Cherith Brook

d’s Mercy & Gospel Resis icing Go tance Pract



Advent 2010

So E lijah did according to the word of the L ord; he went and lived by the C herith Brook…and the ravens brought him bread… I Kings 17

Room for Christ
by Dorothy Day
Originally appeared in The Catholic Worker, December 1945.

It is no use to say that we are born two thousand years too late to give room to Christ. Nor will those who live at the end of the world have been born too late. Christ is always with us, always asking for room in our hearts. But now it is with the voice of our contemporaries that he speaks, with the eyes of store clerks, factory workers and children that he gazes; with the hands of office workers, slum dwellers and suburban housewives that he gives. It is with the feet of soldiers and tramps that he walks, and with the heart of anyone in need that he longs for shelter. And giving shelter or food to anyone who asks for it, or needs it, is giving it to Christ.

A woodcut entitled Christmas, 1954 by Fritz Eichenberg

We can do now what those who knew Him in the days of His flesh did. I’m sure that the shepherds did not adore and then go away to leave Mary and her Child in the stable, but somehow found them room, even though what they had to offer might have been primitive enough. All

that the friends of Christ did in His life-time for Him we can do. Peter’s mother-in-law hastened to cook a meal for Him, and if anything in the Gospels can be inferred, it is surely that she gave the very best she had, with no thought of extravagance. Matthew made a feast for Him and invited the whole town, so that the house was in an uproar of enjoyment, and the straight-laced Pharisees--the good people--were scandalized. So did Zaccheus, only this time Christ invited Himself and sent Zaccheus home to get things ready. The people of Samaria, despised and isolated, were overjoyed to give Him hospitality, and for days He walked and ate and slept among them. And the loveliest of all relationships in Christ’s life, after His relationship with his Mother, is His friendship with Martha, Mary and Lazarus and the continual hospitality He found with them--for there was always a bed for Him there, always a welcome, always a meal. It is a staggering thought that there were once two sisters and a brother whom Jesus looked on almost as His family and where He found a second home, where Martha got on with her work, bustling round in her house-proud way, and Mary simply sat in silence with Him. If we hadn’t got Christ’s own words for it, it would seem raving lunacy to believe that if I offer a bed and food and hospitality for Christmas-or any other time, for that matter--to some man, woman or child, I am replaying the part of Lazarus or Martha or Mary and that my guest is Christ. There is nothing to show it, perhaps. There are no haloes already glowing round their heads--at least none that human eyes can see. It is not likely that I shall be vouchsafed the vision of Elizabeth of Hungary, who put the leper in her bed and later, going to tend him, saw no longer the leper’s stricken face, but the face of Christ. The part of a Peter Claver, who gave a stricken Negro his bed and slept on the floor at his side, is more likely to be ours. For Peter Claver never saw anything with his bodily eyes except the exhausted black faces of the Negroes; He had only faith in Christ’s own words that these people were Christ. And when the Negroes he had induced to help him once ran from the room, panicstricken before the disgusting sight of some sickness, he was astonished. “You mustn’t go,” he said, and you can still hear his surprise that anyone could forget such a truth; “You mustn’t leave him--it is

Christ.” Some time ago I saw the death notice of a sergeant-pilot who had been killed on active service. After the usual information, a message was added which, I imagine, is likely to be initiated. It said that anyone who had ever known the dead boy would always be sure of a welcome at his parents’ home. So, even now that the war is over, the father and mother will go on taking in strangers for the simple reason that they will be reminded of their dead son by the friends he made. That is rather like the custom that existed among the first generations of Christians, when faith was a bright fire that warmed more than those who kept it burning. In every house then a room was kept ready for any stranger who might ask for shelter; it was even called “the strangers’ room”: and this not because these people, like the parents of the dead airman, thought they could trace something of someone they loved in the stranger who used it, not because the man or woman to whom they gave shelter reminded them of Christ, but because--plain and simple and stupendous fact--he was Christ. It would be foolish to pretend that it is easy always to remember this. If everyone were holy and handsome, with “alter Christus” shining in neon lighting from them, it would be easy to see Christ in everyone. If Mary had appeared in Bethlehem clothed, as St. John says, with the sun, a crown of twelve stars on her head and the moon under her feet, then people would have fought to make room for her. But that was not God’s way for her nor is it Christ’s way for Himself now when He is disguised under every type of humanity that treads the earth. To see how far one realizes this, it is a good thing to ask honestly what you would do, or have done, when a beggar asked at your house for food. Would you--or did you--give it on an old cracked plate, thinking that was good enough? Do you think that Martha and Mary thought that the old and chipped dish was good for their guest? In Christ’s human life there were always a few who made up for the neglect of the crowd. The shepherds did it, their hurrying to the crib atoned for the people who would flee from Christ. The wise men did it; their journey across the world made up for those who refused to stir (continued on page 8)


