to resonate deeper when I reWhat I felt, and saw in return, was flected more on those who suffered in HOPE. And this was the greatest gift I ways I may never truly know or under- received from the SOA journey. stand. I began to think of Christ in his Today, I keep reminding myself to not last days of suffering and it felt very And to challenge myself (ourselves) only say Presente! at SOA, but everyreal. day. Saying this can hopefully remind even further, there is the word Presente! Standing at the gates of Fort Benmyself to be more mindful of how I live Repeating the word Presente! as a medining, so full of emotion, in solidarity tation; a prayer – each time arriving and to see with a clearer pair of eyes. with so many others surrounding me, Thank you Cherith Brook for providing closer to why we journeyed to SOA. words fell short and a deeper truth Many of the questions I had became this opportunity. clearer with each name read. With each could only speak for the experience. Christ’s presence was so alive, and that Kerri Dickhut, volunteer at Cherith Presente! I felt closer to them, in soliBrook, was able to attend the SOA darity with them – bringing me back to very spirit is the reason why we arrived Watch Vigil & Direct Action at Ft. my challenge. I began to feel more con- at this place. Benning, GA last year for our comnected with these companeros and comI placed the cross I had been carrying munity. Community members go paneras, and the connection of Guillerma Marques’ unborn again this year, Nov 20 to22.

A Prayer for Our Friends & for Ourselves
by Steve Sheridan
May Christ’s blessing of Love & Hope & Healing & Non-Violence surround us today. May it also surround our families and friends and enemies, every moment of this day and night. With Christ’s love and hope, and many willing hearts and hands of our prayer-filled volunteers here at Cherith Brook Catholic Worker Community, may we all serve each other with Christ’s love, hope, food and coffee, hot showers and clean clothing, and in the joyous beginning of friendship and trust and respect. Please, dear friends, share with us your special needs. We can work together and care for each other and, with Christ’s patience, begin to understand your special needs. Please accept all of us here at Cherith Brook, as we also have special needs and have hurting and brokenness in our lives. Please pray with us and for us, as we promise to keep you all in our prayers as a community, as we gather for Christ’s blessing, wisdom and hope three times a week. Thank you for being here and blessing us with your presence and love and hope. Amen