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Cherith Brook

s Mercy & Gospel Obe

icing God



Advent 2015

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

When Workers Take a Stand

by Caleb Madison

In May of 2013, Stand Up KC, a local branch of

the $15 for all movement, held its first meeting to fight for a $15 minimum wage here in
Kansas City. Two years after this initial meeting, in July of 2015, KC City Council adopted a
minimum wage ordinance in a 12-1 vote which
would set the new minimum wage of Kansas
City to be $13 by 2020 with an increase based
on cost of living and inflation expenses. And
now, in October of 2015, this very same ordinance has been repealed in a vote by the City
Council (7-4). So what happened? The following is a brief glimpse into the winding road
that the minimum wage debate has careened
through in our city.
Stand Up KC thrives on two cogs which
make it so powerfully effective: the strength of
their organizers and the voices of the workers
who so frequently and eloquently speak out.
After the inception of this organization in
2013; dozens of marches, actions, protests, petitions, and letters have been created and led
so as to raise the citys awareness of the grief
of the underpaid laborer. Stand Up KC also has

wonderful ideals towards collaborative organizing and has worked with groups such as the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the
American Friends Service Committee, Missouri
Faith Voices, and a wide group of local and national denominations and congregations. Stand
Up KC and their allies have so excelled in their
work that the city not only became aware of the
fast food and childcare workers plight, but has
also been influenced to do something to change
it. In the large and sweeping series of marches
ranging from 20 people to 600 hosted by Stand
Up, Kansas City has certainly come to acknowledge the power of so many workers uniting
together to form a movement. While these
marches were joined in by the other organizations and partially hosted by them, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference began its
work on a petition that would eventually have
4,000 signatures to put a $15/hr by 2020 vote
on the August ballot in Kansas City. In order to
understand what comes next, we have to look a
bit at the voting in Missouris State Legislature
and HB 722.

Workers march on 12th Street in downtown Kansas City, MO on November 11, 2015

HB 722 was a bill introduced in early 2015

to the Missouri House of Representatives that
disallowed cities and local counties from passing individual workers benefit packages and
local minimum wage changes outside the federal or state minimum wage and benefit levels.
This effectively means that only the Missouri
House of Representatives can add new benefits or change the minimum wage, and these
effects, unless otherwise noted, would have to
be statewide measures. This presents a serious problem for a local ordinance to come into
effect: it would have to be completely enacted
and unchallenged by August 28th, 2015; which
is before HB 722 would be able to come into
effect statewide. Governor Jay Nixon at the
outset opposed this measure and vetoed, saying that HB 722 offered ...a clear example of
government intrusion... and ...interference
with the policymaking of local governments
and the principle of local control. Gov. Nixons veto was overridden by a vote from the
House of Reps, and thus a very tight deadline
was placed on Kansas City to enact its new
local wage.
Our City Council thus began a period of
discernment in mid-July, spending much time
hearing from both proponents and dissenters towards the proposed $15 by 2020. Most
of the conversation was not centered around
whether the increase was a good idea; it was
unanimous both in voting and speaking that
a minimum wage increase was necessary to
improve the lives of workers in Kansas City.
The concern presented most was the logistics
of enacting this ordinance and still allowing
a thorough enough conversation and understanding of implications by the August 28th
deadline brought on by HB 722.
Not only was this piece of the ordinance in
contention, but also the number and date of
the gradual increase. For instance, numbers
like $13 by 2023, $15 by 2023, and 10$ by 2018
were all presented as viable options by various
council members at various times. During
these debates, Stand Up KC and leaders in
their ally movements enacted a hunger strike
rotation and an occupation time outside of
City Hall where daily people were refusing the
comforts of food and home in order to stand
in solidarity with underpaid workers.
The vote for $13 by 2020 passed with a
Continued on Page 10

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker

Advent 2015

Walking the Avenue

by Olivia Paschal
Theres something that feels almost wrong
I am wearing a dirty grey Razorback tank
Hes still talking about the program,
about walking on Independence Avenue in the
top; Ive been washing windows all morning.
but then hes called away by someone in the
Northeast neighborhood of Kansas City. The
My hair is piled on top of my head in a quickly
kitchen. My names Ken, he says before he
Avenue, as its known in the neighborhood,
loosening bun.
walks away. Heres my card. Whats your
is where many of our street friends sleep and
Youll need to wear a shirt with sleeves,
name? Eric? Ill remember that, my nephew
spend their days, talking on street corners or
that covers your armpits, and a hat over your
is named Eric. And yours? Olivia. I wont
walking up and down to collect scrap metal to
hair. If you dont have one, well give you a
remember that. He laughs and walks back
sell for much-needed cash. Its lined on both
hairnet. He goes on to talk about the job opinto the kitchen.
sides with small businesses, liquor stores, gas
portunities one could have after the class, pro After finishing our meal, Eric and I leave
stations, churches, and loan centers. The few
vided by some catering company to which the
the community kitchen and walk one street
apartment buildings on the street are shabby
church has a connection. Hes not intentionally
over, where we meet up again with Caleb and
and often falling apart, with No Loitering
talking to us condescendingly, but I feel like he
Micah, who have just finished eating at Hope
and No Trespassing signs visible on every
is. Hes talking to me as if I were relatively unand Faith.
door and window. As a white, middle class
educated and poor. Of course he is. Im eating
Before continuing to walk the Avenue,
woman walking with three
Eric suggests that we sit
white ostensibly middle class
down for a minute to
males, I am acutely aware that
reflect on our experiences
I feel as if we dont belong
at lunch. Weve all just
here, and aware that the
sat down on a stone wall
people sitting or talking on
bordering the sidewalk
various street corners we pass
when a group of men
dont feel like we belong here
rounds the corner next to
us, holding a bag of beer
This in itself is notable.
and cans of vodka. One of
Many of the people I see on
them sits down abruptly
Independence Avenue are the
in the middle of our
same people I see during showgroup, right between Eric
er mornings or Thursday night
and Micah, and begins to
community meal at Cherith
talk to us- or maybe to
Brook. But the atmosphere
himself. Its hard to tell.
is flipped- on those days, we
Hes clearly drunk.
welcome them into our space.

His name, he keeps
Walking the Avenue, were
repeating, is Frankie Leeasking that they welcome us
not Frankie, hes very
into theirs. And they havent
insistent, Frankie Lee.
invited us in.
Hes a veteran, he says,
Some of our friends are
and the men introduce
open and amenable to us stopthemselves to him one
ping to chat. Others greet us,
by one. Im sitting on the
but are clearly trying to hurry Lonnie Welch
right end of the wall, at
us along; they dont want us to
the end of the line, and
stick around, for one reason or another. Its the
in a soup kitchen, so who else would I be?
before I can open my mouth to tell him my
attitude you might expect from anybody when
Come and help clean up sometime- sweep
name, he turns to Eric.
you arrive unannounced in their home- some
the floors, get to know our regular volunteers,
Who is she-your wife? Your girlfriend?
are immediately hospitable, others embarhe says. Thatll help you get ahead in the proEh?
rassed by untidiness, others just want alone
gram. Its turned into a networking conversa She is a friend of mine, Eric replies.
time, and others are in the middle of a birthtion not all that different than what you might
Weve gone over many times at Cherith
day barbecue you werent invited to.
see at Yale dinners, only over plastic trays and
that when sexism is directed at ourselves or
We split up our group for lunch, and head
chicken salad sandwiches rather than wine and
another community member, or anybody
to two different community kitchens that offer
hors doeuvres.
for that matter, we should address it politely
daily lunch. The people serving in the kitchen
I suddenly feel the urge to tell him that
and firmly.
Eric and I eat at, an Episcopalian mission, dont
Im in college, that I dont need a culinary arts
But shes sitting on your right,
know that were from Cherith, and we dont
class, that I dont need any practical skills,
mothaf***a. Who is she?
tell them. One of the servers comes over to talk
because I go to Yale, dammit. I am immediately
Eric deflects the question again, and
to us about the culinary arts classes that the
disgusted with myself. Why is it my instinct
there is some talk exchanged about respectchurch is offering next month. Hes talking to
to identify with the social class into which my
ing women, and I am finally able to introus as if we lived on the streets. If you want to
education has placed me? Is it familiarity? Is it
duce myself. But I am reasonably sure that
get a head start in the class, start volunteering
elitism? Has attending Yale become that inteFrankie Lee has been insinuating that I am a
here on the weekdays to get familiar with the
gral to my sense of self? Im not sure I want to
know the answer.
Continued on Page 10

Advent 2015

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker

Tightwad Lodge:

A Local Approach to Creating Sustainable Community

by Joseph Cooper
In the beginning, any setback can devastate
and negate the chances of success. This goes
for completing college, launching a business, trying to have a baby, and starting out
on your own in life. People who dont have
a strong family support system are most at
danger of having a negative outcome when
pursuing success. An economic bottleneck
traps such people attempting to succeed. This
bottleneck creates a cycle of despair where
rent accounts for at least half your monthly
wages, food consumes a quarter or more,
and other living costs can soar as high as the
market will bear. The tragedy is not that this
is a success trap or even that this is robbing
humanity of minds that might revolutionize
the world (if they had time to do more than
keep a roof over their heads), but rather that
it doesnt have to be this way.

chologically anguishing for the self-sufficient

and independently minded. (Enroll in one
secretly as a homeless person, and you may
experience my meaning.) The progressive
people I am considering would only choose
to stay at a shelter if they were penniless and
homeless or otherwise ordered to do soand
maybe not even then.
Desperate situations result from negative
social systems. Poor people have few to no
positive support systems created by the poor.
The wealthy, on the other hand, have created
the systems which sustain them. It is time
we, the poor, make systems for ourselves.
Progressive-natured, poor people are remarkable. Though they may lack the family structures, nurturing, teachers, and coaches that
told them they could achieve, they have still
maintained the nature required to succeed.

To Overcome Poverty, We Need a Sustainable Refuge.

The Tightwad Lodge is a refuge for the person
that has made success their purpose. With
nine bunks, and five beds this facility houses
23 lodgers paying $150.00 a month for bunks
and $300.00 a month for beds. Shared kitchen, bathroom and work space facilities make
this an ideal, economic living arrangement
where like-minded individuals can share ideas
and help each other in relative comfort. Each
person is afforded a footlocker and a locker
for personal possessions and is expected to
stay for five years, in which time they must
save at least half their income in order to buy
a house upon their departure.
This arrangement appeals to a particular
population segment: the working poor &
homeless, the struggling student, and the
reformed convict. The working poor & homeless have already failed and have experienced
the price of failure first hand and wish not
to repeat the process. The struggling student lives on the knifes edge of failure and
desperately seeks what will keep the abyss
at bay. The reformed convict must succeed
for two reasons: first, it is a requirement for
parole; second, to stop the cycle of repeat offenses before there is no escape. Chances are,
the ruling class employs these risk groups at
or just above minimum wage, so they need a
more economical solution than what is currently available to them.
One might say well, these people could
live at a shelter. Shelters tend to be bleak,
oppressive institutions which house many of
those who have all but given up hope. They
may be adequate refuges of last resort, but
their nature and atmosphere make them psy-

What We Need Is Here.

