Next gathering Nov. 14, 7 pm  • Quaker Meetinghouse, 3387 Walnut Grove at Prescott    

Pax Christi, the Peace of Christ, strives to create a world that reflects this peace by witnessing to the call of Christian nonviolence. Although the majority of members are Roman Catholic, Pax Christi is open to all people who want to work for peace in the spirit of the nonviolent Jesus.

Pax Christi Memphis meets the second Tuesday of every month at the Quaker Meetinghouse located at 3387 Walnut Grove, Memphis, TN 38111. Additional parking is available on Prescott, or in the Kroger Parking lot across the street.

For more information, or if you need a ride to our meeting, call Janice Vanderhaar at 362-9364.

Building peace, economic & interracial justice through a spirituality of nonviolence

There’s still time to attend
“Living Peacefully in a Violent World”

Although the first Thursday session of Living Peacefully in a Violent World, took place on October 5th, there’s still plenty of time to register for the Saturday sessions on October 14th and 28th. They will run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. with a break for lunch.
The course, sponsored by Pax Christi Memphis, covers scripture, tradition and contemporary Church documents, including recent statements by Pope Francis. It will continue for the next three Thursdays in October, and on the aforementioned Saturdays It is led by Msgr. Albert Kirk, and includes additional presenters Judy and Jerry Bettice and Paul Crum
The information presented in the course will help participants understand how we can practically live out the Lord’s command to be peacemakers. Aspects of living nonviolently, whether in the global community, in the workplace, or at home with our families will be examined.
A fee of $20 is suggested, but the fee can be waived or adjusted on a pay what you can basis. Those attending are asked to bring a bible. All additional material will be provided.Registration is not mandatory, but it is helpful in planning for the printing of handouts, etc. Call the Bettices at 901-327-8068 or email them at


Karen Scott will share “ride-along” experience

Pax Christi member Karen Scott will share with us her experience participating in a recent “ride-along” with the Memphis Police. The ride-along is part of an educational program implemented in Memphis in 1993 to develop a partnership agreement between the MPD and the public. The Citizens Police Academy states that their mission is to inform citizens of efforts regarding prevention, intervention and to form a partnership with law enforcement to combat crime within our communities.
Our October program will also include a time of review, reflection and discussion of future action regarding the activities of September, particularly the Manna House Backpack project, Campaign Nonviolence and Pax Christi’s course on nonviolence offered through the Diocese (see accompanying articles).
We will resume our tradition of a potluck dinner at the Quaker Meetinghouse prior to our regular meeting. Please arrive by 6:30 to participate and bring a dish to share.

Death Penalty forum dispels myths,
presents moving stories
Cynthia Vaughn, Sabrina Porter, Amy Lawrence and Stacy Rector comprised the panel of A Broken System: Perspectives on the Death Penalty in Tennessee, presented last month by the Memphis Theological Seminary, Lindenwood Christian Church and Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Photo by Peter Gathje
Pax Christi Memphis members who attended last month’s panel discussion on Tennessee’s death penalty learned a great deal about efforts underway to abolish the practice in our state, and heard personal stories about the far reaching repercussions of capital punishment on families, victims, penal system workers and others.
A short video and the ensuing discussion revealed still more information and dispelled a number of myths about the death penalty, among them the belief that the death penalty is fairly adminstered. Statistics show that roughly 85% of Tennessee’s death row could not afford to pay for a defense trial. In the two decades spanning 1981 - 2000, defendants charged with the murder of a white person were 3.15 times more likely to receive the death penalty than those charged with the murder of a white person.
One of the most shocking figures cited was that nearly half of the persons on Tennessee’s death row were convicted in Shelby County. Only about 12% were from the Nashville area (Davidson County). Most Tennessee counties don’t seek the death penalty.
Amy Lawrence, representing Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, pointed out that first-degree murder cases in which a notice to seek death is filed cost more than life without the possibility of parole cases. She claimed that studies found that the death penalty costs taxpayers millions more to maintain than life without parole.
Some of the most moving testimony of the evening came from Sabrina Porter, an exoneree from Mississippi’s death row, and Cynthia Vaughn, family member of a murder victim.
Ms. Porter was convicted as a teenager for the death of her nine-month-old son. She spent five years in prison and 33 months on death row, but was exonerated after being retried in 1995 when evidence revealed that a medical condition was the likely cause of her son’s death.
The story of her experience within a flawed judicial system and the subsequent terror she experienced during incarceration told a heartbreaking tale made worse by inadequate legal representation.
Similarly, Cynthia Vaughn presented an emotional narrative of the murder of her mother by a family member that resulted in emotional scars that lingered well into adulthood. Her story was one of personal anguish, redemption and forgiveness.
The program served to strengthen the resolve of Pax Christi Memphis to advocate for the abolishment of the death penalty in Tennessee. In a poll conducted by the American Bar Association in 2007, 66% of Tennesseans supported a moratorium on the death penalty in order for the system’s problems to be addressed. Our objective must be to convince legislators that the majority of us believe the system to be immoral and an ineffective deterrent to violent death in our state.

Manna House support project deemed a successful effort

Over 20 boxes bulging with donated items to benefit the men and women served by Manna House have been collected from 19 area churches, a local Buddhist Center and Hickory Hill Community Center. In addition, over $800 in donations have been received and will be presented to the house of hospitality on Jefferson Ave. this week.
Some items have already been delivered to Manna House, but the bulk of the collected material will be loaded on a truck and moved there Thursday morning, Oct. 12th.
St. Michael Catholic School took over the project for their parish and collected a “carload” of donations that was delivered early. The school secretary reported that every student who attends the school donated something.
Organizers of the effort are more than pleased by the generosity of the parishioners who donated and by the hard work of volunteers who provided the financial support and legwork to make it happen.
If you can help with delivery on the 12th, contact Paul Crum at 901-266-2464 or by email:

Week of Action directs attention to
Campaign Nonviolence goals
A successful “Week of Action” followed months of planning by the Campaign Nonviolence Memphis committee. A visit from Swamiji from the Viswayogi Foundation in India at multiple CNV events brought an opportunity for him to share his vision for unity among faiths and universal peace to many participants.
On Sunday, September 17th, over 100 people gathered in the courtyard of the National Civil Rights Museum for a Interfaith Vigil that included music, prayer and speakers from several faith communities and organizations.
Later that week opportunities for meditation were presented by the Pema Karpo Meditation Center.

Ed Wallin, Pat Crum, Monica Juma, Janice Vanderhaar, Jerry Bettice and Brenda Hale stood at the corner of Poplar and Highland on September 22nd to campaign for a nonviolent Memphis. Photos by Paul Crum

On Friday, September 22nd, peace activist gathered at various street corners in the city to hold signs calling for a “Nonviolent Memphis.”
Pax Christi stood on the corner of Poplar and Highland, but their witness of peace was marred by a shot from a BB gun directed at campaign organizer Monica Juma.
Monica, and others present, thought that a rock had ricocheted from a passing vehicle and embedded itself in her arm. An x-ray revealed a few days later, however, that the object lodged in her skin was a BB.
Fortunately Monica is in good condition, and as a TV interview revealed, more determined than ever to continue her peacemaking efforts in an atmosphere that can sometimes turn violent. She expressed gratitude that she, or any of our group, wasn’t struck in a more vulnerable area and that a weapon with deadlier force wasn’t used.

Pax Christi Memphis is trying to locate these donation boxes in churches throughout the Diocese to accept donations of personal care items for the people served by Manna House. These are the type of items we are looking for:
Toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, lotion, mouthwash, nail clippers, foot powder, Tylenol/aspirin, soap, tissue, shaving gel/razors, Visine, Q-tips, washcloths and socks
Please mail monetary donations to:
Pax Christi Memphis
4043 Allison Ave.
Memphis, TN 38122
Make checks payable to: Pax Christi Memphis

Pax Christi Memphis hopes to make life just a bit easier for a few homeless and impoverished individuals trying to survive life on the streets of Memphis. The group recently purchased 200 drawstring backpacks that they hope can be filled with personal care items they will solicit from parishioners throughout the Diocese and others.

