The Grail in the USA

Archive of Headlines

GRAILVILLE PLACES 40 ACRES IN CONSERVATION EASEMENT

GRAILVILLE PLACES 40 ACRES IN CONSERVATION EASEMENT

Advancing its Mission of “Renewal of the Earth”

Loveland, Ohio, August 9, 2018—Grailville—a center of The Grail in the U.S.—announces that 40 acres of land has been placed into conservation easement and purchased by Clermont County Park District through a Clean Ohio Fund grant. The grant requires that deed restrictions be placed on the acreage that prevents it from being developed. The Park District plans to manage the land as natural area with hiking trails. The area will be open to the public once the trails and access are developed. The 40 acres of this sale raises the total placed in conservation easement and sold to The Park District to 113 acres in Miami Township just outside the City of Loveland. The initial sale—enabled by the Trust for Public Land—was for 73 acres in 2017. For the full press release click GRAILVILLE Conservation Easement

A Statement from the U.S. Grail Council:

“The Grail in the US is dedicated to peace, justice and the renewal of the earth. We stand with those targeted for their peaceful resistance to hate and exclusion in Charlottesville. We recognize that the racism and anti-semitism that fueled the violence this weekend is systemic not isolated and we encourage efforts to eradicate it at all levels.“

Learn a little bit more about the Grail and Grailville!

Recently, Grailville, a center of the Grail in the United States hosted an open house!  They also sat down for the “Around Miami Township” series to discuss the Grail and Grailville.  Follow this link to listen to Grail members Becky Hill and Nina Naberhaus discuss the Grail and Grailville!    Interview with Becky Hill and Nina Naberhaus   *When you click on the link you’ll be taken to the Miami Township website.  Scroll down to the third interview and click on the orange link where you see Becky and Nina’s name.  This will take you directly to their part of the interview!

An Update from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women!

I’m overwhelmed with happiness when I see videos such as the one below of Grail member Honorata Mvungi discussing the importance of educating women and children.  Honorata is a participant at the 56th annual Commission on the Status of Women.

The History and Future of “Hope For The Flowers,” Una McGurk

Hope For The Flowers won the Christopher award for the most inspiring book of 1972 when it was published. Hope’s publisher in English, Paulist Press, has manufactured and distributed over 3 million copies in English. But, did you know that  Hope For The Flowers actually emerged from an earlier book written for the Grail?  The First book was a simple history and Theology of Hope intended to encourage Grail searchers who were experiencing the exhilarating but challenging changes of the 2nd Vatican Council.

Read more…

The Empowerment of Rural Women

The CSW this year is focusing on the empowerment of rural women and their significant role in the elimination of world hunger and poverty.  Here is a great video introducing the primary goal for the CSW this year from www.unwomen.org!

The 56th Annual Commission on the Status of Women

Today the Commission on the Status of Women begins at the United Nations!  The theme for this year’s CSW is “The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges”.  Bummed you couldn’t make it this year?  Here is a link to the live webcast:  http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/56sess.htm 

 

 

A Tale of Mentoring: It Takes a Grail Team or Two or Three, Plus….. by Sharon Thomson

On the night of January 17th, High School Senior Lena Cheyne made a presentation on The International Trafficking of Women and Children at the Cornwall Grail Center. Following are some of the steps it took for this shy teenager to arrive at such an important turning point in her life.        

 

In March, 2010 Lena Cheyne attended an Introduction to the Grail program at the Cornwall Center. She had been “persuaded” by her mother, Cindy Cheyne (who had just begun to do volunteer work atCornwall), to attend. Initially unhappy, Lena sat through the entire program beside her friend Kim whom she had “dragged along” (Lena’s words) with her.  Present at the program were a number of young international participants at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.