Wake-up! We are failing because we are
divided. We are failing because the ruling
class has monopolized the worlds resources
against us. People have always grouped
together for strength; evolution has devised
this. In civilization, poor people must group
together for progress. The Occupy movement
failed because those who rule are unconcerned about protesters while we, the poor,
keep feeding the beast. Basically, we have
given our power over to the ruling class. Do
you want to take it back? It can be done; in
fact, it must be done. The tightening noose
around our necks will not loosen until we
prove to the ruling class we are more powerful than them by taking control of our lives.
And it all starts with the Tightwad Lodge.
The ruling class wants to control our food
supply, but at the Tightwad Lodge we will
grow our own food in green houses. The

ruling class wants us to pay ridiculous prices

for clothes, but we will make our own. When
we form our own groups and work together
to solve our own problems, the ruling class
loses and the middle class grows. If every poor
person in America donated $5 to the Tightwad
Lodge, we could change our nations entire
direction. We could wake-up to an America
where 75% of our citizenry owns the place
where they lay their head. Isnt that worth $5?
Through its self-sustaining and self-replicating model, Tightwad Lodge proposes we
create a place where people can dust themselves
off, wade out of their self-pity and despair, and
participate in a place that offers them a better
start than they had before they fell. If you get a
house, you dont have to pay rent. You control
your power source and dont have to choose
the grid. And the Tightwad Lodge can not only
help a person stop their endless renting cycle,
but also improve their quality of life. With a
backyard mini-farm that includes a stone grain
mill, a resident can learn basic farming skills.
Resident members also conduct all housing
upkeep and repairs, providing another avenue
of learning and saving. Meanwhile, the Tightwad Lodge maintains a staffing agency, which
enables employment even if a resident loses a
Through self-sustainable practices, we can
regain the power we lost when community
cohesiveness, community organizing, and community collectivizing all broke down. When
people regain the possibility of controlling
their own lives and owning their own property,
they begin caring more about community and
becoming part of it. The Tightwad Lodge transforms possibility into attainability. Together
we can positively change our nations future.
Please donate with your passion so we may
begin this great work.

Joe is a
friend of
Brook. He
has an entreprenuerial
spirit. This
is one of his
many creative ideas.

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker

Advent 2015

Lessons & Notes

On Becoming an Anti-racist Catholic Worker

by Eric Garbison

The Community of St. Louis Catholic Workers did us a huge favor the moment they
began paying close attention to the wounds
of their own racial privilege. They did us a
favor by addressing it as a community and in
their own community. In the aftermath of
the shooting of Michael Brown and Ferguson
Uprising, they prodded the Midwest Catholic
Workers into their process. They messed with
our Faith and Resistance Retreat by hosting
an anti-racism training for Catholic Worker
communities. Breaking with the tradition
they replaced our action-oriented event with
a call to focus inward on our communal lives.
Putting aside civil disobedience, we protested
our racist selves. Weve talked about racism
before, of course. But now more of us are
talking about the white supremacist in
the mirror instead of some white hoodie
out there.
I have learned many things from the
dialogue in our movement, the national
dialogue and, conversations in our community. Here are two lessons that stand
First, white participation in the
black struggle must find ways to be
accountable for expressions of white
dominance and accountable to black
leadership. It must stand behind Black
leadership and willing to join Black led
efforts. It must be more public and risk
taking in its support. Im currently taking a deeper look at my life-peer relationships and rethinking the local organizations and movement where Im involved.
Second, addressing our miseducation, our silence, our complicity
and our self-deceptions are lessons
we must keep learning. We may learn
them at one moment in a particular context
or during a particular season of life. But as
we experinece life changes, new circumstances and new encounters with others we must
relearn them. And relearn them again.
It also requires exposure to the tools of
history, social analysis, cultural anthropology,
political theory and cultural criticism. We
burden our relationships when we dont do
this work ourselves.
Let me add two observations to the list.
These are incomplete at best, notes that
need to be fleshed out.
Note One: Because following Jesus
makes utlimate claims on our lives we
must continue the challenge of giving
nuanced faith accountings of racism and
anti-racism work.
Christian Imagination is essential for our
anti-racist work. Our reflections must make

substantial use of theology and scripture in

the context of our lives and struggles. There is
much to mine from the vast history of Christian communities as well--failures as well as
Faith can and must work in concert with
the tools of sociology and cultural reflections,
history and anthropology, etc. Most good
theology already does. There are also unique
aspects of our story and convictions where
secular disciplines fear to tread. Speaking
from a fatih perspective is, after all, a matter
of affirmation and conviction. If we neglect
this voice, prophetic and divine, we may miss
out on its power to emancipate us. We may
cut short our particular contributions to the
public square.

Mark Bartholomew

With our faith story shot full of personal and
institutional complicity to racism, theological
work is fraught with danger. But just as the
tools of analysis can be rescued from systemic
racism of the social and academic institutions of their origin, so the tools of faith are
redeemable from the churchs checkered past.
They are after all, a form of Gods address
to us in our humble human experiences. As
People of the Spirit we trust that our faith
resources will connect us to the living God in
ways that move us beyond our own limitations and theirs.
There has been some theological reflection; I invite us to do more, go deeper and
speak out of our unique experience as Catholic Workers.
Note Two: Perhaps race and our
back-to-the-land movement are more

directly related than it first appears.

Dr. Willie James Jennings recently writes,
When early European Christians entered these
places, they fundamentally altered the relation
of land to peoples. From positions of unimaginable power, they renamed the land, reorganized
common life, and reformed the ecologies of native
peoples. At the heart of this transformation was
a world-altering reconfiguration of the relationship between land and identity These European
settlers viewed people as separate from land and
viewed land for its development potential as private property. Europeans taught the peoples of the
new world that they carry their identities completely on their body, detached from any specific
land or animals or agriculture or place The land
no longer spoke of who we are and who we should
or could be. The animals were no longer kindred
beings. They became our tools and resources,
and we became geographically adrift in the
world, seeing places and spaces as undeveloped
dirt or sites in transition to becoming something else.
Jennings uses this narrative to interpret the churchs predicament: So church
life has grown apart from the earth and the
animals, without any deep sense of the places
of our meeting and therefore without a real
doctrine of creation. The problem for us is
that racial faith is constantly energized by our
spatial ignorance. (see his article Overcoming Racial Faith at the Spring 2015, Divinity Magazine, online or his dense book,
The Christian Imagination: Theology and the
Origins of Race.)
How might this issue of race be related
to the Green Revolution and recent renewal
of Catholic Worker Farms? What if we try
to understand it as a long-term goal of healing our racial identities? For the Green
Revolution to contribute to a way forward it
would require a longer view, a multi-generational goal coupled with commitment to plow
the deeper history of a particular place. Where
an indigenous history is totally repressed and
buried, unearth it. Where that presence has
been eradicated, mourn it.
Transplanting urban people of color to the
farm would, I think, completely miss the mark.
But, perhaps whites resettling alongside
indigenous groups, migrant groups or New
Americans whose land connection has not
been erased might create a new generation
born out of shared connection to the land. City
folk could contribute by committing more long
term to our neighborhoods, a vow of stability to invest deeply in the place we have been
placed. All of this would be watered by a hope
that ancient seeds lay ready to germinate for a
new age.

Advent 2015

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker

Racism Is Not A Topic

By Miriam A. Zanders
How is a human being, who has listened for years with a dry heart, without a tear in his eyes, who sees all this
and does not do a thing, whose heart
is broken up, whose heart is empty,
whose mind is full of words and theories, and full of himselfhow is he to
make his heart love again?
J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986)
I was very reluctant to participate in the
Crossroads Antiracism Training. Racism is not
a topic. It is my reality. Racism is a troubling
and deeply painful experience that I am forced
to live with every day. It is present in every
aspect of my life. The training felt like salt
poured in a wound. I left feeling raw and extremely vulnerable. It was emotionally agonizing to have a conversation about the invisible
shackles around my very being. I did not walk
away from racism at the end of that training. I
live under a system of racism, and a conversation does not free me from that reality.
The laws of this land were not drafted to
benefit a subjugated people. All the founding
fathers of this nation owned slaves. My fathers and mothers were the founding fathers
property. It was by design that only some
would be free. I am of those people chosen
to be slaves in the land of the free. Racism is
deeply rooted in the foundation of American
society. It permeates American culture. It
is that denied and unspeakable shame that

will not disappear. It is the noose around the

neck of the nation. We exist together, but we
cannot move forward. We hang suspended in
a state of denial and disbelief, because most
have no idea how to do if differently. How
is a wrong lived with for so long corrected?
Perhaps it may never be corrected, because
hearts have been adjusted to tolerate a grievous wrong.
I am barely able to find words that adequately describe what it is like to live bound
up in the chains of racism. I only know the
monumental pain of it. The weight of it is so
heavy on my soul; it is difficult to breathe.
Every deep breath is an awareness of my
stolen life. I struggle to live conscious in that
awareness; though it might be easier to soldier
on in a zombie like existence. Intellect does
not soothe the incessant pain. Like trying to
fan out a fire, it only spreads. The pain moves
through my heart to my soul. It circulates
throughout my entire body. The pain forms
my very existence. With my mind I attempt to
contain the pain. I compartmentalize all the
injustices. I try to give each a place so that I
am not suffocated, destroyed by an imposed
My spirit has known freedom. Therefore,
no well constructed deception can make me
deny that I am not free. Ideas and civil rights
laws have not transformed hearts. And talk
just presses on layers of wounds. Within the
core of my being I feel all the past. I remember
the hunt and captivity. Bodies beneath the
bowels of ships live in me. I know the bodies

of my ancestors, beaten, broken, and sold like

cattle. Each lash of the whip upon the back of
a slave swells up in my conscious. I am linked
to the lynchings, rapes, and castrations. I am
the present of that horrific past. I am my people. That past flows through my blood stream
and will be passed on for generations. This is a
constructed reality that my people have been
forced to endure.
I wonder who participates in a talk on
racism without a tear in her/his eyes. Who
sees all this and does not do a thing? What
might I expect gathered in a room with those
who benefit from my oppression? Will I just
get more words and rhetoric to cover over
my reality? Will it ever be possible to compel
hearts to love? Just as your ancestors saw all
that was done, you see today all that is being
done. Will what is witnessed ever be horrific
enough to bring tears to eyes? Can an antiracism training compel a heart to love?
Miriam Zanders
participated in
the Antiracism
Training led by
Crossroads of Chicago. Volunteers of
Cherith Brook and
members of Second
partnered in this