Teaming with Manna House, a place that offers hospitality in the Madison Heights neighborhood of midtown, Pax Christi will deliver the backpacks there with whatever items they collect at the end of September. Volunteers at Manna House will sort and bag the items so that they can be appropriately distributed to fit individual needs.

“We borrowed this idea from Pax Christi Little Rock,” said Pax Christi member Paul Crum. “We see homeless people carry their belongings in garbage bags and flimsy grocery sacks, so we thought this small gesture might provide some of our brothers and sisters with a few items we typically take for granted.”

The group will soon begin asking churches for permission to place a donation box in a visible location during the month of September. The items suggested for donation include toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, lotion, mouthwash, nail clippers, baby powder, Tylenol/aspirin, soap, tissue, shaving gel/razors, Visine, Q-tips, washcloths and socks. Pax Christi Memphis will also provide a means for monetary contributions for those who may be too busy to shop for the items themselves.

Pax Christi is happy to be working with Manna House, which was established in the tradition of the Catholic Workers Movement. They have demonstrated a tradition of welcoming each guest with respect and compassion, and claim not to be a social services agency, but rather a group of persons welcoming other persons to share themselves, their gifts and the gifts received from others.

Manna House opens at 1268 Jefferson Avenue on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings. During warm weather their guests enjoy a shady backyard and cold water, and there is always plenty of coffee available. Manna House offers showers, a change of clothes and some personal items such as socks and t-shirts.

Anyone interested in the backpack program or other Pax Christi Memphis initiatives may email the group at or call (901) 327-8068.

Pax Christi Memphis
News and Notes
Number 9, September 2017

Change of meeting place announced
for September gathering

We will assemble at Lindenwood Christian Church,
located at 2400 Union Avenue.

Pax Christi Memphis will depart from our normal routine this month so that members may attend A Broken System: Perspectives on the Death Penalty in Tennessee, a program presented by the Memphis Theological Seminary, Lindenwood Christian Church and Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
Although the program is scheduled to begin at 7 pm, members are asked to arrive a few minutes early so that we may be seated together and briefly discuss any impending business or upcoming events.

The program will include a short film and panel discussion featuring Stacy Rector, Director of Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Amy Lawrence, Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, Sabrina Butler Porter, an exoneree from Mississippi’s death row and Cynthia Vaughn, family member of a murder victim.
A question and answer session will follow the discussion. Pax Christi will resume its normal meeting schedule, including our Potluck for Peace at the Quaker Meetinghouse on October 10th.

August marks a time of remembrance of the horrors of nuclear war

Last month’s meeting of Pax Christi Memphis fell on the eight day of the month, sandwiched between August 6th and 9th, the dates history records when the United States military dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, incinerating thousands of people and eventually causing the deaths of an estimated quarter million.
Now faced with the frequent testing by North Korea of missiles believed capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the US is again rattling sabers of nuclear war in response to the latest perceived threats.

Jerry Bettice reads from a poster displayed at the August meeting describing the horrors that transpired on the ground when nuclear weapons were used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 72 years ago.

Pax Christi members paused to recall the horrible death and devastation wrought by the use of these weapons more than seven decades ago. Led by Jerry Bettice, the remembrance included reminders that those bombs paled in comparison to the destructive potential of modern weaponry, and that stockpiles of such weapons are capable of destroying our world many times over.
In a prayer offered by Pax Christi USA, we are reminded: ... Nuclear weapons threaten to obliterate all that you have given us. Human greed, militarism, and hubris have led us all to the edge of a cliff, beyond which there is no survival. There is no “winning” a nuclear war; a single strike could unleash forces that can eradicate life forever. There is no nation, no people, and no way of life impervious to the reality of nuclear war.
Give us the courage to stand firmly against the very existence of nuclear weapons. Let us learn, advocate, and agitate for a nuclear-weapons ban and the elimination of such weapons from the face of this planet.