 

Also present at the program was Boston Grail member Mary Farrell (in her capacity as Cornwall connection on the National Leadership Team at that time).  When it was over—during a mix and mingle moment —Mary and Lena struck up a conversation about a book Mary was reading, Half the Sky, and a play dealing with sex trafficking that Mary had recently seen at Grailville.Lena was intrigued enough by the conversation to do more research and ultimately decided to make International Trafficking of Women and Children her Global Studies project at school. Read more…

A Grail Tale (of Activism), Judith Blackburn

I went home from the GA fired up to do something about fracking in my home community of Longmont, Colorado, just as our City Council was considering applications from Big Oil for leasing public land east of town for drilling.  Joy Garland and Kate Twohy had already given me a “heads up” about how tricky it is to oppose fracking, and I had seen the DVD Gasland.  But most of my neighbors and the majority of our seven city council members seemed woefully uninformed about what was going on.

Anyway the part of this tale that I want to share here is how appreciative I am for all the years of planning and facilitating meetings I’ve had, thanks to my work in the Grail.  A small group of us here in Longmont is just beginning to organize ourselves to oppose fracking at nearby Union Reservoir and within city limits.  We’ve had three opportunities to speak (for three minutes each) during city council meetings, and we’ve helped convince the council to enact a four-month moratorium on fracking.  However, the moratorium merely delays the drilling.  We’ve got major work to do in the interim.  Read more…

Guadalupe in New York, a review by Marian Ronan

In honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose feast is celebrated today, I share with you below my review of Guadalupe in New Yorkthe splendid book by my friend Alyshia Gálvez. Gálvez is a member of the faculty at Lehman College here in New York and a rising star in Latin American studies.

For a lot of people, “globalization” is something smooth and shiny that makes better iPhones available.  For others, though, it’s an experience of displacement and being categorized as less than human.

In Guadalupe in New York, anthropologist Alyshia Gálvez zeroes in on one group strongly impacted by “globalization,” undocumented Mexican immigrants in New York City. Throughout the twentieth century, Latino New York was primarily Puerto Rican and Dominican, but since 1990, increasing numbers of Mexican immigrants have joined the mix. Some estimates put the current Mexican population of the city at 500,000. Up to half of these new New Yorkers are undocumented.

Guadalupe in New York conveys effectively the difficult situation of undocumented Mexican immigrants in New York, caught as they are between economic crises in Mexico and the increasing demonization of the immigrant labor needed to make the US function.   But primarily, Guadalupe in New York shows the ways in which devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe transforms the experience of undocumented Mexicans, instilling in them a sense of human dignity and of a trans-juridical, even cosmic, citizenship. Read more…

Why I Fell In Love: Bonnie Hendricks

Why I Fell In Love

Now that I have your attention, here’s the rest of the sentence:

with the Transition [Town] Movement

Those who were at the GA on Thursday afternoon heard my spiel about the Transition (Town) Movement.  (For those who missed it, the PowerPoint and audio are online in the member area of the Grail website, or click here.)

A one-sentence summary/refresher: Transition is about building stronger and happier communities while transitioning away from fossil fuel dependence.  There is a lot packed into that little sentence, and there is much to say about how Transition is playing out; one such aspect is story-telling.  So I thought this month I’d tell a bit of my “how I met Transition” story.

It was just about a year ago now.  I was still inAustralia.  Mostly lounging (walking, really) on endless, sunny beaches.  And beginning to cast about for “what’s next?”  The Transition (Town) Movement had spent a few years on my (very long) list of “things to look into, when I have time.”  The time had finally come.

I was still in a state of high discouragement re: the-state-of-the-world.  So I was quite surprised to find myself becoming increasingly excited, the deeper intoTransitionTownmy exploration went.  What had me so captivated?  Quite a bit, actually, but I’ll name just a few.  (I’m setting aside for the moment all the cool projects Transition Initiatives around the world are doing.)

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”                           Buckminster Fuller

Read more…

Grail Work in the World – in the 99% and one of 900, by Lucy Jones

I am one of the 99%. Along with thousands of other supporters, Grail women among them, I celebrate the spirit that is moving in the protests asking the powerful 1% to be accountable to the 99% of the masses. On October 23, I joined other United Methodists to join our voices with the Occupy Wall Street folks at Zuccotti Park, to remind us all that Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple and said the last shall be first and the first shall be last. I’m glad our gathering and an interfaith gathering afterward could remind all that have ears to hear that God is in the midst of this world—to scatter the proud and bring down the mighty, to fill the hungry with good things and to send the rich away empty. Read more…

Grail GA members join Occupy Cincinnati

On Thursday afternoon, about 10 Grail GA participants piled into cars to visit Occupy Cincinnati.  The group, modeled on Occupy Wall Street, has been dislodged from their overnight occupation, and have been moving from plaza to plaza in the daytime.  In a drenching rain, several of them met with us in a fair trade coffee shop to dialogue.  Those who joined us came from homeless organizing, a student in feminist theory, and the environmental movement.  They are seeking permanent indoor space for “Occupy”.  Meanwhile, they have many spaces on loan for their daily “General Assemblies,”  which involve from 40 – 100 people.  They had just voted to actively organize in opposition to an Ohio referendum, to take place next week, which would weaken public sector unions. 

Grail members then joined an indoor General Assembly of some 50 people.  Jackie DiSalvo was the featured speaker, as a representative of Occupy Wall Street.  She has been part of that effort since the early planning stages, and currently helps to coordinate the OWS/Labor caucus.  That group has helped to generate and coordinate significant Trade Union support for OWS from NYC locals and from the AFL-CIO.  One of the most significant factors, Jackie noted, was that OWS went out to support Postal workers, Verizon workers and Sotheby workers, even before seeking labor support.  When police insisted that transit workers use public busses to drive hundreds of arrested protesters, the Transit Workers Union challenged that demand.  Unions are offering tangible solidarity to the Occupy movement. 

There was considerable excitement by many Grail members about the significance of the Occupy movement at this time.  A movement that has moved from Wall Street to over 100 US cities and towns and some 80 countries, it represents the reclaiming of public space to create opportunity for dialogue, education and mutual learning– it is about direct democracy.  At the same time, it has blown the lid off dominant discourse that blamed homeowners, unemployed, or government for economic problems, shifting focus to the 1% that controls economic and political power in this country.  The slogan “We are the 99%” has galvanized public opinion; brought people to the streets on multiple issues; and defused the Tea Party while challenging the plutocracy of both Democrat and Republican parties.  A proposal at the GA would enable US Grail members to learn about and dialogue about the Occupy movement, and to consider publicly supporting it.  Grail members in Cincinnati and in New York City are already getting involved.  The New York Politics and Spirituality Group also attended a OWS General Assembly recently, and has mobilized to donate blankets to Occupiers, among other forms of solidarity.

 

Carol Barton, New York City

Plenary Session: Our Social World/UN Millenium Development Goals

Friday morning’s Plenary session’s emphasis was on our Grail social world.  Five women who have worked extensively on committees of  the United Nations non governmental agency shared aspects of this challenging work   Mary Gindhart presented an overview of the Grail’s presence at the U.N. shortly after its own creation in 1945. There is a picture of Joan Overboss and Lydwine van Kersbergen talking with Daj Hammarskjöld, long time Secretary General of the U.N.  Mary mentioned many Grail women and the work they did to promote the health and well being of women and children, to prevent trafficking of women, to foster peace initiatives and contribute to documents to be implemented in member countries.

Simonetta Romano shared a short video The U.N. It’s Your World (www.un.org) which made the effects of the deliberations among committees very real. The 192 nations are concerned for the 30 million world refugees, the ¼ million child soldiers, the one billion people who live on about one dollar a day, the effects of climate change and much more.

Sharon Joslyn  Outlined the eight Millennium Development Goals for 2015 and invited the participants to talk about the ways that Grail groups or individuals are engaged in one or more of the goals: to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.

Lucy Jones showed how these goals are ever present in our religious traditions. The prophet tells us to “do justice and walk kindly on the earth”; we are to care for the least of us, feed the hungry etc.  Work with the U.N. requires study, perseverance and a long view. The rewards can be exciting. They are like those of a surfer who exhilerates in her ride. She is successful not because she paddles hard or finds a wave.  It is because she tunes into the pull of gravity that provides the ups and downs that are so thrilling. 

Simonetta and Mary Kay Louchart introduced us to women who have participated recently in the Grail program for young women that prepare them to speak at a session during the meetings on the status of women.  Through a slide show and stories about the program we were enthusiastic and grateful for this work that has gone on for twenty years. A few former participants were in our midst. We were invited to imitate the Michigan Grail as they plan to send teenage girls to the meeting February 28- March 5, 2012.

Plenary – Kate Devlin and our Environmental World, by Jean Wilson

The Worlds in Which We Live is the topic of the 2011 General Assembly; Those worlds being the Environmental World, the Social World, and the Spiritual World.  The first day focused on the Environmental World.  Kate Devlin introduced this topic with beautiful pictures and amusing stories.  She shared with us some of the findings of her graduate studies with the birds living on the islands off the coast of Maine.  She spent many summer months living on these islands studying the actions of these birds.  She studied in particular Terns.  Population studies are showing changes in the behavior of these birds.  How is human behavior affecting these birds and other animals all over the world? 

Kate Devlin

Another part of Kate’s thought-provoking presentation emphasized the influence of social problems on the decisions of our government. It appears that when the main concern is unemployment and creating job growth, protecting our environment becomes a non-issue and it doesn’t get the support in Washington. Job growth is much more of a political issue. People welcoming “Fracking” because it will bring jobs to their area is a good example. The jobs are more important than the damage to the environment!

Soweto, South Africa, written by Becky Hill

In addition to the amazing IGA meeting itself, I found the visit we made to the Skills Development Co-Operative in Soweto (South West Township) in Johannesburg , South Africa, a very moving experience. Winding our way through the maze of corrugated iron shacks that house many of the 2 million-plus residents of the “informal settlements” that make up Soweto, we made a sharp right turn at Corner 16 to reach the Grail Project.

Read more…

Greetings to Mozambique as they celebrate 25 years!

Check out the International Grail!

The Grail’s 2011 International Assembly has ended, but if you still want to see pictures and read about what happened daily you can follow this link.  http://www.thegrail.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=118&Itemid=137

Saturday at the IGA – Reflections by Lucy Jones

For more information about the IGA and insight into what the Grail is doing internationally, check out our Facebook page or the international website, www.thegrail.org!

For the weekend we were not in session but had special events planned. On Saturday we went to the community center called “Mthinkhulu Village Centre” in Kleinmond, a project spearheaded by Sally Timmel and Anne Hope, who have truly earned their “saint” status in the Grail.  Not just one building, but a large campus with many buildings, the purpose of the center is to create jobs for a community with 70% joblessness, as well as a place for children and adults to learn.

Read more…

Living Grail: Joyce Asfour

The normal hustle and bustle that marks any day at home was apparent when I stopped for a visit at Joyce Asfour’s house. I just missed a birthday party.  There is a garden out back, the basement is full of boxes, and the kitchen reminded me of my own, with calendars and important papers posted in the most prominent spots (the refrigerator and by the phone). It seems as though Joyce’s home is like any other, but there are some differences. Yu-Ri, a volunteer from South Korea had just arrived and was moving in. Some fresh garden produce from the Grailville CSA had come earlier that day and still needed to be processed. And the boxes in the basement are full of donated household items that will be needed when any one of Joyce’s guests move out into their own apartment. Her home, Grace Place, is a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality.

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