The Common Good
September-October 1995

Resources for Renewal and Change

by Rachel Johnson | September-October 1995



About the Holy Land is a resource packet for churches and other groups compiled by Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). The packet of study and prayer materials about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict includes: fact sheets, a liturgy, studies on Zionism and the Bible, posters, and numerous news items and stories from CPT's January to April 1995 violence reduction project in Israel and the West Bank.

The materials cover several subjects, including treatment of Palestinian prisoners, the origins of terrorism, and the conflict in Hebron, the site of CPT's current Middle East peacemaking project. An annotated bibliography, glossary, and dateline provide background. The packet offers helpful resources for churches to study the complex issues involved in the conflict in the Holy Land. Packets are available from: CPT, P.O. Box 6508, Chicago, IL 60680-65088; (312) 455-1199.


Skipping Stones is a non-profit children's magazine that encourages cooperation, creativity, and a celebration of cultural and ecological richness. It features original art and writing in many different languages, accompanied by English translations. Each issue contains international pen pals, book reviews, news, and a guide for parents and teachers.

Its excellence has not gone unnoticed. Skipping Stones won the EdPress Award for Excellence in Educational Journalism in 1993 and recently was awarded the 1995 Golden Shoestring Award from the Educational Press Association of America, given to a magazine that consistently demonstrates excellence in educational journalism despite working from very limited resources. Skipping Stones accepts art and original writings in every language and from all ages. They especially encourage youth from under-represented populations to send in their work. Subscriptions to Skipping Stones magazine (5 issues a year) are $20 for individuals and $30 for institutions. Low-income discounts of 50 percent are available. Contact: Skipping Stones, P.O. Box 3939, Eugene, OR 97403-0939; (503) 342-4956.


Are you interested in living more simply but not sure where to start? The Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center has created a series of practical booklets, Simple Living: A Six-Part Reflection for Small Groups, that can be used to facilitate a change in lifestyle. The booklets are designed to lead small groups in prayerful reflection on the choices that we make in our lives and how they affect the larger world community.

Each booklet focuses on a different facet of simple living: getting started, walking gently on the Earth, time, money, technology, and community. The sessions are presented in a context of prayer and ritual, with consideration of both the personal and global effects of our choices. To order the Simple Living booklets ($2 each plus postage), contact: Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center, 150 12th Ave. #3, Seattle, WA 98122; (206) 223-1138.


In a country where more than four million people are homeless, The Homeless Garden Project provides a model of potential healing. The project, begun in Santa Cruz, California, in 1990, is the result of the hard work and dedication of 17 employees and more than 100 homeless people. Beginning from scratch by transforming a vacant lot into a plentiful organic garden, the project has since expanded, creating specialized gardens. One garden in particular is a safe place for women who live on the streets to work, growing flowers from which dried wreaths will be made.

While providing a place for homeless people to find sanctuary, as well as to learn and teach others organic gardening, the project has also established a mutually beneficial relationship with the community (businesses and individuals).

The Homeless Garden Project has created a video, Growing Hope, written by Jered Lawson and narrated by Harrison Ford. It illustrates what has been created by a group of committed persons with support and help from small businesses, community groups, and neighbors who are shareholders in the Community Supported Agriculture program. The video is a beautifully composed string of stories of how people became involved in the project and how it has shaped their lives. The video is a helpful resource for people interested in starting a similar project or as an educational tool for schools and community and church groups. To order the video ($20 for individuals and $65 for institutions) or for more information, contact: The Homeless Garden Project, P.O. Box 617, Santa Cruz, CA 25061; (408) 426-3609.


Conscientious objection to physical participation in war has been legally recognized since 1940. Taxpayers, who pay half of each federal income tax dollar to support military programs that finance and deploy weapons, enjoy no such protection. The Peace Tax Fund Bill would extend the right of conscience to taxpayers.

The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund invites activists to join their "10,000 Letters: A Witness for Conscience" project. The goal of the project is to generate 10,000 letters to Congress asking for an alternative for those who are conscientious objectors to paying for war. Not only is the pen mightier than the sword, it is an important tool in the campaign to stop the taxes of conscientious objectors from paying for swords (bombers, missiles, and so on). The project will run through November 1995. For free information about the 10,000 Letters project or to get involved contact: National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, 2121 Decatur Place NW, Washington, DC 20008-1923; (202) 483-3751.


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