Meet Our Trustees

We are proud to have a strong
Board of Trustees who serve
us with wisdom, creativity and
faith. We are proud of the fact
that they each have come to us as
Caption needed

From Left: Jodi Garbison,

Trustee & resident; Sharon
Hannah, Trustee; Rebecca
Lindley, Trustee; Louis Rodemann, Trustee; Eric Garbison,
resident; Kelly Hanerholf,
Trustee; Garret Brown, Trustee; Allison Rozga, resident;
Lonnie Welch, resident

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker

Advent 2015

Diana and Henri Garbison with their

Great-Grandmother Peggy Garbison

Baby Pellegrino volunteering with laundry

Why Carl
Kabbat Matters

By EricGarbison

I went to church last Sunday morning but

not how you might think. I spent most of the
time in the car chatting with our friend Carl
Carl is at the age where he doesnt say
much. Hes got a few one-liners that keep us
smiling. If you ask him a question, you might
get, ah hell, I dont remember, huh. Im
O-L-D, right!
Being with Carl you realize he doesnt
need to say much. His life has spoken volumes. He is a Catholic Priest and a Plowshares activist. His vocation is the abolition
of Nuclear weapons. Carl is so deeply devoted
to this witness he has spent over 17 years in
prison over his lifetime.
Carl had asked to be taken to 150 highway
and Botts Road to spend time in prayer. Its
not the site of your typical church. This is the
home of the new National Security Campus in
Kansas City. There, 85% of non-nuclear parts
for modern nuclear weapons are made and
updated. A cathedral of Empire, this is one of
those spaces where the bomb is worshipped;
where those who put their trust in the gods of
war pay homage.

The Voices of Zambia entertain in the Cherith Brook Cafe

Extracting honey by hand. We harvested over

40 gallons of honey this season.

Dressed in black and his clerical collar, Fr.

Carl slowly lifts each leg out of the car, hes 80
after all. He slides his St. Louis Cardinals hat
off the dash and onto his head, grabs his cane
and brief case and says, see me tomorrow,
I watch him through my rearview mirror as he
ambles toward the plants entrance.
Carl will not be worshipping the bomb; he
will be professing its evil and proclaiming its
demise. This prophet-priest presides at the
sacrament of resistance.
As I drive off I also begin to pray: I pray
for Carl, he is looking feebler this year. I pray
that the God of Israel, Creator of the universe
will bring judgment on this place of death
and obliteration. I pray that the God of Jesus
Christ will transform our hearts so we can
resurrect our human efforts for goodness. I
pray for the church and her complicity and
lack of outrage. I confess my sins, my collusion in this dirty rotten system and pray for
the revolution of my own heart. I pray that
we will not lose hope, not give up the struggle
for a world free from the presence of nuclear
This year Carls prayer service was on
August 9th, the 70th anniversary of the
dropping of the atomic bomb Nagasaki by
the United States. Later I learn that he took
a baby bottle filled with blood red paint and
squirted the large sign at the entrance to the
Carl has performed this sacrament of civil
disobedience at the new plant enough times

Joe Allen Steeles

Hepzibah Dutt

JJ came with her church, Parkville Presbyterian.

She said it was better than Worlds of Fun.

that as the guards approached they called out,

Carl Kabat is that you? Kansas City Judges
dont know what to do with him. Some say
Carl is crazy (hes dressed up like a court jester
for some of his actions). Who are they kidding? Whats crazier than mutually assured
destruction? Whats more criminal than
intentionally designing the annihilation of the
Creators handiwork?
Carl matters the way the Prophets of old
matteredsometimes it takes holy foolishness
to remind us of human foolishness and call us
back to sanity.
As I drive home I think, I need to attend
this church more often.

Carl Kabbat, April 2015, outside federal court in

Kansas City, Mo. Photo by Lu Mountenay

Advent 2015

Front Row: Caleb Madison, Jodo Garbison Olivia Paschal, Eric Garbison, Allison
Rozga Back Row: Elsiabeth Armfield, Josh Armfield, Lonnie Welch, Rodney Saxton,
Micah Chrisman, Henri Garbison, Virginia Paschal, Diana Garbison

Molly Poe

The generousity of our

donars make this possible

Mark Whitney


Cherith Brook Catholic Worker

Self service, Cherith Brook style

This years sweet potato harvest

exceeds all expectations!

Volunteers at morning

Students from Rockhurst join us on our

work day

NaNa is
a devoted
and a Poet

Knox Presbyterian Church serves up BBQ & music

Kim & Kim Tolan

Oh my, OKRA!

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker

Advent 2015

A Healing Circle
By LaMark Smith
The CORE Conflict Resolution Training led by Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) and hosted by Cherith
Brook enlightened me and made me
examine myself. Just how well did
I handle conflict? Did I relive sticky
situations over and over in my mind,
or was I looking for ways to resolve or
even avoid them?
When the class first started, I was
still new to the Cherith Brook experience. A group of new facessome I
had never seen beforesat in a circle,
each one facing another, not knowing
what to expect.
We passed around a picture frame
that empowered you to speak while
others listened and engaged each
other and various thought-provoking
exercises. My favorite was one where
a picture had two faces. The first drawing looked like a frog to me, but others
saw a rabbit. This reminds us that
even if were all looking at the same
thing, we may each perceive it differently. We were also reminded that
conflict not only affects the people
directly involved but can also affect
others around it, since we are all connected in some way to one another.
As time passed, the group became
smaller and smaller, and the sharing
became more personal. Before I knew
it, I was in the middle of the circle,
metaphorically undressing and sharing
my most private ideas about com-

Cherith Brook Finances

(through the first 3 quarters of 2015)
By Jodi Garbison

municating with my neighbors. There

were hugs, fears andbest of all
But for me, the light bulb session
happened the day we discussed core
beliefs and paradigm shifts. I learned
that if I could surround myself with
positive people, places, and things; I
could be at peace with myself. And if I
could be at peace with myself, I could
be at peace with others.
Conflict resolved! Class dismissed!
Cherith Brook Partnered with the Center
for Conflict Resolution to offer a class for
neighbors and friends on resolving Conflicts. CCR provides mediation services
and Restorative Justice programs in KC.
Congratulations to the following people
who received certificates for completing
the Conflict Resolution Training:
Pamela Castor, Micah Chrisman,
Jimmie Frison, Brandon Funk,
Mickel Gillham, Jared Gillespie,
Angel Lowe, Caleb Madison, Rachel Marek, Tammy Parker, Ellen
Rakestraw, Rodney Saxton, LaMark Smith, Cindy Spruk, Katherine Starr, James Sykes, Patricia
Wilson, Lois Swimmer.

From right to left: author, LaMark Smith , Pam Castor,

Patricia Wilson, with facilitator Don Ivans from CCR

Utilities -


Hospitality -


Building maintenance and projects -


Gifts -


Transportation -


Food -

Office -


Misc. -


($10166 per quarter)

($3388 per month)

Here it is! The CB financial report for 3 quarters. Its
no surprise that we have enough more than enough. Once
again we have our needs met by many ravens. This report is a
financial check-up It gives us a gauge to see how we are doing
this year and gives us insight into how we are doing from year
to year. We realize it fails to show the provisions that come
by way of donations that arent monetary. We recognize that
you all are a big part of the health of Cherith Brook regardless
if you give monetarily. Whether you show up with undies for
the clothing closet, consistently welcome people into the caf
in the morning, attend workdays, provide meals, do a shoe
(or anything) drive, accompany someone through a difficult
situation, pray for us, send monetary donations, offer words
of encouragement, serve as a trustee, make solar dehydrators,
engage in transforming discussions, write an article for the
newspaper, tell a friend about Cherith Brook, and a whole host
of other things, you participate as a raven providing for the
needs at the Brook. Thank you so much for making this place a
sanctuary for all of us. Because of this collective effort, givers
like you, its really no surprise that we have what we need!

Advent 2015

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker

Downward Mobility
Conversation With Henri Nouwen
by Joe Carle
At the center of Nouwens book, The Selfless Way of Christ: Downward Mobility and the
Spiritual Life, is the ongoing quest for living
a spiritual life based on being a follower of
the Jesus Christ. This spiritual life has at its
core discernment, discipline and dedication;
all premised on a profound relationship with
Jesus of Nazareth whom the Christian professes to be the Christ, the Messiah. Here is a
summary of Nouwens understanding:
Ministry and the spiritual life belong
together. Living a spiritual life is living in
an intimate communion with the Lord. It is
seeing, hearing, and touching. Living a life
of ministry is witnessing to him in the midst
of this world. It is opening the eyes of our
brothers and sisters in the human family to
his presence among us, so that they too may
enter into this relationship of love.
Along with this first assumption which
is not too hard to embrace in belief if not in
practice, is accepting Nouwens assumption
that Christs ministry was a direction or path
that was unlike and contrary to the way the
world unusually believes and acts. That direction is toward downward mobility.
The gospel narratives are filled with
examples of Jesus identification with and
the care of those who were marginalized by
the principalities and powers of that day. He
moved comfortably among the powerless and
was in conflict with the religious and political
power elites. His challenges to the contemporary Christian are that we follow the same
path of downward mobility and reject the
idolatry of upward mobility.
The challenge I experience in Nouwens
call to this form of a spiritual life is not with
the radical lifestyle embraced by Christ and
the invitation to take up our cross in the same
manner. I sense this reflects the call Christ offers to all disciples and expects our dedication
to this life. However, I find myself resisting
the notion of downward as opposed to upward.
The terms upward and downward are
attached to a notion of a linear world view. In
this assumption a person or a movement is
moving in one direction and not the other. It
is a form of either/or which I find too simplistic. In other words, I find my faith lived
out as discernment, discipline and dedication
as very complex and muddled in belief and
behavior. If I read the Bible carefully, many
of the characters who become models of faith
in the Judeo-Christian tradition are rarely
shown as either upward or downward in their
spiritual lives; they seem to move in many
directions at the same time.
I can appreciate Nouwens interpretation

of Jesus life filled with events and teachings

of downward mobility as a form of faithful
discipleship. However, the gospel narratives
are a summary of Jesus life, written for a
specific purpose that purpose being to make a
witness that Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment of Gods promise of a Messiah that will
inaugurate a new kingdom, a new reality for a
profound life of servanthood and compassion.
The gospel has a feeling of either an upward
or a downward direction in individual lives.
A careful reading shows the men and women
who encountered Christ were a mixture of up
and down in their discipleship and discernment, and muddled through in their discipleship and dedication. This happened after they
embraced Jesus as the Christ and was part of
their faith journey.
Then, what might I say in summary? I
feel this book is well worth the time to reflect
on our spiritual lives in ministry. Acts of
compassion and service are essential for the
Christian practice of hospitality and offering
grace. Whether this requires a commitment to
downward mobility, remains for me, a question with which I will continue to struggle.
Continuing in a ministry of hospitality for the
disenfranchised and marginalized will always
call into question our comforts. The disconnect between the life of the cross and the life
of we live in our complex circumstances will
draw us closer to the wonder of Gods grace.
and all we might say is Thank you.

Joe Carle is a frequent volunteer at

Cherith Brook. We read Nouwens book
during our morning reflections at the
Shower House.

Eric Garbison, Olivia Paschal (below) and Micah Chrisman (below) join Peaceworks annual
10 mile Memorial Day march from the old Bannister Federal Complex to the new parts plant
at 150 hwy that ended in a die-in at the plants
entrance (top picture)


Cherith Brook Catholic Worker

Advent 2015

Walking the Avenue

Continued from page 1
We eventually leave the street corner
and head back out onto the Avenue. We pass
a diner, where a group of black teenagers is
gathered outside of the door. Yall undercover cops or what? one of them calls at us.
We stick around and talk for a few minutes,
telling them that no, were not cops, that we
live in the neighborhood, that were just out
for a walk.
When we leave, we reflect on the encounter. As white people, when we walk on the
streets, particularly the Avenue, people who
dont know us think were either undercover
cops or evangelists, says Eric. We all agree
that being stereotyped in such a way bothers us, although its interesting for me when
one community member, a white male, says
that its the first time a stereotype has been
so blatantly vocalized at him based solely on
his gender and skin color. The night before,
biking about two miles back to Cherith from
a coffee shop, I had been catcalled at least
seven times. Its worse for women who live
on the streets, who are often thought to be
prostitutes by their neighbors and by the
What do these stereotypes tell you
about the white people who come into this
neighborhood? asks Eric. The attitudes and
demeanors of people on the street change
when theyre talking to people they think are
cops or evangelists. They become more formal and less open with you. Its hard to build
relationships and understand someone when
they believe you have an agenda, religious or
As middle class white people, we have
done really poorly in attempting to build
community and respect with people in these
neighborhoods. Street evangelism swoops in
and tries to save people with their tracts,
Bibles, and prayers of dedicating ones life to
Christ with little awareness of the real needs
of the community to which they are evangelizing. We gentrify neighborhoods with no
thought given to the communities we force
out when we increase the cost of living, communities that have been creating families and
tradition in this neighborhood for several
generations. We treat homeless populations
as statistics in need of saving, we set goals of
how many people to lead to Christ, and we
dont realize that Christ is already here, and
that perhaps we are the ones in need of being
led to Him.
Did you give me food when I was hungry? Did you give me to drink when I was
thirsty? Did you give me clothes when my
own were rags? Did you come to see me when
I was sick, or in prison, or in trouble? And to

When Workers Take a

Continued from page 1

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
to him. (Dorothy Day, Room for Christ,
adapted from Matthew 25:34-45).
Christ is embodied in our friends on the
streets. They have had much more to teach
me about love, generosity, and kindness than
anyone I have come to know at Yale. In many
ways they, rather than any Ivy League ideal,
are the people whom I should strive to emulate. But our capitalist, consumerist culture
devalues those who are unable to produce or
consume material goods. It says that before I
build relationships with them, before I learn
from them, I should really think about if
theyre worth it. If they cant contribute to
the economic system, the capitalist-consumerist ideology teaches me, they arent. That
mentality, I realize now, is probably why I
had such a violent mental reaction to being
cast as a homeless person. Being a homeless
person would mean I have no productive nor
consumer worth, and mean I am worthless
to society.
If I felt so devalued during one interaction, imagine how those who live on the
streets feel every day. No wonder depression
and mental illness run rampant through the
streets of the Northeast.
I could go on, write two thousand more
words about our experiences walking the
Avenue that day, but my written word cant
convey the full experience of walking the
street without at some point forcing itself
into a narrative with a moral at its end, and
thats not really what I want to do. Id like it
to leave you with questions, and Id like to
talk to you about the questions it leaves you
with as I try to sort out the answers to the
questions it left me with.

Paschal was
an intern
at Cherith
Brook in the
summer of
2015 and is
now continuing her
education at

voting of 12-1. The only naysayer was Ed Ford,

who said that the increase was too much, too fast,
and didnt want to instill false hopes with GB 722
hanging in the balance. Cheers erupted from a
crowd of workers outside; hugs were shared and
the celebratory pulse of a better wage was felt
throughout Kansas City. The celebration ended
up being rather short lived though as a new petition came into fruition, this time enacted by the
business group Missourians for Fair Wages.
David Jackson, the spokesperson for Missourians
for Fair Wages, argued that this minimum wage
raise would stop an influx of high-paying jobs
into Kansas City and ultimately hurt working
people rather than help them. Missourians for
fair wages initiated what they have liked to call
a peoples veto, in which they accrued enough
signatures (in this case, 4,000) on a petition to
put the minimum wage measure on the November ballot. Now, if we remember back to HB 722,
this measured had to be completely enacted and
written in before August 28th, 2015 in order to
take effect. Pushing this back to a November
ballot measure nullifies the ability to vote on it:
if the people of Kansas City did indeed want a
minimum wage increase it cant happen with the
passing of HB 722 (except on a state level). This
wasnt a peoples veto, it was a lobbyist group
snuffing out thousands of workers hopes and
labor. This unfortunately brings us to last weeks
vote to overturn the minimum wage ordinance,
and bring us right back down to $7.65 in our fair
state of Missouri.
So where do we go from here? As sure as
there is blood in our veins, we do not give up the
fight to honor the workers labor. If the story of
this article has frustrated you, as it well should, I
encourage you to do something. And something
does not count as a facebook post with a frowning
emoji, nor does it count as feeling sorry for our
citys dissension towards a fair wage. It means
showing up. It means making a little noise. It
means telling this council and the state of Missouri and the business and restaurant lobbyists
that this is not okay. As the state motto says:
Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law
of the land.; and we the people certainly need a
higher wage to fare well.
has been
closely with
the peoples
for a

