Monthly Archives: February 2012

What if?

The Ecumenical Women’s worship service at the Commission on the Status of Women today focused on  the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well.

I find myself wondering . . . what if, after that transformational encounter, the woman took a walk down the Jericho road . . . and she followed a priest . . . and she followed a Levite . . . and there was a person mugged and beaten by the side of the road . . .

What if?


Leave a comment

Filed under Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

If the women around the world were paid for their work . . .

My life revolves around the Commission on the Status of Women for the next two weeks. The Commission meets to recommend policies that seek to increase equality between women and men and enhance women’s rights. Nongovernmental organizations come to the meeting of the Commission to advocate for positions and ideas from their particular perspective. The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations hosts the Presbyterian participants – more than 40 people this year! We work in partnership with Ecumenical Women. Yesterday, Ecumenical Women held an orientation for about 180 women and men from the various member organizations.

I caught a few quotes worth sharing:

It’s some times easier to stay at home than to enter the struggle. Easier, but not better.

  • Ana Chã, Brazil

You know what, I am that statistic. When we talk about statistics, we are talking about people.

  • Michelle Deshong, Australia

I wish I could find that teacher who told me I would never amount to anything and tell him where I am speaking.

  • Michelle Deshong, Australia

If women around the world were paid for the work they do, they would be millionaires

  • I didn’t catch the name of the person

Grace Bickers, a Columbia University student who volunteers with us, took the picture at the orientation.

Leave a comment

Filed under Human Rights, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

Commission on the Status of Women


 Between 2,000 and 4,000 women. And a few men.

Those will be my companions for the next two weeks.

Within that group, my circle will likely focus on 40 or so Presbyterians and some of our ecumenical partners..

The 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (“CSW” or “the Commission”) begins on Monday, February 27.

For Presbyterian participants things started last night with an orientation at the Church of the Covenant.

The CSW is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. Comprised of representatives of 45 UN Member States, the Commission gathers every year at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.

There are a number of places to follow the CSW including Swords into Plowshares where I blog for my work with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.

Watch the plenary sessions of the Commission on UN Webcast.

Other sources of information include:

This morning we will take part in an orientation with our partners in Ecumenical Women.

Thanks to Grace Bickers who volunteers at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations for the picture.


Filed under Human Rights, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

W is for Walking


The primary means of transport on the ranch,
affords opportunity for
soaking in the views
and more.

25 October 2009

Leave a comment

Filed under Ghost Ranch People, Photo

V is for Van

They carry class members on field trips;
Youth Service Corps participants to work sites;
College Staff on recreational outings;
opera aficionados to Santa Fe; and
protestors to Los Alamos.

13 July 2011

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Ghost Ranch People, Photo

Khader Adnan, Bobby Sands, Hunger Strike

Check out this music video: Khader Adnan, Bobby Sands. Thanks to Sami Awad and Dottie Villesvik for calling it to my attention.

It addresses a situation – an event – a moment – a witness that weighs on me, in large part because I am so late : Khader Adnan has entered the 64th day of a hunger strike. Doctors say he is at immediate risk of death.

His hunger strike began in mid-December when he was arrested by Israeli forces at his West Bank home. The BBC notes that: “The 33-year-old baker is being held under what Israeli law calls administrative detention, meaning he can be held without trial or charges indefinitely if he is deemed to be a security threat. Israel says he is a security threat. Its high court of justice has scheduled a petitions hearing regarding the case for Thursday.” Reports are that he is member of Islamic Jihad, which Israel and others name as a terrorist group.

Khader Adnan’s situation and response call to mind the 1981 hunger strike in Northern Ireland. Bobby Sands started first and died after 66 days. Nine others followed.

The parallels haunt me. I struggle to understand and express my thoughts and feelings. This song does so far better than I am able to do at the moment:

Khader Adnan grew up near Jenin City
You could say he was a product of his time

Because you can’t break a man who won’t be broken
Like in Belfast not many years ago

See you along the Trail.


1 Comment

Filed under Human Rights

U is for Ultimate

At meal time,
and many other times,
an Ultimate player
can find a game
with a view
outside the Ghost Ranch Dining Hall.

9 August 2008

Leave a comment

Filed under Ghost Ranch People, Photo

T is for Teamwork

From the permanent staff
the class leaders and members
the college staff
the Service Corps
the planning team for the 2011 Peacemaking Seminar,
teamwork and cooperation are hallmarks
of the Ghost Ranch experience.

So are smiles!

24 September 2011

Leave a comment

Filed under Ghost Ranch People

The People v. the State

In my musings on the death penalty, I have often used the expression: “the State of X will execute Y” at such a time. Tonight, I took a few moments to explore the People of Faith against the Death Penalty Website.

On their list of upcoming executions, they use the word “people” in place of the word “State.”

The word “State” works on some levels – the State establishes and enforces the laws. The State conducts the trial. The State maintains the prisons where those awaiting execution and held and then put to death.

But – in a democracy, laying aside for a moment the serious conversations that need to take place about the nature and reality of democracy in our country – in a democracy, the line between people and State blurs. As far as I can tell, PFDAP always uses the construction, “the people of State X.” I have pondered the words since. That plays effectively on that blurred line.

One of my prime objections to the death penalty is that when the State kills, it does so in the name of  its citizens. It does so in the name of the people it represents. It does so in my name.

Saying, as PFADP does, “Person X is scheduled to be killed by the people of State Y for and the crime is named and the person against whom the crime is committed is named,” reminds me of that reality. When the State kills, it kills in my name. It becomes tricky in the United States where individual States execute. If I live in State Y, what responsibility do I have for what happens in State Z? A good question. But we are bound together.

Much to ponder. More pondering lies ahead.

See you along the Trail.



Leave a comment

Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty

Two executions pend in Texas

Two executions may take place in Texas before the month ends.

On February 28, 2012, Anthony Bartee may be put to death by the State of Texas. Execution Watch reports that Bartee insists that two others committed the 1996 robbery-murder of David Cook, his San Antonio neighbor. They note that “at the time of the killing, Bartee was on parole for two aggravated rape convictions.”

The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty raises a number of concerns:

even though the Bexar County Criminal Investigation Laboratory still has not tested pieces of DNA evidence that were collected from the crime scene. Even after being ordered to test this evidence by Trial Judge Mary Román, neither the Bexar County crime lab nor the DPS lab in Austin have performed the ordered tests on all available evidence.  Bartee was convicted of the 1996 murder of his friend David Cook in San Antonio.  He has consistently maintained that although he was present at the house, he did not kill Cook.

They provide background and talking points for letters to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry.

The following day, February 29, 2012, the execution of George Rivas is scheduled. Again from Execution Watch:

Described by police as the mastermind of a seven-man escape in 2000 from a state prison in South Texas, Rivas was condemned after claiming sole responsibility for the shooting death of a police officer in suburban Dallas during a robbery the group pulled.

The Texas Seven as they are known, escaped in December 2000. They stole the workers’ clothes, broke into the prison armory to get guns and drove away in a prison truck. They robbed two Houston-area stores. On Christmas Eve, 2000, police officer Aubrey Hawkins responded to a call about a robbery. The group ambushed Officer Hawkins as he did his duty.

One of the group, Larry James Harper committed suicide when authorities captured the group. The state of Texas executed Michael Anthony Rodriguez in 2008. The Supreme Court stayed the execution of a second group member in January of this year.

I have not been able to find a place to do advocacy on his behalf. I assume the addresses of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry would work for letters. Rivas’ number appears to be #999394.

Different cases. Each raises issues about our criminal justice system. But in neither case is execution the answer. 

See you along the Trail.

1 Comment

Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty