Senior Editor, Sojourners magazine
Photo: Brandon Hook / Sojourners

Invite Rose to Speak

Rose, who lived in Washington, D.C. for 35 years, lives in Oak View, Calif. She has been on Sojourners staff since 1986.

For more than 35 years, Rose has rooted herself with Sojourners magazine and ministry. She is author of Bending the Arch: Poems (2019), Drawn By God: A History of the Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries from 1967 to 1991 (with Janet Gottschalk, 2012), and Who Killed Donte Manning? The Story of an American Neighborhood.

In the course of a 35 plus-year career in faith-based activism, advocacy journalism, and pastoral leadership, Rose has proven to be a skilled organizer, exceptional writer, visionary pastoral leader, and innovative teacher of biblical literacy.

With Sojourners, Rose has worked as an organizer on peace and environmental issues, internship program director, liturgist, community pastor, poetry editor, and, currently, as a Senior Editor of Sojourners magazine, where she writes a regular column on spirituality and justice. She is responsible for the Living the Word section, poetry, Bible studies, and interviews – and oversees the production of study guides, discussion guides, and the online bible study Preaching the Word. She is also a religion reviewer for Publishers Weekly and a Huffington Post commentator. Her work has appeared in National Catholic Reporter, Publishers Weekly, Religion News Service, Radical Grace-Oneing, The Merton Seasonal, U.S. Catholic, and elsewhere.

Rose has a veteran history in social justice activism, including: organizing inter-religious witness against the Keystone XL pipeline; educating and training groups in nonviolence; leading retreats in spirituality and justice; writing on topics as diverse as the “Spiritual Vision of Van Gogh, O'Keeffe, and Warhol,” the war in the Balkans, interviews with black activists Vincent Harding and Yvonne Delk, the Love Canal's Lois Gibbs, and Mexican archbishop Ruiz, cultural commentary on the Catholic church and the peace movement, reviews of movies, books, and music.

A founding member of a small creative writing group, Rose Berger has taught writing and poetry workshops for children and adults. She’s completed her MFA in poetry through the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program. Her poetry has been published in Sojourners, The Other Side, Radix and D.C. Poets Against the War.

Rose grew up in the Central Valley of California, located in the rich flood plains of the Sacramento and American rivers. Raised in radical Catholic communities heavily influenced by Franciscans and the Catholic Worker movement, she served for nine years on the pastoral team for Sojourners Community Church; five as its co-pastor. She directed Sojourners internship program from 1990-1999. She is currently senior editor and poetry editor for Sojourners magazine.

She has traveled throughout the United States, and also in Ukraine, Israel/Palestine, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosova, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and El Salvador visiting primarily with faith communities working for peace in situations of conflict.

Rose’s articles include:

She lives in Oak View, Calif., in the Ventura River watershed on traditional Chumash lands.

Posts By This Author

Alternative Trade Routes

Want to learn about trade laws for small businesses in Tanzania? Or buy lovely handcrafted mugs for your church volunteers? 

Great Scot!

Hours after the Scottish Royal Navy announced that its fourth Trident nuclear-armed submarine—the HMS Vengeance—had entered service, 373 protesters were arrested in the largest-ever dem

Attitudes and Latitudes

Poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes

 

Building Supplies

"Uncharted Waters" is a new Mars Hill Audio report exploring the social, economic, and moral costs of casino gambling on the small town of Tunica, Mississippi.

The Time of Coca

by Rose Marie Berger 05-01-2001
On the Colombian front of the drug war, it's hard to tell who—or what—is the real enemy.

Sojourners assistant editor Rose Marie Berger traveled to Colombia in January with the human rights organization Witness for Peace to get a firsthand look at the supply side of the "war on drugs." She sought to assess the on-the-ground effects of "Plan Colombia"—the $1.3 billion U.S. military aid package approved by Congress last fall. The group met with a wide range of people, from local pastors and human rights workers to U.S. Embassy and Colombian government officials. They met subsistence farmers who grow coca that is processed into cocaine, a product that ravages neighborhoods across the United States—neighborhoods like Washington, D.C.'s Columbia Heights, where Berger lives. The effects of this "Colombia-to-Columbia Heights" connection, Berger writes, can be seen every day "in the form of discarded crack bags, late-night weapons fire, and prostitution."