Cherith Brook Catholic Worker Solidarity

Advent 2010

by Micah Waters

The Humiliated
A few months ago, I had the privilege of taking a crib to some of our friends who had just had their baby. Cyiarra, the mother, was someone we had seen pretty consistently at showers. She is one of those people who is full of life, and when she is at showers, everyone knows it. She was often loud, getting in everybody’s business, and she always let everyone know exactly what she was thinking. But all of this was permeated with her kindness and goodness. Cyiarra never hesitated to help when a hand was needed, or comfort someone in pain, and of course she always had a great smile. She also, like many of us, had some pretty strong addictions. Then Cyiarra disappeared from our lives, which is a pretty typical occurrence. And after time and the busyness of life, she drifted from our minds. But then right when I was halfexpecting to never see Cyiarra again, she came back into our lives, and there were hugs and smiles at our reconnection. It was clear that she was joyful beyond simply seeing one another again, she had a deeper joy then we had seen before. Cyiarra was expecting and had been clean and sober for the months she had been pregnant. Like many of us, the joy of new life, a hope for better life, gave Cyiarra strength in her pursuit of sobriety. Thankfully Cyiarra was not alone in her journey, having the support of her boyfriend, Lincoln. His smile showed the joy of his soon to be fatherhood. Together they were preparing for their new life as a family, seeking housing, as well as employment for Lincoln. And as they were telling us about their life I had to smile, because not a month before, some one had donated an old fashioned crib. We offered the treasure to them, and they were so excited to get the first of many pieces for their baby to be. So we put the crib aside, waiting for the baby’s arrival, and parted ways at the end of the morning full of joy and hope. Again, we didn’t see Cyiarra and Lincoln for a while, which was probably a good sign that they were doing well. Then, one Thursday evening while we were cleaning up after our meal, Lincoln showed up bringing the good news of a healthy baby girl. So we loaded the van with the crib and went to where Cyiarra and Lincoln were staying. While they were looking for their own place, the new family was staying in the spare bedroom of Cyiarra’s aunt’s apartment. There wasn’t much space, except for a mattress on the floor, clothes and now, a crib. It was clear that the joy and love they had for their daughter trumped any possible agitation they could have at being in such cramped quarters. After spending some time with them, I headed back to Cherith Brook. On the short drive back, I found myself full of joy, sadness and frustration. It was such a privilege to see the love they had for their new daughter, yet I had a deep sadness and frustration as well. I didn’t know if their love for their baby, and desire to give her a good life, would be enough to provide the life the baby deserved. What if Lincoln couldn’t get the job he needed to provide for his family? What if they couldn’t find a good apartment that was clean and safe? And then I thought, yes, their love is enough to give their baby the life she deserves. What is lacking is what I can offer, and better yet, what the church has to offer. Really, I think it is essential to our discipleship that we figure out what our part is. So as we look at Philippians 2. 1-11, I think the question is: what does it mean to have the same mind as Christ? Paul says, “who although He (Jesus) existed in the form of God, did not use his equality with God for his own advantage. But emptied himself of the status of deity, becoming a slave, having been born like any other human, and when he had become like one of us, he placed himself in solidarity with the humiliated, following the way of obedience to the point of death- even death on a cross. For this reason God gave Christ the highest place and the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and all will openly affirm that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God.” (Translation by Stan Saunders) I think there are a few keys to understanding this passage. First, what is this passage saying about Jesus’ Divinity. When Jesus came in the flesh, did he stop being divine? I think we would say a resounding no. Jesus, in the mystery of God, was both the human one and divine. What he did give up was the advantage of divinity. He did not use it for himself, but to serve humanity. One of my college professors liked to say that the way Jesus expressed the power he had was by giving it away. Another important part to look at is verse 8. The traditional translation says that “Jesus humbled himself”, but I don’t think the usual translation gets at the depth of who Jesus is. Paul is saying that Jesus is doing more than being humble, but rather He became a humiliated one. Look at who Jesus spent his life with, the sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, and the sick; he also died the most shameful way possible, by crucifixion. Truly Jesus was more than humble, he was the humiliated one. Then the passage finishes with the proclamation that the name of Jesus is the name of the Holy One. The one, who is above all creation, is Jesus; that we are all here because of Jesus. This conclusion to the hymn shows that Jesus expresses the divine character of God precisely by becoming human, a slave, having died by crucifixion, being a humiliated one. Paul is exhorting us to be amongst the marginalized, the humiliated, the rejected, like Jesus was. I believe that the mystery of God is found in those the world has cast aside, and that we find our identity in valuing others as more important than ourselves. So as the church, I think it is essential to give our power to those who have none. And I think I must learn to give what I can to Cyiarra, Lincoln, and their baby girl, giving us all a better glimpse of what it means for there to be no more “Jew or Greek, slave or free, black or white, rich or poor, but all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3.28)


“[Jesus] emptied himself of the status of deity, becoming a slave, having been born like any other human, and when he had become like one of us, he placed himself in solidarity with the humiliated...”
As Christians, our identity flows from Jesus. How he lived shows us how to live. Who he is lets us know who we are created to be. The Apostle Paul grasped this reality to his core, knowing that “it is Christ who lives in him” (Gal. 2.20) and he called others to “imitate me” (1 Cor. 4. 16) as he imitated Christ. The early Christians made it a central part of their worship to keep Christ-likeness constantly before them. In the beginning of Philippians 2, Greek scholars have found the rhythm and structure of a song, often called the kenosis hymn or the Christ hymn. I think we all have experienced the power of song, especially one that gets stuck in your head when you don’t want it to. Some of the early Christians used song to help keep their call to imitate Jesus constantly on their minds. I can just imagine some one reading Paul’s letter, then when chapter 2 comes, everyone singing along quietly while it is read aloud, repeating over and over again their call to have to “the same mind as Christ.” (Phil. 2.5)

Advent 2010 Hospitality Hospitality

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker


Women’s Day
by Jamie The last Wednesday of every month is special to me and I’m sure all the other ladies who come would agree with me. It’s like a day at the spa with all the pampering. There are massages and hair care, from coloring and highlights to a trim or styling. There are also manicures, pedicures, eye brow shaping, make up, and the aromatherapy is both relaxing and calming. Showering and hygiene products are even available, if needed.

The Day the Music Played
By Tim Brown I am seldom concerned that I know very little about most of the Cherith Brook guests we serve. While I am always pleased to I learn something of a guest’s personal history, or when I am able to share some of mine with one of them, I am usually quite satisfied to let familiarity occur at its own pace. Today was different. I wanted to know much more about two very talented guests – guests who brought live music to our breakfast. An old, upright piano sits at the west side our dining room. Its wooden veneer is cracked and its keys are grey. Until today, it was a silent, aging shrine of unfulfilled musical promise. Today, two of our guests released its full potential. The first was a bespectacled man in his mid-thirties. He had a streetperson’s appearance – long hair, unkempt beard, dirty ball cap and layered clothing. He finished his breakfast, moved to the piano stool, and began to play. I thought that he would plink around a little and retreat to his cup of coffee. It didn’t take long to recognize that he was a pianist. His medley of pop songs began with When I’m 64 and ended 20 minutes later with the theme from The Sting. He played familiar, foot-tapping music that was greeted with applause between songs. Once he stopped, another guest timidly took his place. She was a young, blond lady who was well-dressed, by street-folk standards. Her clean jeans, heavy sweater and knit cap, held in place by a large comb clasp at the back of her head, made her seem more staff-like than street-like, but she was quiet, uncertain and cautious. Once seated on the piano stool, however, there was nothing uncertain about her relationship with the piano. She played gospel and classical music for more than an hour. Conversation continued. French toast met syrup. Hot coffee flowed. And the young pianist played on, with her eyes fixed on the keys. She did not smile or scan the room for audience response or approval. She simply played beautiful music. As the morning wound down and the dining room cleared, the old piano sat silent. The serious, young pianist joined us at the big table during our time of reflection and Ashley, another Thursdaymorning volunteer, asked her a couple of get-acquainted questions but her answers were clipped and cryptic. The first player, who left the dining room several minutes earlier, was an equal mystery to me. I was distracted by curiosity about the two pianists during our closing prayer. Why was I so interested in these people? Did I assume that homeless people have no talent? Was latent condescension rearing its ugly head with success-driven questions like, “How did these talented people wind up in a place like this?” It is not hard to imagine childhood piano teachers thrilled by their potential or proud parents marveling at their musical promise. I can see both of them pole vaulting over the usual swamp of teen-age angst simply because they could play. Music was probably who they were then. It is who they are today. Today, they are also homeless. And, today, they made beautiful music for dozens of other homeless people.