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker

Advent 2015

House Notes


by Jodi Garbison

Publishing a newspaper only 2 times a year means

more time elapses and events take place between

editions. Its hard to capture (or even remember)
what happened over the last 6 months.
Our life and house are very full right now. After saying goodbye to our summer interns, Olivia
and Micah, we welcomed two new folks to our
community. Kimberly Hunter is new to Cherith
Brook but isnt new to the Catholic Worker. She
lived and worked at the Worker in Florida but
most recently moved back to the KC area from
New York. After teaching ESL for several years,
she is spending time at Cherith Brook in vocational discernment. Austin Dey is a seminary student
at St. Paul School of Theology. He will be with
us until December at which point he will move
to Tennessee to continue his education. Both
Kimberly and Austin offer a natural presence and
welcome in the caf space with friends and bring a
new level of charm to our hospitality.

Kimberly Hunter and Austin Dey take

a stand with Standup KC.
We also celebrated Caleb Madison returning to
Cherith Brook. He comes not as an intern but a
covenanting member. Like the other adults in this
community, Caleb has made the commitment to
root himself here in this place, with this particular
community, doing this kind of work, striving to
live simply. We are excited that we get to live life
together. Caleb brings a depth, desire and maturity beyond his years. We are fortunate!
We have the benefit of meeting with Sr.
Therese Elias, our spiritual director. This year she
is guiding us through the Rule of St. Benedict.
What a beautiful, timeless text! We love and appreciate our time with Sr. Therese. She offers us
insight that rarely happens from within a community and we are dependent on someone who really
understands our particular community disciplines.
We have had a great garden season this year!
In addition to wonderful food grown to eat and

Tennis Shoes (esp. mens 9-13)

Jeans & Belts (30-34, 4-6)
Boxers & Panties (S & M, 4-7)
Shampoo & Conditioner
Body Wash/Shower Gel
Spray Deodorant
Stick Deorderant
Razors & Toothbrushes
White Socks (esp. mens)

Jerry Penland,
Allison Rozga, and
the solar dehydrater
they built for
Cherith Brook.

Foot Powder
Tampons & Pads
Ibuprofen, Tylenol, & Allergy
Laundry Soap (High Efficiency)
Cold medicine/Cough drops

share, we have an additional method of preserving

our food. In years past we have relied mainly on
canning and freezing produce for winter. Thanks
to Jerry Penland from John Knox Kirk Presbyterian Church and Allison, we have a new solar food
dehydrator outside. It was completed near the end
of the growing season but we have already enjoyed
dried apples and bananas from the dryer. In addition to that, we had a beautiful honey harvest this
year. (Good work Eric and Chris!) We were able to
harvest 3 separate times and had enough to sell.
We celebrated Festival of Shelters again this
year. We erected 5 shelters in the yard representing different people groups that experience a sense
of wandering. These are groups of people in our
neighborhood who experience life on the margins
the place where God is so often found. It was another memorable 24 hours experiencing Gods provision of food, shelter and companionship on the
streets of Kansas City. We invite you to consider
joining us next year for the day or night vigil. Also,
we are sending several folks from Cherith Brook
to SOA Watch this year. We have participated in
years past and are thankful for the opportunity to
send a vanload again this year.
Its almost impossible to summarize the fullness and richness of rhythm and life here over
6 months. Rather than rely on my inability to
capture it fully, please come for an extended stay or
consider the opportunity to become an intern with

Antibiotic Cream
Reading Glasses
Winter Coats, Gloves & Hats
Sleeping Bags
Hand and Foot Warmers



Baking Soda
Dish Soap
Salt & Pepper
Hot Sauce
Toilet Paper
Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Jodi Garbison

Canning lids
Bus Passes (31 day & One-Rides)
Post Cards (Postage Paid)
Large Rolling Pin


Mosaic in the kitchen of St. Joseph

Catholic Worker House, NYC.

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

Who Are We?

CommunityCherith 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 and the
Catholic Worker.
MercyOur 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.
PeacemakingAs followers of Jesus, we
understand our lives to be centered in Gods
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 usthe broken
can come to learn and relearn the ways of Jesus;
a place to struggle together for Gods call of love,
mercy, peace and justice.



M, T, Th

8 :30--11:00 am

M, F
66:30 am
W 7:30-8am
T, Th 12-12:15 pm
Community Meal
(Singing every other week)


57 pm

Work Day

Monthly, 2nd Sat

9 am1 pm

Roundtable Discussions

Monthly, 3rd Fri

7 pm9 pm

Nov 20-22 SOA Watch

Dec 11
Karaoke Christmas
Dec 12
No Work Day
Dec 18 - Jan 3 CLOSED
Jan 16
Roundtable, Dr. Vernon

Howard, Southern Christian

Leadership Conference
Jan 18
MLKing Celebration
Feb 8
Mardi Gra Celebration
Feb 13
Work Day
Feb 26
Roundtable, TBA
March 12 Work Day
March 25 Roundtable, TBA