Peace Camp in Nampa

How did we end up with over one-hundred 6-13 year-old kids at the Hispanic Cultural Center doing yoga, thinking critically about the media, connecting with nature and learning about conflict resolution for four days?  I do not know, but the way all the moving pieces came together to create Learning Peace: A Camp for Kids is one of my favorite Summer 2017 stories.

Seven adults gathered at the United Church of Christ Church in Nampa in February.  Members of Southside Methodist Church knew about the UCC curriculum Peace Village and wanted to put on a camp in Nampa.  I had been invited through the Nampa Ministerial and invited my good friend and colleague, Grace Episcopal Priest Karen Hunter.  We met every other week for the next seven months and in the end the event included:

A team of awesome volunteer teachers who implemented the curriculum each morning.

Use of the beautiful Hispanic Cultural Center (in exchange for Karen doing some grant-writing for them).

St. Luke’s Hospital paid for two healthy snacks each day, provided by Create Common Good.

Two weeks out we had 12 kids registered so we put a two-day ad in the newspaper and the Nampa schools sent an email to every family in North Nampa, where the Hispanic Cultural Center is located.

Japanese Drummers from the Buddist Temple in Ontario, Oregon came Monday afternoon.

Naturalists from Birds of Prey brought raptors Tuesday afternoon.

Aztec Dancers came Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday afternoon included low-ropes course team-building.

A St. Luke’s nutritionist came Monday morning and taught the kids about mindful eating.

Mayor Henry brought us greetings in person on Thursday morning and even hid a rock with one of the Mindful Movement classes.

Two sister-ELCA Lutheran churches loaned us their vans so we could take up to 30 kids to Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge each afternoon.  I used one of the vans to pick up and take home 12-13 kids from Farmway Village outside of Caldwell each morning and afternoon.

Luther Heights Bible Camp had a day-camp cancel so I housed two college-age counselors who served as team leaders.  Two other counselors, working at a day-camp in Caldwell in the mornings, joined us in the afternoons

Around 20 adults and another 12 teenagers volunteered throughout the week.  The attendance at our review meeting this past Thursday blew me away.  Who wants to attend a meeting when something is completed?   Chairs in the room kept getting filled by 18 compassionate and dedicated adults who want to make next year’s Learning Peace: A Camp for Kids even better.

One more big THANK YOU to the members of Trinity Lutheran who volunteered their time and skills and those who sent texts of encouragement throughout the week.  I will end with the text I sent on Monday to an inquiring member who asked how Peace Camp was going.  “Crazy and fabulous at the same time.  The ethnic and socio-economic diversity is beautiful–a great portrait of Canyon County.  The teaches have prepared so well and the Luther Heights staff are the icing on the cake.”

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5 Years of Canning Classes

Press Release from Trinity Lutheran Church, Nampa –

On Aug. 24, Trinity Lutheran Church (Trinity) will begin hosting its fifth annual Home Food Preservation Series, in cooperation with the University of Idaho Extension. The three-part series covers basic canning, pressure canning and freezing. In 2013, Trinity was given a Domestic Hunger Grant from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. After the Harvest was a two-part grant proposal meant to extend the impact of Trinity Community Gardens Inc. Not everyone who receives produce from food pantries knows how to prepare it and once the harvest season ends, the produce goes away. Part One of the grant was a cookbook, completed in 2015, containing simple recipes, six ingredients or less, for produce grown in Southwest Idaho.  Part Two sent four Trinity members to the six-day Food Safety Advisor Training at Ada County Extension.  These Food Safety Advisors then led the labs at Trinity in late summer.  Each evening of the series at Trinity begins with a lecture by an Extension Nutritionist.  Then the students break into laboratories.  Over the last five years, Trinity has sent 13 people (eight Trinity Lutheran Church members and five community members) to the training in Ada County. Around 60 people total have taken the three-part series offered at Trinity in late summer.  This year the series will be Aug. 24, Aug. 31, and Sept. 7 from 5:45-9:00 pm.  The fee of $40.00 covers the lectures, labs, a Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving Food, and a dozen pint canning jars with lids.  Enrollment will be limited to the first 20 paid applicants.  Scholarships are available.  Registration forms can be found on the announcement page of Trinity’s website: nampatrinity.org.

  

Quotes

Joey Peutz, Extension Nutritionist

After the Harvest is such an amazing program and strong partnership between Trinity Lutheran Church and University of Idaho Extension.  The After the Harvest volunteers are committed to their community and so motivating to work with.  It is a transformational experience to see a community learning together and working together.  On top of that it is just fun to teach and prepare home food preservation products with our community.”

Bambilin Beavers, Community Member and Food Safety Advisor

“Food preservation is one of those basic skills that can provide people the know-how to prepare healthy food for themselves and their families.  It can provide the autonomy to take part in their own health and well-being, and allow for a sense of accomplishment.”

 

*About Trinity Lutheran Church: a community of faith whose mission is to refresh the faithful and reach out with word and service to all others through the Holy Gospel. Trinity is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and has been served by Pastor Meggan Manlove since November 2010.

*About Trinity Community Gardens Inc.: founded in 2008 by three advanced master gardeners, the original plot was planted in the backyard of Trinity Lutheran Church. The project has expanded to gleaning and a second plot on East Railroad.  In Dec. 2014, the gardeners published an English/Spanish book, Growing to Feed Many: How Trinity Community Gardens Inc. gets more food from less space.

*About UI Extension: helps citizens through research-based, locally relevant information and programs. They offer programming in 4-H and Youth Development, Crop Production, Food Preservation, Small Acreage and Livestock Management, Nutrition, and Horticulture. Clients learn through hands-on classes, workshops, trainings, office visits, phone calls and online resources.

* About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

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“Hidden Figures” and three more

I had my fill this past month in heartwarming, heartbreaking, inspiring and thought  provoking films.  It began with the wonderful Hidden Figures, the story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served vital roles during the early years of the US space program.  I have two nieces and a nephew who are all mathematicians and I thought of them all, getting a clearer sense of the excitement they must sometimes experience and being thankful that they did not have to bear the prejudices of the extraordinary women at the center of the film.  Octavia Spencer, Taraji Hensen, and Janelle Monae were all wonderful.  The film’s only fault is making Al Harrison, played by Kevin Costner, a hero for the women as he fights against discrimination.  Reading background information it is clear that Harrison was not a villain but he was never a hero either.  Did the film makers not think I would enjoy the film if there was not a white hero? Continue reading

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Winter Break Movies

Between Christmas and New Year’s I saw six memorable films: Fences, Jackie, La La Land, Cafe Society, Lion, and Manchester by the Sea, unintenionally saving my favorite two for last.  It is hard to turn a play into a great film (the best example I know of is A Few Good Men).  I wish I had seen Viola Davis and Denzel Washington when they starred in the play on Broadway because their performances on film were powerful.   Continue reading

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Autumn Coming-of-Age Films

It’s cold and snowy outside, a sign of winter and a time to plan for movie nights with families, friends, faith communities.  The Trinity New Hope property manager and I have started planning a movie night for February.  We happen to have many kids and teens living in our 16 homes right now so it seems appropriate to choose a coming-of-age film, especially when there is a good selection of relatively recently released ones. Continue reading

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Churchwide Assembly Takeaways

  1. New Orleans looks different without 30,000+ youth (see #2).  In particular, restaurant lines are a lot shorter.
  2. New Orleans has a place in my heart because of the 1997 ELCA Youth Gathering when I transitioned from being a participant to a volunteer, a 2007 trip with a small Iowa group who stayed at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in the Garden District and volunteered in the 9th Ward, the 2009 Gathering with four teenage girls from Soldier, IA,  and the 2012 Gathering with youth from Trinity, Nampa.  At the end of this 2016 adventure I finally got to go on a Swap Tour and see some alligators and a Great Blue Heron. IMG_1228
  3. Minneapolis Synod Bishop Anne Svennenson was the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Moorhead, MN, which I attended during my sophomore and junior years at Concordia College.  It was great to finally tell her in person that she is an important character in my call story. IMG_1181
  4. I have new understanding for parishioners who nod off during my sermons.  Worship may be the most calm, quiet, nonjudgmental, safe place during the week when they are simply allowed to sit and be still.  We had a line-up of amazing preachers at CWA and I still found my mind drifting occasionally because I was in a place apart, not getting ready to vote or having a conversation or reading memorials, bios, or amendments.
  5. Friendships from my first-call in the Western Iowa Synod are the kind where we can pick up right where we left off.
  6. To say that I love my current synod, Eastern WA-ID, is not an understatement.  We had one of the smallest voting delegations–eight of us total–but we had so much fun together. (The photo below includes spouses and people who attended the Grace Gathering)IMG_1200
  7. I have been thinking a lot about the role my congregation can play in lifting up the various vocations of women in Nampa, ID.  The ELCA’s new “Women, Sexism and Justice, toward a new social statement” will be a great tool.
  8. Augsburg Fortress has focus.  Maybe it’s because they have not been setting up shop at synod assemblies or fall convocations, so I’ve only been shopping through their website, but I finally saw that the ELCA’s publishing house has chosen to do a few things really well–curriculum (a great deal of which they are doing ecumenically), worship and music and, for now, 500th  Anniversary of the Reformation resources.
  9. Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) is a program the ELCA should continue.  As an alumni of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, which has an international component, and someone who considered applying to the Peace Corps, I was skeptical about the ELCA creating its own program.  On the final evening of CWA I ate a meal with four YAGM alumni who are all working for the ELCA (one in World Hunger, two in YAGM’s Chicago office, and one in the Rocky Mountain Synod’s Colorado Advocacy Office).  What impressed me was not so much their experiences abroad or their current jobs; it was the YAGM alumni network they count on now for support.  Ministering in a region dominated by Mormons, Nazarenes, and Nones, I see that network being so valuable.
  10. I love that the ELCA walks and talks ecumenism, most visible at CWA through the Declaration on the Way document summarizing Roman Catholic-Lutheran dialogue but also through greetings from other denominations and faiths.  At the same time, we are grounded in rich Lutheran theology, of which I was reminded during Timothy Wengert’s wonderful Bible Study and ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s preaching and report to CWA.

Continue reading

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Belonging to a City

The longer I stay in my community, the more I care about the city and the individuals who live here.  I have always wanted everyone to have enough—food, shelter, a place of belonging.  That informs how I vote, where I shop, how I spend time and how I interact with people.  But the old enough is no longer enough.  I want more from and for my local community.  My parishioners encourage me to be out in various communities, learning about new ways Trinity can collaborate with the city, county, businesses, and nonprofits in order to care for the people who are neglected, discriminated against, forgotten, and invisible.  This has led me to participate in networks like the Region 3 Housing Coalition, serve on the Mayor’s Bike-Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and attend Chamber of Commerce events.  No surprise, I now see more clearly both the systemic strengths and growing areas in Nampa and Canyon County. Continue reading

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