Sketch of Women’s Day, by Elisabeth Rutschman.

At some point during the afternoon lunch is served--with the best homemade desserts ever tasted. Also, if I ever felt the need to talk about something there are about ten sets of ears ready to hear me and usually the conversations end with a solution to my need that I didn’t even see. My love and appreciation go out to all the women and volunteers of Cherith Brook. This includes the young ladies, Diana and Izabelle, who helped out this summer. Hats off for making me feel special.

Tim (right) and Gary (left) in the kitchen.

Maybe I really don’t want to know more about them at all. Maybe I just want a second chance to rub up against the joy that they brought to our café this morning. One thing is certain – serving the poor can make you wrestle with yourself. Of course, so can following Jesus but I don’t think He would mind if I just sat back, listened to the music, and let understanding occur at its own pace. .


Cherith Brook Catholic Worker Community

Advent 2010

by David Jansen

Is My Life My Own?
Micah Waters from Cherith Brook, a Catholic Worker community in Kansas City asks a question with profound implications for discerning our calling in community. Here is his question, somewhat simplified: “We are all discerning our call for the next covenanting year here at Cherith Brook. Last year we tried to discuss how we were feeling about our upcoming year, but we made the decision on our own and presented it to the community. This year we’re hoping to truly discern call in the midst of community and dialogue. Do you have any advice for us?” Micah, your question about discerning a call together in community is worthy of serious reflection. Your question, indeed, contains many questions: Am I called to this community or to another? Is God’s call to me the same as my heart’s desire? What about my life stage? Do I have enough life experience and am I mature enough to make a community commitment? What are my gifts? I want to be of service to the people and the mission of my community, so what does the community need of me? Do the others in community know me well enough to give counsel about my calling? How do I know a call is from God? In a brief essay I cannot answer all those questions directly, but a little history from the Bible and the life of the church might clarify the context of vocational discernment. promise that she will become the mother of the Messiah. Jesus went around Galilee calling persons out of their social and familial contexts to “come, follow me.” With his disciples, men and women, Jesus constituted an itinerant community of learning, healing, mutual service and witness to the in-breaking kingdom of God. Jesus proclaimed the paradox that by losing your life you will find it. He heightens this paradox by saying “greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for ones friends.” For most of his disciples this meant a martyrs death, but for us it will, more likely, be a life laid down year by year in faithful and imaginative service. Our calling is to be perfected in the love of Jesus in committed “one-another” relationships. When the Holy Spirit calls someone, that person is given a vocation in the mission of God, and the calling creates a people. Our calling, according to the New Testament is to be disciples of Jesus in community--as your covenant makes clear. This is something other than your job--which in the Apostle Paul’s case, was tent making. So, our main discernment is where, in which community of disciples, are we supposed to live out our calling--a calling which is basically the same for all Christians. But our context and gifts are unique. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church (chapter 12) he points out that God has given gifts to individuals for the building up of the Body of Christ. It is in the context of the church community that our gifts are expected to function first of all, and there we will find the meaning of our lives. By the third century of the Christian era we see individuals like Anthony, who was troubled by the lukewarm nature of Christianity, who felt called to the desert, to a more intentional way of discipleship apart from the distractions of city life. Soon countless others heard the call and the desert sprouted villages of hermits, spiritual athletes eager to pursue and surpass the holiness of St. Anthony. The movement developed certain excesses until leaders like Benedict began to organize those with a “vocation” into monastic communities. A key element of the novice period was to test whether persons were authentically called, and whether they meant to stick with their calling. Later, within the Catholic Church “vocation” came to mean a calling to the “religious life.” A two-tiered understanding arose for Christians that does not appear in the New Testament. The masses of Christians were not expected to keep the teachings of Jesus, but hoped to be saved by faithful participation in the sacraments and by living godly lives in the world as they were able. Those with “religious vocations” (like priests and monastics) however, were expected to live the teachings of Jesus with community support. They made special vows to live by the Sermon on the Mount, which sayings were often called “counsels of perfection.” At the time of the Protestant Reformation a fundamental change in the idea of vocation occurred when monasteries were abolished in Northern Europe, ending the medieval paradigm of “religious vocations.” Instead, Luther and others developed the idea of “vocation” as professions. Now every Christian has a vocation in society--butcher, baker, candlestick maker, etc. These vocations were not drawn from Jesus’ call to discipleship, nor from the life of the church community, but from the orders of nature--whatever it took to run society as it existed. By working at your job you were fulfilling Jesus’ call to love one another. Some of these vocations--like soldiers, spies, executioners--which served the dictates of the state, Luther characterized as a “strange love,” whence the movie title, Dr. Strange Love. Now in our day, this idea of “vocation,” in the hands of guidance counselors and major professors in a post-industrial capitalistic society, has grown to mean that there is a line of work in which you (as an autonomous individual) will find fulfillment--your identity in society and the meaning of your life. So your secular vocation becomes the answer to two cocktail party questions “Who are you?” and “What do you do?” This loads way more expectation on a profession than it can possibly fulfill. In fact, most people in our mammondriven society--do not have professions. They end up bouncing from one job to another according to what the economy needs and they can put up with. Many people are asking, “Is this all?” “Is this job worthy of the devotion of my life?” Not finding fulfillment in their work, they seek it in consumption. In this broken world, most of us will have to give some of our time to “tent making” like the apostle Paul. We can work hard and be grateful for jobs that use our skills well and provide for the support of our families and communities. We are especially blessed when these jobs are not too socially compromised or alienating. But when we need to accept such work, we can see ourselves in solidarity with Jesus (who toiled as a carpenter) and with the poor who often feel like wage slaves in the world’s system. However, in community, we do not need to agonize over these jobs as if they define who we are and why we are here. Early monastic communities found that four hours of manual labor a day was enough to feed, clothe and shelter the body, if we are content to live within the scope of our needs. Children and other dependent persons in community sometimes increase that load. But our calling is to find ways to minimize our dependence on the money economy, to serve one another directly without compensation wherever we can. One mission of (continued on page 8)


Cherith Brook workers sharing a Seder meal together.