The most difficult aspect of the experience for Berger was dealing with the despair that is a natural response to the horrors she witnessed. How do you bring a message of hope, for instance, to the woman Berger met one afternoon in a refugee center—"a woman whose brother had been murdered by paramilitaries, crying uncontrollably in my arms." In the end, the only answer to that question may lie in the telling of the story.   
—The Editors

The pistol is shapely against his hip—hard glint of steel, sweaty camouflage. "I wasn't expecting you, but you are most welcome. Please sit. I'll send someone to get you water." Commandant Roberto Trujillo Navarro, a 1976 graduate of the School of the Americas, graciously welcomes the Witness for Peace representatives to the Santa Ana Forward Post, headquarters of the 24th Brigade in the sweltering jungle of Putumayo, in southern Colombia.

Trujillo is new to this post. The last commander was transferred after human rights groups publicized evidence that the 24th Brigade allowed paramilitaries to massacre civilians in the Putumayo region.

Behind the barracks condors sun themselves on the fence posts, blue-black wings stretched wide. The grassy ditch along the entrance road flaunts little metal signs warning of mines.

Putumayo takes its name from the river that is a natural border between Colombia and Ecuador and Peru. An area roughly the size of Vermont, Putumayo grows about 60 percent of the coca exported from Colombia—which produces 70 percent of the world's coca supply. Until 1996, the region was beyond the reach of any arm of government, a "Wild West" controlled by the world's oldest leftist insurgency, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Roads were built with grading equipment stolen by the FARC. Hospitals and schools were built by the FARC, too. And FARC "justice" was swift and permanent.

Can You Say "Counterinsurgency"?

by Rose Marie Berger 05-01-2001

In November 2000, Congress passed "Plan Colombia," a $1.3 billion plan to fight cocaine production in Colombia. 

Unless the Lord Builds the House

by Rose Marie Berger 03-01-2001

Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church's new building demonstrates how architecture can incarnate the history, strength, and spirit of a people.

A Righteous Light

Jennifer Harbury's eight-year fight for justice in the death of her husband, Guatemalan resistance leader Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, has ended in victory.

What do you get for a planet that has everything?

The Alliance of Religions and Conservation and the World Wildlife Fund brought together 11 major faiths-representing some 4 billion people-to ask that very question.

Peace Prize or Gas Chamber

Convicted murderer and gang leader Stanley "Tookie" Williams has been nominated for the 2001 Nobel Prize for Peace.

Let Them Eat Grapes

The United Farm Workers union has called off its 16-year boycott of California table grapes, citing recent organizing and contract victories as the reason.

Soldiering on in Bean Town

According to the United Nations, one child in four lives in an unstable, often violent, environment. The World Council of Churches is determined to change those statistics-one city at a time.

Cuppa Joy?

John Sage is low-key in approach and evangelistic in mission: Save the world through coffee. Can't be done, you say?

News Bites

April 23-29 is national "Turn off Your TV" week. Coincidentally, it is also "Roll Back the Rug and Teach the Kids the Electric Slide" week.

Volumes of Inspiration

by Rose Marie Berger, by Molly Marsh 03-01-2001

Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines, edited by Richard Foster.

Can't Buy Me Love

54 percent of global billionaires are in the United States

A Crack in the Glass Ceiling

The Church of Pakistan has ordained its first two women deacons, despite civil court action by a breakaway church that believes the Bible bans women from the clergy.

Building Supplies

The YouthPeace organizing packet has graphics, media information, literature lists, and training, workshop, and organizing ideas for local youth activists.

The Grim Sweeper

Making caskets is fine. But who's going to clean up this mess? Inside their light, fragrant workshop, a handful of monks are hard at work. They're planing. They're ripping.

A Caged Bird Sings

by Rose Marie Berger 01-01-2001
Filipino Karl Gaspar spent 22 months in a Marcos prison. This is the truth he found there.