Next gathering June 13, 7 pm  • Quaker Meetinghouse • 3387 Walnut Grove  • Memphis 

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

Pax Christi Memphis
News and Notes
Number 6, June 2017

Wearing orange for national gun violence awareness
Aleisha Curry, a registered nurse in charge of outreach at Regional One Trauma Center and volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, cited her role as a mother for the principal reason she worked with the group.
In a presentation to Pax Christi Memphis, she teamed up with fellow volunteer Kat McRitchie to explain the organization’s activities, objectives and how the Mom’s movement came about. In doing so, they revealed some shocking statistics on gun violence in our country.
Curry said that out of 1300 gun deaths, 100 were unintentional and 400 blamed on suicide. Responsible gun ownership and safety are among their principal aims.
Statistics showed, Curry explained, that 70 percent of children knew where guns were kept in households that owned firearms. Furthermore, she cited a Harvard study that said one third of children in those households had handled the weapons.


Pax Christi Memphis accepted an invitation from Moms Demand Action to participate in the “Wear Orange” event at Robert Church Park in downtown Memphis on June 3rd. PCM was among many other groups who sought to bring awareness to gun violence issues in our community. Staffing the table are (standing) Paul Crum and Edward Ordman, (seated) Jerry Bettice, Judy Bettice and Pat Crum.

Aleisha Curry (left) and Kat McRitchie
with Moms Demand Action for
Gun Sense in America.

As a trauma center nurse and avid researcher, she was able to relate several personal stories about how gun accidents had affected the lives of victims, their families and survivors. The SMART program, which she teaches in the community includes guidelines for securing guns in homes and vehicles, practicing responsible behavior and asking about unsecured guns in other people’s homes, a practice she claimed to follow when her own children spend time in the homes of friends.
Kat McRitchie, group leader and mother of three, fur- thered the discussion by explaining how Moms Demand Action hoped to impact the community through education and advocacy.
McRitchie pointed to the confusing laws circulating through the Tennessee legislature, where more than two dozen pieces of proposed gun legislation were debated in March. Among them are laws aimed at reducing the need for carry permits, revisions to background checks,  amendments to “guns in trunks” laws, guns in parks, bars, college campuses and a whole array of laws aimed at reducing restrictions.
One of the most vocal legislators behind proposals is Rep.
Andy Holt, R-Dresden, who argues that it’s the easiest way to alleviate confusion. He was quoted in the Tennesean as saying, “The Constitution is extremely clear, but what we’ve done is muddled it up, with trying to add to or burden further what the Constitution clearly states, both at the federal and state level.”
McRitchie said the Moms Demand Action group lobbies at every level for common sense gun laws, and strives to work with other organizations and agencies to achieve their goal of reducing injury and death from firearms.
She invited Pax Christi Memphis to participate in a “Wear Orange” event that was planned for June 3rd, where several of the groups with which they interact would be represented.

Idea for course on living nonviolently comes to fruition
In April Pax Christi Memphis met to discuss various ways our local group could further the objectives of our national movement, particularly in regard to educating the wider community about Catholic teaching on nonviolence.
After a follow-up meeting on June 2nd to begin planning and discuss possible course content, we are happy to
report that “Living Peacefully in a Violent World” will be offered by the Diocese beginning October 7th, 2017.
The course will be offered as four two-hour sessions from 7-9 pm on consecutive Thursdays in a conference room at St. Louis Catholic Church, 203 S. White Station Road. Additionally, it will be taught on two Saturdays, Oct. 14th and 28th, from 10 am until 2 pm.
Msgr. Al Kirk, who will teach the course and was instrumental in planning and securing the location, pointed out that the course title and times might be subject to slight adjustment, but content is already being planned.
Present at the June meeting with Msgr. Kirk were Jerry and Judy Bettice and Paul Crum. 
The duration of the course will be adequate for catechists in the Diocese to receive credit for continuing education credits. Msgr. Kirk said that it was important to portray the Church as having a mission of peace, and to emphasize that nonviolence is a “force more powerful” than war. He said he would give examples where nonviolence has worked throughout history to bring about positive change.
The planning group examined a number of documents and an array of materials suggesting ideas about how the course might be structured and what might be included.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, for example, has passages about avoiding violence, and portions of Pope Francis’ New Years message on nonviolence will certainly be mentioned.
The Just War Theory may be studied, and Jerry pointed to a recent article from Sojourners Magazine about transition from Just War to Just Peace. In that vein, Peace, Gift & Task: The pastoral letter to the people of the Diocese of Memphis by Carroll T. Dozier is likely to be examined as well. Passages from books by Gerard Vanderhaar were also mentioned as possible resource material.
Everyone agreed that the practice of finding peace within ourselves is fundamental to living nonviolently. Msgr. Kirk said, “In loving our neighbor as ourselves, it’s the ‘as ourselves’ that sometimes gives people trouble.”
Judy suggested that the idea of concentric circles might lend itself to course structure – that is personal, interpersonal and systemic. “We make changes within ourselves and extend them to others,” she explained.
The teachings of Jesus regarding nonviolence will probably precede a short history of the church; the first 300 years up to the Just War Theory, followed by a look at where we are today with the arms race and the impending threat of nuclear war. An examination of the idea of restorative justice – mutual forgiveness and repentance, should come toward the end of the course the committee concluded.
Blending all of these ideas into a concise course of study presents an exciting challenge, but represents one of the most tangible efforts Pax Christi has ever undertaken to spread the message of peace and nonviolence throughout our Diocese. Msgr. Kirk emphasized that we are all empowered by the Holy Spirit to be peacemakers. We must all pray for him as he leads us through the process of planning and implementing Living Peacefully in a Violent World.

June meeting will include budget discussion
For the past few months, Pax Christi Memphis has discussed various ways we might gain members and promote ideas of nonviolence throughout the larger community. As witnessed by the article above, one of those ideas is becoming a reality. Others are being proposed and considered, but all require financial resources.
In this Tuesday’s meeting, we will get down to the nuts and bolts process of examining a treasurer’s report so that we can realistically assess what we will be able to achieve in the coming months.
This is an important meeting and worthy of everyone’s time and attention. Please plan to join us for potluck at 6:30 pm and for the discussion to follow afterwards. We are a force for good and we must use our resources wisely.

May Birthdays
A Memorial Day gathering at the home of Ed Wallin and Janice Vanderhaar provided an opportunity to celebrate the May birthdays of Pax Christi members and friends. Pictured LtoR are Ray Berthiaume, Carole Blackburn, Judy Bettice and Margie Miller. Seated is Carol Carson.

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