The words “vocation” and “calling” share the same root as is clear in certain Biblical stories. The idea that God calls people first stands out with Abraham whose life is shaped by an amazing journey of faith, guided by the promises of God. The story of Samuel provides another example, a prophetic calling to hear and to speak the words that God gives. Samuel likewise was directed by the Spirit to call Saul, and then David to kingship. Mary is called by the angel Gabriel and hears the

Advent 2010 Peacemaking

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker


by Josh Armfield

Regaining Consciousness
record. The friends that I had in Iraq were mostly my age and had joined the Army for economic reasons. We spent a very depressing year together. Many of my friends experienced serious family issues such as divorce while simultaneously dealing with living in a combat zone on the other side of the world. Some soldiers became suicidal. Most soldiers I was with believed that the war in Iraq was wrong but we had no choice but to obey orders. After all, there is no room for conscience in the Military (I find it ironic that the Army is such a totalitarian organization, but it redaily defends a government that claims to be a democracy). In Iraq and since I have been home I have continued to ask myself, “Where is my allegiance? Is it to the church or to the Army? And if a follower of Christ owes his/her allegiance to Christ and his church, then where is the church these days? Why are so many churches encouraging young men and women to go and give allegiance to the Military? Why is the church so complicit in sending men and women to do violence to the enemy, as well as to themselves and innocent people?” Out of this searching and questioning period I have found a new church called Cherith Brook, a small church that is devoted to fostering community, practicing hospitality, and resisting war and violence. After a few years of participating and living with this church, I decided that it was very important to apply for Conscience Objection in the Army. I could no longer be silent and wait till my contract was up. I needed the Army to know that I will not participate in war. Fortunately as an IRR (Inactive Ready Reserve) soldier, having been removed from training for some time, the process for CO was much less threatening as compared to what my friend Jake experienced. I cannot claim to be as courageous as most other Conscientious Objectors that endured much persecution, but I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. In both real and symbolic ways I have been freed from the bondage of the idolatry of allegiance to the Military. And it is cause for celebration! Fear controls many of us. Fear runs rampant in the Army, convincing many soldiers that they have no other choice but to choose violence. Jesus told his disciples that the Truth will set you free (John 8:32). We are all enslaved to lies that the world has told us to believe, and we must choose the side of truth. When we begin to come to our senses and see the destruction that a war culture has created, the world threatens us with lies to keep us from freedom. But we must take action on the side of Truth. Camilo Mejia, an Iraq veteran and Conscientious Objector, reflects on his experience in his book Road from ar Ramadi. He says in the end, “I now know exactly what it was that so empowered me as I left my trial. Though I was handcuffed as I walked down the steps of the courthouse to the police vehicle, that was the moment that I gained my freedom. I understood then that freedom is not something physical, but a condition of the mind and of the heart. On that day I learned that there is no greater freedom than the freedom to follow one’s conscience. That day I was free, in a way that I had never been before.”

On August 31, 2010, after nearly eight years of service, I was discharged from the United States Army Reserve by reason of Conscientious Objection. Many have asked me why? If you are a Conscientious Objector why did you join the Army in the first place? What’s wrong with war anyway? Isn’t it necessary? And why would you even apply for discharge as a CO if your term of service is almost up anyway? The answer for all of these questions is Conscience. I was eighteen years old when I enlisted in the Army Reserves on September 28, 2002 and I had every reason to join the Army. I grew up in a family with a military background; I needed money for college; I didn’t know what I was doing with my life and I wanted adventure. I also had every reason to think joining the Army would be an honorable and courageous thing to do that others would think highly of me for. I was encouraged to join from every side: family, friends, church and school. Looking back on it now, it amazes me that I can’t remember receiving any discouragement from anyone about joining the Army, not even Christians. I was told that it would be a great opportunity to share my faith (while I’m learning to shoot and kill people). The recruiters said that if I was in school the chances of me being deployed were slim. So I was caught off guard when I was mobilized to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for deployment in the summer of 2005. But I obeyed orders (I was a good soldier) and spent three and a half months in Ft. Sill with my unit before deploying to Iraq. This was when my conscience finally started to kick in. We were actually training for War. We were training to Kill. And all of us were going along with it without much questioning, except for one. I became friends with a soldier in my unit named Jake who told our Commanding Officer and First Sergeant that he would not carry a weapon or participate in training to kill. Jake filed for Conscientious Objection and in the mean time received hell for it: demotion, loss of pay, loss of weekend passes, and loss of friendship and respect. I will never believe that Conscientious Objectors are cowards. In fact, the few CO’s that I have met have been the most courageous people that I have known in the Army. Many Conscientious Objectors are sentenced to jail time under Uniform Code of Military Justice. Most Conscientious Objectors are at least threatened with jail time and are demoted. I asked Jake the same questions that people have asked me. Isn’t military service courageous? Isn’t war necessary? Why did you join the Army anyway? And he asked me: What do you think Jesus meant when he said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matt. 5:44)?” I spent a year in Iraq questioning my participation in war, terrified that it was very likely that I would have to do violence toward someone. It was the first time in my life that I found little to no Christian community. We had chapel but that was not what I was looking for and not what I needed. And Jesus’ words “Love your enemies” played in my mind like a broken

Camilo Mejia during his deployment in Iraq. Courtesy of Camilo Mejia.

I always tell people that the Army made me a Pacifist, and that’s something that I struggle with everyday, to love my enemies. But Jesus has called us to this way of life, a life of loving our enemies. I have learned that the first step to loving enemies is to stop killing them, so I have become a Conscientious Objector. But you don’t have to join the army to become a Conscientious Objector. Christ has called all Christians to be peacemakers, and if we want to see an end to war, we must become Conscientious Objectors. We must not compromise our allegiance to Christ and his church with Patriotism or Nationalism. As we resist war, we must be willing to risk a loss of physical freedom for a deeper moral and spiritual freedom. As Christians we have found freedom in Christ, not in America. As Paul tells us in Galatians 5:13-15, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” I especially encourage all soldiers to stop obeying orders to kill. The more we begin to resist the powers, the less control they will have over us. Let us begin to teach our children the ways of peace and nonviolent resistance. Let us recruit peacemakers and not soldiers. Let us celebrate Conscientious Objection together and as we do this I think it may become easier for us to answer Christ’s call to “Love your enemies.” Find information on Conscientious Objection here:


Cherith Brook Catholic Worker Community

Advent 2010 Poetry & Prayer

House Notes
by Jodi Garbison Growth is a word I use to describe our community. We experienced a big garden with lots of produce and a house full of community members, guests and interns. With the help of many people and lots of donated time and resources we were able to accomplish many projects that were once only ideas – we replaced the rotting porch on the house and the roof above it, we created a storage “hallway” off the alley for things like extra wood and compost piles, Henri built a tree house, we beautified the shower waiting room with trim, fresh paint and drywalled an interior wall and we insulated the two apartments. But growth isn’t always something you can see. the door in the morning to 60-70 people has felt overwhelming. The increase in numbers is due to many factors like the economy, the time of the month, word on the street about the “shower house”, etc. But we realize that a lot of the reason we are seeing more people at showers is due to the growth of the city. Ever since the new Power and Light District was established it has continued to push people to the fringes and closer to the Northeast Kansas City area. The city and people who frequent the Power and Light district don’t want to see or smell someone who is homeless so all of the resources for such people have been re-centralized to a “new” location and further away from sight. Instead of growth in numbers at showers we desire growth to be reflected in the deepening of friendships here and people experiencing a sense of belonging in this city and especially in churches. We are growing and deepening our commitment to God’s call on our life – that could be here at Cherith Brook or elsewhere. We try hard each year to understand together what this means. We have begun this process individually and as a group. We are hopeful as we enter this next covenant year of sharing all in common and working toward God’s shalom through peacemaking and works of mercy. Our desire for growth is not to have a big community but rather a community rooted and responding to our understanding of God’s call on our life – individually and communally. Growth may look different than you envision but we pray that as you prepare for Advent you would experience growth in hope and expectation of encountering Christ – God’s fulfilled promise.

God’s Autumn
by Steve Sheridan My brothers and sisters in Christ live here in KC in a society and culture that is ever restless. We—you and I always seek and are very eager for more mountains to climb. Yet we—you and I don’t want to know ourselves as Christ knows us. Our culture is seeking daily happiness through more and more consumption of possessions. Can we—you and I live on less that $1.25 a day that the poor in Haiti, Africa and other parts of the earth are forced to survive on? Teach all of us, O Lord, to appreciate each cup of water that we drink, share more and consume less. Lord help us, you and I, that our competition can cease and the abundance of God’s grace can fill our hearts, minds, feet and hands. Pray we—you and I, know contentment and be loving and respectful of all creatures, realizing this is all God’s holy creation. May we—you and I find the autumn of contentment. Take joy and delight in the abundance of the simple joys of life. And deeply appreciate every new color and wonderment of this day—God’s Autumn.

Poetry & Prayer

Manicures at Women’s Day.

We have had a fruitful year in many regards and are thankful for another year together. We are growing in our knowledge and commitment to stand in the way of the new nuclear parts plant being built with Kansas City’s tax dollars. We have been spending time and energy (even singing and dancing) in order to raise awareness to the fact that not only is J.E. Dunn doing the construction for a new nuclear parts complex at Botts Rd. and Hwy 150, but no one is bothering to clean up the contaminated old site on Bannister Rd. No one is noticing that many people are sick and/or dying from the many years of working at the Bannister location. Three people from Cherith Brook were arrested this summer and charged with trespassing on “city owned”, public property. Instead of more nuclear parts production we desire growth to reflect a hopeful future. We are growing in our numbers at showers every morning. This is certainly not our goal. We have always wanted to be/stay small. Although this isn’t something we control, we are trying to keep the focus on relationships. Opening

All Creations
by Alta Newlun To see the beauty in nature, is to know the beauty of life. With all his creations. Big and small from big sunflowers to tiny ants, learn to notice them. Then you’ll learn to see the World. And the amazing things in it.

Raqueline and Henry visiting the “shower house.”

Advent 2010 Photos of Friends & Family

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker



Cherith Brook Catholic Worker Feature Article Continued

Advent 2010

Room for Christ
(continued from page 1) one hand’s breadth from the routine of their lives to go to Christ. Even the gifts that the wise men brought have in themselves an obscure recompense and atonement for what would follow later in this Child’s life. For they brought gold, the king’s emblem, to make up for the crown of thorns that He would wear; they offered incense, the symbol of praise, to make up for the mockery and the spitting; they gave Him myrrh, to heal and soothe, and He was wounded from head to foot and no one bathed his wounds. The women at the foot of the cross did it too, making up for the crowd who stood by and sneered. We can do it too, exactly as they did. We are not born too late. We do it by seeing Christ and serving Christ in friends and strangers, in everyone we come in contact with. While almost no one is unable to give some hospitality or help to others, those for whom it is really impossible are not debarred from giving room to Christ, because, to take the simplest of examples, in those they live with or work with is Christ disguised. All our life is bound up with other people; Community Continued for almost all of us happiness and unhappiness are conditioned by our relationship with other people. What a simplification of life it would be if we forced ourselves to see that everywhere we go is Christ, wearing out socks we have to darn, eating the food we have to cook, laughing with us, silent with us, sleeping with us. All this can be proved, if proof is needed, by the doctrines of the Church. We can talk about Christ’s Mystical Body, about the vine and the branches, about the Communion of Saints. But Christ Himself has proved it for us, and no one has to go further than that. For He said that a glass of water given to a beggar was given to Him. He made heaven hinge on the way we act towards Him in his disguise of commonplace, frail and ordinary human beings. Did you give me food when I was hungry? Did you give me something to drink when I was thirsty? Did you take me in when I was homeless and a stranger? Did you give me clothes when my own were all rags? Did you come to see me when I was sick or in prison or in trouble? And to those who say, aghast, that they never had a chance to do such a thing, that they lived two thousand years too late, he will say again what they had the chance of knowing all their lives, that if these things were done for the very least of his brethren they were done for Him. For a total Christian the goad of duty is not needed--always prodding him to perform this or that good deed. It is not a duty to help Christ, it is a privilege. Is it likely that Martha and Mary sat back and considered that they had done all that was expected of them--is it likely that Peter’s mother-in-law grudgingly served the chicken she had meant to keep till Sunday because she thought it was “her duty”? She did it gladly: she would have served ten chickens if she had them. If that is the way they gave hospitality to Christ it is certain that is the way it should still be given. Not for the sake of humanity. Not because it might be Christ who stays with us, comes to see us, takes up our time. Not because these people remind us of Christ, as those soldiers and airmen remind the parents of their son, but because they are Christ, asking us to find room for Him exactly as He did at the first Christmas.

Is My Life My Own?
(continued from page 4) Christian community is to explore common work, expanding the zone of mammon-free giving and receiving motivated by love. At Reba we understand our primary calling “to be a community of love and discipleship, and to nurture other such communities,” so the world can see what the kingdom of God looks like in tangible social relationships. Peter Maurin coined many pithy expressions of our vocation: “To help create a new society in the shell of the old.” To build “a path from where we are to where we ought to be.” He grasped that our calling is a revolutionary one. Gerhard Lohfink (from the Integrierte Gemeinde in Germany) has expressed a deeply mature understanding of vocation that raised my eyebrows when I first read it. “Unless some people give their whole lives, community is impossible.” I think this explains, in part, why Reba has been around for more than fifty years. Monastic communities, who have thrived for centuries, focused this gift in the vow of stability. With stability, relationships can be reconciled, all the other gifts flourish, and the world can begin to see what the kingdom of God looks like in a mammon-free, condemnation-free zone of adventuresome hospitality and witness. The call to follow Jesus is a call to die to self. Our life and our gifts are not our possessions at all. They are gifts from God to bless others, and in so doing we can trust that we will be blessed as well. At the same time, the community has a commitment to the individual, to see that s/he flourishes in every way. The community is supposed to ask, “What are your developmental needs? What are your gifts and how can we support them for the service of the kingdom and for your own joy?” Sometimes this will mean letting someone go to another community or to a setting where they are a better fit. Just as we renounce possessions in material things, we can not possess people either-even though this is a real temptation in community. At Reba we make a commitment “to stay or to be sent as God leads us” with the discernment of the community. So there is a dialectic here of mutual submission, of individuals giving themselves completely to Jesus and to the community in service--perhaps for a whole life-time; and at the same time, the community seeks the good of the individual for the sake of a joyful community in witness to the world. This kind of submission is not passive. We each have spiritual homework that the community cannot do for us. You might consider, “In what ways am I losing myself, and finding myself?” Times of retreat and spiritual guidance can be important to recognize the gifts God has given you and the contexts in which they have come alive. What hinders you from giving yourself fully in this context? At the same time, you (and the whole community) might look on your sisters and brothers with new eyes, seeing and affirming the gifts that God has given them for the task of “building a new society within the shell of the old.” Sometimes the call of an individual becomes a new ministry for the whole community. I spent a decade administering a dream of Julius Belser at Reba, to provide asylum for hundreds of Central American refugees fleeing persecution in the 1980’s. From four decades of experience in Christian community, I can testify that where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name, he is there and will give guidance for the next step as we make an experiment of our lives together.

Advent 2010 Peacemaking

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker


New Nuclear Weapon Plant in KC
by Jay Coglan Contrary to President Obama’s rhetoric about working toward a future nuclear weapons-free world, the U.S. is spending billions rebuilding the complex of facilities it would need to make new nuclear weapons. Under the rubric of “Modernizing” aging and contaminated buildings used to build up the nuclear stockpile during the Cold War, the National Nuclear Security Administration is planning to build vastly expensive new facilities in order to have capabilities for which it has yet to fully justify the need. These WMD boondoggles include a new facility for enabling ramped-up production of the nuclear weapons’ plutonium pit “primaries” at Los Alamos, NM; a new facility at Oak Ridge, TN to manufacture highly enriched uranium “secondaries”; and a new Kansas City Plant in Missouri that will manufacture and/or procure the thousands of nonnuclear components that transform nuclear explosives into deliverable weapons of mass destruction. What is KCP doing? The Kansas City Plant (KCP) is the most productive of the eight sites in the research and production complex of the Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). KCP produces and/or procures 85% of all nuclear weapons components both by type and quantity. It specializes in nonnuclear components, such as radars, guidance systems, arming, firing and fusing sets and reservoirs for tritium (a radioactive gas used to boost the destructive power of nuclear weapons). KCP boasts that the Plant’s workload is the heaviest it has been in 20 years, which is expected to last until 2015. This is astonishing given that the height of the Cold War nuclear build-up was over 20 years ago. What does it cost to rebuild the nuclear weapons complex? The two new weapons facilities for handling plutonium and uranium mentioned above are now estimated to cost U.S. taxpayers up to $5 billion each. However, the new KCP will be different. It is being built and operated by a private developer, CenterPoint Zimmer (CPZ) LLC. This limited liability corporation is composed of the Kansas City magnate Zimmer Real Estate Services and Chicago-based CenterPoint Property Trust. Zimmer “happened” to own the 165 acres of farmland that the federal government chose as the site for new Plant. Although the City’s Planned Industrial Expansion Authority (PIEA) declared that the site was “blighted,” CPZ sold the land to the City for an estimated $26,000 an acre, when regional farmland typically sells for $2,000 to $4,000 an acre, one very tidy profit for “blighted” land! Who is paying for the new KCP? The PIEA declared the site “blighted” so that construction of this new federal nuclear weapons production plant could be subsidized by KCMO municipal bonds. The Missouri state government created Planned Industrial Expansion Authorities to counter urban/industrial blight and spur economic development. The PIEAs’ charter is to recommend to city councils whether or not tax abatements and/or bonds should be implemented to fight blight. The enabling legislation that created the PIEAs declares that Missouri municipal governments can act positively on a PIEA recommendation only when “the development of such area or areas is necessary in the interest of the public health, safety, morals or welfare of the residents of such city.” American cities are hurting financially. Some are leasing parking meters and tollways to investors in order to get cash. KCMO is closing hospitals and schools and laying off city workers, but nevertheless managed to issue nearly $700 million in municipal bonds to subsidize a new federal nuclear weapons production plant. The KCMO Council approved municipal bonds in the name of saving 2,100 jobs in the local nuclear weapons industry (with one admirable dissenting vote-of-conscience by Councilman Ed Ford). The nuclear weapons industry is arguably immoral, with the Vatican declaring, “Nuclear weapons are incompatible with the peace we seek for the 21st century. They cannot be justified. They deserve condemnation.” Further, the nuclear weapons industry has adversely affected the health of hundreds of workers at the old Plant. According to recent findings by the inspector general for the General Services Administration, the federal employees responsible for environmental monitoring at the old contaminated KCP site were lax in their duties and misleading to the public about conditions there. Another dead end? Local Kansas City citizens should ask why the KCMO municipal government is not prioritizing sustainable green jobs for these KCP and other skilled workers, instead of subsidizing a shrinking, politically vulnerable industry whose purpose is to produce weapons of mass destruction! With respect to the public health of Kansas City citizens, according to U.S. Dept. of Labor statistics, 1,993 former KCP workers or their survivors have filed health claims seeking compensation (sadly, only 211 have been paid to date). The KCMO municipal government will own the new KCP after construction. As far as we know this is globally unprecedented: to have a city own a federal nuclear weapons production plant. The PIEA will then lease it to CenterPoint Zimmer Holding LLC, who as sub-landlord, will lease it to the private developers CenterPoint Zimmer LLC. CPZ will then sub-sublease the new Plant to the federal General Services Administration (GSA), who acts as landlord for numerous federal properties (including the old KCP in the Banister Federal Complex). GSA will then sub-sub-sublease (really!) this new federal nuclear weapons production plant to the NNSA. Got that? It’s way convoluted. Because the new KCP is being built and operated by “private developers,” who stand to profit many times over, this new federal nuclear weapons components production plant is not included in the NNSA’s annual budget. It is therefore outside of typical Congressional review and authorization, and perhaps would have been rejected. It is a very sweet deal for Centerpoint Zimmer, who first sold the land to the PIEA; then is subsidized by the sale of municipal bonds to build the Plant; then is granted a 20-year lease-to-purchase by the PIEA in which it pays the bonds back with guaranteed income from the NNSA; and after that owns the Plant outright. During this 20-year term the NNSA will pay $1.2 billion in lease costs, not a good deal for the American taxpayer!

