On the Table: Disasters – Who’s Got It the Worst?


People think that natural disasters are “equal opportunity” catastrophes.  But, in reality, disasters have a disproportionate impact on some groups such as women, the poor, children, people who are elderly, disabled, or even undocumented immigrants.  Faith-based responses to disaster are essential to recovery.  Some denominations excel at getting feet on the ground, supplies on site and experienced assistance to victims.  Is there more we can do?  Is there a way to help our faith communities respond to these other issues as well?  Is that asking too much?  Give us your thoughts, or simply share your relief work experiences.

–The Rev Sarah Person

A Contemplative Practice In Times Of Trauma And Violence


Submitted by board member, The Rev. Edward Cardoza

My heart and mind are heavy.   My spirit is unsettled. I am thinking about the tragedy that unfolded this weekend in Orlando.  I find myself distracted to the point where prayer and silence seem challenging.

I know it is in times such as these that finding a place for solitude and for reflection is important.   First, I believe prayer matters.  Second, I believe healing begins within me.  Lastly, I think silence deepens our ability to love, to be empathetic and to be a strength to others in times of trauma and violence.

One of life’s important rituals–taught to me by my elders–is to stand vigil. It is clear we will bury so many in the weeks to come–once again–too many, too young. We will stand or kneel or bend or crouch or curl…weeping, astonished, angered, frustrated and wrecked…but in the end we will stand back up again–let’s do so rooted in love–keeping vigil for each of the Creator’s beloved.

I offer the following contemplative exercise as a way of creating space and of remembering those who were killed.

Step 1: Find a list of those who are victims—local tv news stations and newspapers will be printing lists with names and biographies.

You can check out the official list here:  http://www.cityoforlando.net/blog/victims/

Step 2: Read the name of a single person, softly and out loud.  Repeat the name, once again.

Step 3: Keep the person in your heart….take a breath in and then release the breath out.  Keep silence for 1 minute…repeat the person’s name.

Step 4: Hold this person in your heart, hold this person’s family in your heart, hold this person’s community in your heart….ask for peace, ask for love, and ask for comfort.

Step 5:  Repeat the process.
If you can set aside an hour, you should be able to get through all the names.  If you can only do a few at a time, that is okay.  You can invite someone to join you.  At the end, take a few minutes for quiet—and voice your own needs.