Pax Christi Memphis once again helped sponsor the Workers Interfaith Network’s annual Labor Day Picnic on September 4th. Billed as a way to celebrate the “true meaning” of Labor Day, WIN brings together low-wage workers and people of faith to take action for justice. Supporters help
workers uphold their rights to living wages and fair working conditions.
Advocates of the Fight for $15 Movement led a parade into the picnic site located on the grounds of Trinity United Methodist Church on Galloway Ave. Patrons were treated to food, live music, dance instruction, a dunk booth, moon bounce and several displays by local groups.
Judy Bettice, Pat Crum and Jerry Bettice were three of several Pax Christi members who distributed literature and greeted participants at the WIN Labor Day Picnic.


Donations  to fill backpacks
being accepted at 21 locations

Thanks to the diligent efforts of our members and the generosity of several local churches and others, the effort to provide backpacks filled with personal items for the homeless and impoverished individuals served by Manna House is well underway. A majority of the churches and institutions contacted
were willing to place donation boxes to collect toiletries and other items to help our brothers and sisters survive life on the streets.

At the end of the month, the donations will be collected and transported to Manna House where volunteers will distribute them appropriately to their guests.
Special thanks to Hugh Taylor, who distributed extra boxes, and to Karen Scott, who picked up additional boxes from the supplier when needed. Thanks to Karen, donation boxes are in a local Buddhist Center and Hickory Hill Community Center, as well as many local Catholic Churches. Gratitude should also be expressed to all those who supported this initiative with monetary contributions, phone calls and legwork.
Please continue to pray for the success of this program.

Registration open for Nonviolence course offered in October at
St. Louis

 Living Peacefully in a Violent World, a course that will cover scripture, tradition and contemporary Church documents, including recent statements by Pope Francis, will commence on October 5th and continue for the next three Thursdays in October. The course, which will be led by Msgr. Albert Kirk, will also be offered on two Saturdays, in four hour sessions October 14th and 28th. Pax Christi Memphis is sponsoring
the course through the Diocese of Memphis. It will be held at St. Louis Catholic Church at 203 South White Station Road. The Thursday evening classes will run from 7 until 9 pm, Saturday sessions are scheduled from 10 am until 2 pm.
The information presented in the course will help participants understand how we can practically live out the Lord’s command to be peacemakers. All aspects of living nonviolently, whether in the global community, or in the workplace, or at home with our families will be examined.
Additional presenters for the course are Judy and Jerry Bettice and Paul Crum. A fee of $20 is suggested, but the fee can be waived or adjusted on a pay what you can basis. Those attending are asked to bring a bible. All additional material will be provided.
Registration is not mandatory, but it is helpful in planning for the printing of handouts, etc. Call the Bettices at 901-327-8068 or email them at

Campaign Nonviolence schedules multiple events for Week of Action

Although the official dates read September 16th-24th, an evening with Swamiji from the Viswayogi Foundation at Freedom will kick off the CNV events on Thursday evening, Sept. 14th.
Swamiji, visiting from India, has a vision for unity among faiths, universal peace and an end to poverty and world hunger. He runs a free hospital in his native country for the underserved. Those interested in his talk may call 901-244-7661 for more information.
Other events include an Interfaith Labyrinth Walk at Unity Church of Christian Practicality on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 16th. On Sunday, Sept. 17th, an Interfaith Peace and Justice Vigil, “Vision of a Nonviolent Memphis” will be held from 3-5 pm. Music will begin at 2:30 and will be followed by a number of speakers representing various faith communities and institutions.
“The Sound of Peace,” meditation with music and mantra with an opening talk by Rinpoche, is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 21st from 7 until 8:30 pm at the Pema Karpo Meditation Center. The center will also host “Meditating with the Blue Turtle”, a sensory enhanced meditation experience on Friday from 6 until 7 pm.
Also on Friday, Sept. 22nd, peacemakers will hold signs proclaiming “Nonviolent Memphis” at various street corners around the city during rush hour.
The Memphis Heartbeat Community Project will host a drum circle in the courtyard area near Overton Square on Saturday, Sept. 23rd at noon.
Check for more information.

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