Blockade at the site of the new KC nuclear weapons manufacturing facility.

Leaving aside the question whether the new Plant is needed to begin with, the NNSA has repeatedly justified it by claiming it will save $100 million/year in operational costs compared to the old Plant. However, $37 million of that results from lowering the security requirements at the Kansas City Plant to reflect the simple fact that it does not have large inventories of nuclear materials. A new Plant is not needed for that. Even the developers were wary. After the first round of bidding for the project went bust, the solicitation was restructured with “specific costcutting advice from CenterPoint.” This perhaps means that the contract was hollowed-out in order to make a second round of bidding (continued on page 10)


Cherith Brook Catholic Worker Festival of Shelters Reflection

Advent 2010 Peacemaking Continued

Go to the Poor
by Eric Sundquist Proclaim good news to the poor. Proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. Liberate the oppressed. Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. When our Teacher started spreading his message, these are the words he used. He didn’t say, “Go get the powerful, the well-educated, the rich, the strong.” He instead focused his energies on his message for the poor, the slaves, the blind, the oppressed. When I visit Cherith Brook I see the same focus to serve those who might not have much clout in today’s society. A good portion of those who visit Cherith Brook throughout the week spend the nights in homeless shelters or on the streets of Kansas City. During my three years working in homeless services I have heard a lot of people talking about the homeless, but relatively few actually talking with the homeless. That is what motivated me and others around the Cherith Brook community to do the unrespectable action of giving up our comfortable homes and beds for one night and staying on the streets. We wanted to listen to the voices that often don’t have an audience. throughout the night. We visited “Jurassic Park,” a popular hangout among drug users. Something felt not normal about intentionally approaching people hanging out under the shadow of a tree in a drug park, but I went along with it and learned, again, that the world is full of real people. My simple stereotypes of drug users, panhandlers, prostitutes, alcoholics, and hustlers are not accurate. We shared potato chips and stayed to listen to their real-people stories for about an hour. My skeptical attitude returned time after time throughout the night, and each time God gently reminded me of his image present in everyone we spoke with. One time we approached a group of gentlemen camped out in the crook of a church downtown. They had been drinking heavily and were happy for some company. We sat down and accepted the prayers of one of the companions. After some time, one in our group pulled out his Bible and read: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. In their book “The Word on the Street: Performing the Scriptures in the Urban Context,” Stanley P. Saunders and Charles L. Campbell teach that the context of the streets can inform the message of Scripture, and the context of Scripture can inform the message of the streets. “The physical context of the streets helps us see things in the text in fresh ways, raising different issues and questions...The biblical text [likewise] helps us read our context in different ways. The Scriptures unmask the truth about the world around us, especially when the world and the text are clearly juxtaposed. In contexts of oppression, suffering and death, reading Scripture not only unmasks reality but is an act of resistance.” Hearing these familiar words in such an unfamiliar setting had a mystical effect on me which is hard to reduce to words. God opened my eyes so I could see the light of those beautiful souls in front of me. Simultaneously my heart was broken to see the darkness which was surrounding and trying to make a claim on our brothers on the street. It was an experience which will not soon be forgotten. When I got back to Cherith Brook the next morning I was tired, hungry, cold, sore, thirsty, cranky and really needed to pee! But I was grateful because it is when we come out of our comfort zones that we really have ears to hear. I may be as slow to learn as the disciples were, but that is not a deterrent to our Teacher, who gave us his Spirit to guide us to the truth--not immediately, not over one night, but gently one step at a time.

KC Plant
successful. In any event, (surprise!) CPZ was awarded the contract. Paradoxically, NNSA also started asking Congress for around $100 million in “transition costs” for moving to the new Plant in each fiscal year 2009-2015, despite earlier claims that the new KCP would not cost the federal government any up front money. Was this a good plan? Leasing is more costly over the long term than constructing and owning a facility outright. The federal Government Accountability Office found that the break-even point of construction costs vs. lease costs for the new KCP is 22 years. However, since Life Extension Programs for existing nuclear weapons (for which the Kansas City Plant is the main supplier of components) are scheduled to last until at least 2042, the new Plant could be operational for 40-60 years. Therefore the federal government could pay another $1.2 to $2.4 billion in lease costs to the private developers. The NNSA wrote in its recent Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan that “because the new facility will be leased, there will be no capital investment and NNSA will not be burdened by costs for legacy disposition should the mission ever be discontinued.” The “legacy” of the old Plant is one of serious contamination with cancer-causing volatile organic compounds (mostly industrial solvents) and PCBs, for which NNSA has formulated no comprehensive cleanup plan. NNSA plans to be fully operating in the new Plant in a couple of years while in effect abandoning the old Plant. The Kansas City municipal government is counting on reusing the existing Plant for local economic development, which probably cannot take place without comprehensive cleanup costing more than $250 million. Kansas City subsidies for a new nuclear weapons production plant reward the federal government even as the federal government ignores its moral responsibility to protect its citizens and their future economic prosperity through full environmental restoration of the old Plant. The federal government should be cleaning up its nuclear weapons complex, not building it up!

At Cherith Brook before spending the night on the streets of the Historic Northeast.

