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Today's Message

Pilgrim is a mainline, progressive, Christian church. We are rooted in Scripture, active in social concerns, and we nurture the human spirit through worship and the arts.

Pilgrim Blog


Memorial Day Observance

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On May 23, Memorial Day, Chapter 80 of Veterans for Peace will offer a Ceremony of Remembrance at 11:00 am, at Lake Place Park by the Peace Statue (Michigan St. and 2nd Ave. East, overlooking the Lakewalk).  Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in serving the nation will be honored and remembered.  So will their families, who pay a high price.  In fact, these experience the same devastation of war that “the fallen enemy” and civilians in war zones also experience.  The ceremony mourns those who fall without glorifying war.

Veterans for Peace recognize that establishing and maintaining peace is the objective of our military.  Therefore, the best way to honor the sacrifice of troops is to work for peace.  A better future lies beyond the culture of violence and militarism.

Alongside military veterans, the ceremony will also acknowledge those who have sacrificed their lives in working for a better future, whether around the world or here at home — labor organizers, voting rights advocates, civil and human rights workers, whistle blowers, nonviolent peace activists, immigration rights workers, whistleblowers, and others.  Think of the Mexican teacher’s college students who were massacred last year; of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff; of aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig; of Doctors Without Borders staff in Syria, to name but a few instances.

The Way of Jesus calls for a new paradigm for human life in the world.  You are invited to offer your public witness of honoring all these lives, and standing for a better world and a better way, through your presence at this ceremony on Memorial Day.

The Politics of Walls

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Migration back to Latin American nations outpaces illegal immigration from those countries into the U.S.  However, the U.S. still does not have a comprehensive or adequate policy of immigration.  In Europe, a convenient arrangement has been reached with Turkey to bring order to the flow of refugees to the European Union, yet it will likely bring only misery to desperate people.  With recent terror attacks in Belgium and Paris, multiple E.U. states have closed their borders — a metaphorical wall like the physical wall that some politicians call for between the U.S. and Mexico.

No question, migration issues are huge across the globe, affecting those on the move, those in the places they enter, and those left behind at home.  The dynamics are complex.  So are the answers.  Robert Frost’s poem “The Mending Wall” calls all of us, whether religious or not, to pay attention at a deeper level to the cost of walls upon our humanity.  It seems a good place to begin contemplating fresh responses:

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

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