Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What I didn't want ; Kathleen Helbling

I was raised Catholic as many of you were and I remember being very excited when Vatican II occurred because I felt that the church was in the Middle Ages and needed to come into modern times. But as time went on and I consulted with various priests, I became disillusioned and left. For several years I did not attend any church and felt freed by this. Bad times came in my life, though, and I felt a need for spiritual help. My brother took me to evangelical churches and although they were welcoming, they were so strict in what you could believe (or not), that I felt unsatisfied. When I met Paul, he led me back to a Catholic church that was very outgoing and the music was awesome. Still, isn't there something more?

When we moved to Ohio, we went to several churches and could find nothing like AZ. Then we met an amazing woman and her partner (a gay couple) who were minstering at St. Tomas More in Bowling Green. She began a year long study group called, "Just Faith". This class covered 36 weeks of classes in which we learned about the miseries of the world and how Jesus led us to do something about these things. We learned of the horrors of war and poverty and racism. By the end of the classes we all had decided to become more involved in simplifying our lives and working for justice. On a trip to the protest as SOA in 2007, we met a man who told us about Christin Peacemaking Teams. We couldn't do anything about our interest then, but when we retired, we signed up to go into training with a delegation first at First Nations in Canada. While we were at CPT training, we learned about the work going on at the border with No More Deaths. The following spring, we joined the group and have been working there ever since, part-time.

On one of Paul's hikes in the desert, someone asked him if he were a Quaker. He said he was not, but wondered why he would ask. He said that the pins on his cap were Quaker slogans and he was a Friend and went to meeting in Tempe. Paul went alone to one of the meetings because I really wasn't interested. Paul enjoyed meditation and so quiet time was right up his alley! I, on the other hand, loved music and reading and ceremony. We had agreed that we would worship together when we married and so I decided that I could tolerate an hour a week. The hour of quiet went very slowly for me at first, but the messages that others spoke always seemed to speak right to me. I loved the lack of hierarchy, and the understanding of peace and justice that I found in the Perrysburg group. I loved their work on the environment and work on sustainable food production. I still have much to learn, but I am enjoying the learning. I am feeling that the work I do and the strength I get from the meeting, nourish me.

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