Now, even though I interact with homeless individuals regularly at my “day job,” I have to admit that there were times that night when I felt less than comfortable. I remember walking up to the intersection of Prospect and Independence Avenue and two men at the bus stop started to get up. I glanced down the street looking for a bus, hoping they were just getting up to catch their ride. Instead, as we approached they asked us for money. We gave them the little food we had acquired and sat down to have communion. For some reason, it hadn’t occurred to me that these were real people with whom a conversation could be shared. But as soon as we sat down and started listening, they went from slightly intimidating hustlers to hungry people that are just trying to get their lives together. I had the same experience time after time

For more information, visit: See Nuclear Watch’s interactive map: Please support these local organizations working on Kansas City Plant (KCP) issues: Physicians for Social Responsibility-Kansas City, PeaceWorks Kansas City and the Cherith Brook Catholic Worker House.

Advent 2010 Festival of Shelters Reflection Festival of Shelters Reflection

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker


How To Help

Night on What Do You See? the Streets
by Taryn Summers by Elisabeth Rutschman “What do you see in me?” Johnny asked me as we were standing in front It was past midnight when we finally found of the bakery where he often panhandles on Independence Avenue. Johnny our cardboard boxes and were walking up became an impromptu tour guide for our group of six spending the night on the the street to find a place to rest our heads. streets during the Festival of Shelters. Again he insisted, “What do you see in me? The streets were pretty quiet by now, but They (Josh and Elizabeth) see something in my eyes that I don’t see.” I hadn’t we passed a few people waiting for the bus, been a part of their conversation up to this point so I didn’t know exactly what working in a taco stand or just strolling he was expecting to hear, but I told him that I saw “goodness, joy and humor”. He down the street. Outside one of the buildings shook his head and said, “No. I don’t see that.” When we asked him what he saw we passed, a woman was sitting on the porch. in himself, he replied, “I see hate, anger…”, then he stopped and stared ahead as if She asked us where we were heading. We he was remembering something from his past. He shared several stories about his told her we were looking for a place to sleep. life on the streets, most of which were characterized by violence. He told us how he She nodded and said she knew what it was constantly had to look out for his friends and family. We insisted that these stories like; she was often in this situation. Then confirmed his nature as a care-taker, but he playfully dismissed the idea. Several she said something that really stayed with times throughout the night Johnny would say things like “that’s how it works on me. “At least you have each other.” When we the streets” or “I’m from the streets…this is who I am”, specifically referring to the asked her if she had family, she said yes and violence. But just as many times he asked us to repeat what we saw in him. As I fell into tears. She told us they were living thought about it later, I realized that our friend was getting two very different pichere in Kansas City but weren’t on speaking tures of reality; one which was dominated by violence and in which he was of little terms. The meeting with this woman really value and one which valued him greatly and saw him as a care-taker and friend. touched me. It made me think about how At the time, I didn’t think much about the significance of his repetitive questionmuch more vulnerable one is when alone. ing, but it was as if he had seen himself through the lens of the streets for so long that he needed to hear who he really was over and over if he was going to believe it. Although I don’t claim to know the effect of our words on our friend, I have become convinced of the power of seeing glimpses of the resurrection of Jesus in our every day lives. In other words, if we believe the good news Jesus proclaimed, that God is making all things new and that he was the beginning of that restoration, then we must be able to see signs of the new creation here and now. Thomas Merton spoke of “a hidden wholeness” in all visible things. I believe that this phrase points to the restoration promised in Jesus. As the words suggest, it may not be easily seen, but wholeness is there if we are willing to look for it. Our friend Johnny certainly had trouble seeing the good things that we saw in him and I imagine he is similar to many of our friends on the streets who have been told, either directly with words or indirectly with condescending glances, dehumanThe shelter for the exploited woman was one of four shelters erected for the Festival of izing ordinances or altogether disregard, that they are worth very little as human beings. But that is the view Shelters this year. of the world without the hope of Jesus. If we claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, then we must change the way we see. We must begin to by Travis Krogman see the kingdom of God breaking in around us and call it forth in our communities, The experience I had during that 12 hour our brothers and sisters and ourselves. stay on the streets was definitely worth If I would have driven down Independence Avenue two years ago there is no ever y second. I couldn’t believe how many question as to what my eyes would have seen; a homeless man, a prostitute, a drug people I met that night who had faith and dealer, an overall hopeless place. On that same street today I would be reminded a belief in God that I have never really of the generous hospitality shown to us by our friend Johnny who longed to see experienced before. An almost universal the goodness that we perceived in him. I would think of the communion meal we comment was made that night about how shared together on the street corner and the men who offered us pizza rolls and a grateful people were for the ability to wake free Coca-Cola. I would remember a kind woman named Mary who sat on a porch up each morning and how getting up each step in fifty degree weather wearing only a t-shirt waiting for a friend so she could morning was all anyone could really ask for. have a place to stay for the night. My vision of this place and the people who call I know a lot of people say stuff like that on it home is no longer characterized by fear and hopelessness. It is now filled with a day to day basis but you could tell that memories of friends and hosts who showed great kindness and hospitality to the the people we visited who were in difficult strangers in their midst. I can now see the “hidden wholeness” right in front of me situations like homelessness really meant and can only hope to respond with words that ring true of the kingdom of God the it. next time I am asked, “What do you see?”

House Needs
Coffee, Sugar, Creamer Vinegar (gallon size for cleaning) Baking Soda Dish Soap Toilet Paper Milk, Eggs, Butter Black Beans Salt & Pepper Shakers Folding Tables (standard size) Energy Saving Light Bulbs Trailer (flat bed) Industrial Refrigerator Greenhouse/Hoophouse

Shower Needs
Tennis Shoes (men’s & women’s) Jeans & Belts (men’s 30-34, women’s 4-6, 16-18) Men’s Underwear (size 32-38) Stocking caps & gloves Women’s Panties (esp. 4-7) & Bras Shampoo & Conditioner Coats (size large +) Deodorant & Razors Tube Socks Foot Powder Toothpaste & Brushes Tampons Ibuprofen & Tylenol Laundry Soap (high efficiency) Stamps Long underwear (same as jeans sizes)

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker
3308 East 12th Street Kansas City, MO 64127 (816) 241-8047

Our Who Are We? Schedule
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. Showers Prayers Community Meal Sacraments Women’s Day Haircuts Group Workday M, T, Th, F M, W, F Th Monthly, 2nd Sun Monthly, Last Wed Monthly, 2nd Sat Monthly, 2nd Sat 8 am–noon 6:30–7 am 5–7 pm 6:30 pm 11:30 am–2 pm 9–11 am 9 am–1 pm

Upcoming Events
December 20 - January 5 Cherith Brook Closed for the holidays February 18, 7 - 8:30pm Clarification of thought April 22 Urban Stations of the Cross April 29 - May 2 CW Faith & Resistance Retreat in KC