In California...

Greetings and Peace from sunny California! For the past several weeks I have enjoyed the hospitality of friends old and new as I have visited churches in the Bay area sharing new music for peace. It is delightful to be on the road and meeting so many people who are committed to peace-making in so many different ways. There is a church in San Francisco called St. Boniface. It is located in a part of the city called the "tenderloin". The tenderloin is a beautiful part of San Francisco life where the poor, the hungry, the homeless, both pimps and prostitutes seek to live. Every day two things happen at St. Boniface. First the doors open in the morning to welcome homeless people or just plain tired people into the church so they can sleep on the pews or floor. Many homeless people are afraid to sleep on the streets at night so they stay awake. The other thing that happens is in the building next store to the church called St. Anthony's Foundation. An amazing gift of compassion! Every day a staff of more than one hundred provides a delicious meal for more than 2,000 hungry people. It is one of the most thoughtful, respectful and delightful places I have ever been.
Here in the tenderloin there is always "room in the inn". so, it is easy to " be of good cheer".

Stefan Andre


Peace in the Middle East

Our friend Ramzi speaks of peace in the Middle East. Perhaps we can share thoughts on this vital question: What can we do to contribute to a just peace in this part of the world?

Let me suggest two things that may be possible for some of us .
First, I believe it is most helpful to actually go to the Middle East , if possible, to see and experience for oneself the realities of life there. To make friends and to continue the friendship over time... a beautiful gift our modern technological society offers us- the gift of relationship with others around the world. When the political becomes personal we are much more likely to more deeply understand and respond with compassion. If an actual visit is not possible then perhaps establishing a friendship through the internet. With one push of a button you are virtually there! And in friendship, we listen and begin to see more clearly.
Second, consider the possibilities of music. What would happen if we in our churches , synagogues, temples, universities, and other gatherings, began to sing simple songs in Arabic and Hebrew? What effect might this have on us as we begin to sing prayers for peace and justice in the languages of the Middle East? How to enter the mind of heart of our sisters and brothers in Israel/Palestine? Begin by speaking their language if only a word or two. Sing or speak the words " Salaam", " Shalom" . Imagine as we do the realities of life in the Middle East and make this our prayer for peace. A simple act. A powerful act. A universal act.

There are so many today who are working for peace in the Middle East. I welcome your thoughts and the wisdom of your experience.
In gratitude,
Stefan Andre