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Friends of
Peace Pilgrim

A Non-Profit, Tax-Exempt, All Volunteer Organization
43480 Cedar Ave, Hemet, CA 92544  (909) 927-7678


Summertime, 1991 "Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, hatred with love" Number 13

Online Edition

Table of Contents:   (TOC)
Dear Friends of Peace Pilgrim
Peace Pilgrim in Other Lands
Russian Peace Pilgrim Book
Skiers for Peace
To a Peace Economy
A Man to Match his Mountains
Community Peace Fellowships
Peace Pilgrim's Answers
New Peace Pilgrim Song
As Others See Us
Trade in Weapons Must Be Banned
Muslims and St. Francis
Vegetarian Diet
Letters From Pacifist Rabbi
Our Man in Taiwan
Hardcover Edition
Letters From a Baptist Pastor
Meeting Peace Pilgrim

Friends of Peace Pilgrim Home || Newsletter Index


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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only think that ever has. --  Margaret mead

A few really dedicated people can offset the ill effects of masses of our-of-harmony people, so we who work for peace must not falter. We must continue to pray for peace and to act for peace in whatever way we can, me must continue to speak for peace and to live the way of peace; to inspire others, we must continue to think of peace and to know that peace is possible.   --  Peace Pilgrim

Dear Friends of Peace Pilgrim, 

EVERYTHING WAS DRYING Up on this high desert,not a normal rain year since we moved here seven years ago. In March the rains came and the wild flowers bloomed, as we never saw before. Lavender sand verbena, golden coreopsis, purple sage bushes, flowers too numerous to mention. Our parched lawn turned green, filled with rabbits leaping in delight, and tiny, new bunnies suddenly appearing. Peach and apricot blossoms, fresh green leaves popping out of trees we though might be dying. 

Thanks for all the warm, appreciative responses to our newsletters – far too many to thank individually. Many mention they like to hear from people all around the world who love Peace Pilgrim’s message. And it IS exhilarating to read our daily mail, full of heartfelt thanks and requests for more books. And to answer our daily phone calls from as far away as Australia, Spain, Norway, Taiwan and Africa. We love sharing this experience with you friends of Peace Pilgrim who are making all of this possible. You who have been inspired by her message have freely contributed enough to print 220,000 books and over 600,000 STEPS – all paid for with your gifts. Here is a sample of recent responses: 

KATHMADU, NEPAL – {After receiving our newsletter} It’s good to read efforts of different people in different lands to live by the life and principles Peace Pilgrim has taught. It’s amazing also to know about your faithfulness in coordinating all those piles of information. 

I’m teaching English for students preparing to be teachers in the villages. I find that the PEACE PILGRIM book can be a good supplement for literature reading. The book has lots to teach about positive value systems for the life of the youth. 

FORT SMITH, ARKANSAS – Thank you for sending me your newsletter, I enjoy it very much. Sometimes I feel so alone in the Peace Movement, and to read about so many others all over the world working for Peace inspires me and helps me to keep on keeping on!

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Peace Pilgrim in Other Lands 

How similar the responses are from widely separate people: “Her message came at just the right time.” “Her words have changed my life.” No matter what religion they profess, they frequently write that she speaks what their religion teaches. No matter what nationality they are, she speaks their heart language {even though in English}. 

One common response from this country and other countries is wanting to share her message with friends and family and everyone in the world. They especially want to share it with their own people in their own language. And so they ask if it is all right to translate STEPS. Or they just go ahead and translate the booklet and send us a typewritten copy – like the young Catholic man in Poland, or the man in jail in Holland who translated STEPS into Turkish! 

We are of course always thrilled when there are new translations and hope they will be published and distributed in many more countries. We wish that a nonprofit group in each country would take over the translation, publication and distribution of the Peace Pilgrim book and STEPS. We do not charge a royalty except for commercial publishers who sell the books. 

We hear from hundreds of Africans who are thrilled with Peace Pilgrim – sometimes as many as six letters in one day. Several have wanted to translate Peace Pilgrim into their dialects, but they don’t have the money for printing. So we send hundred of free books and STEPS in English, and the demand is growing. Are there readers with ideas to help them print their own?     --   Ann 

Here are a few responses from people in other countries: 

KOLARI, FINLAND – I read about Peace Pilgrim, and her life made me rally think. Here in my home village no one had ever even heard about Peace Pilgrim. I want to tell them and everybody in Finland and in the world about her and about peace, how important and wonderful it is. I want to tell them we still have time, but we must use it right. We must start to do things for peace and a united would, now. Together we are strong. (I hope I can get student peace award next year.) 

LIMA, PERU – I am most grateful to you for sending PEACE PILGRIM and STEPS. She was a witness of all that is needed to change this world. I am a member of a Catholic religious order and have been working here for 32 years. I am committed to the cause of Peace and hope that we will all be sisters and brothers someday no matter what race, creed or social class we belong to. 

MEXICO CITY – Reading of Peace Pilgrim’s life has made a deep impression on me, perhaps because I have just reread THE WAY OF A PILGRIM, the Russian peasant whose life reminds me of Peace Pilgrim’s. I had told myself that such a life could not be lived in modern America when Behold! The book which you and your group has so lovingly prepared and distributed taught me the opposite. 

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – Overjoyed to receive STEPS and PEACE PILGRIM. I am carefully distributing STEPS, and how wonderfully the message reignites the inner life. One friend in distress came to me shortly after your package arrived. STEPS has brought her so much comfort and hope. She keeps it in her handbag and refers to it often. How happy I am to be a small link in such marvelous work…creating a vital core of Peace that will not be denied. 

COSTA RICA – I would very much like to have a copy to help me “get on track” and “stay on track” in terms of spiritual growth and trying to make my life consistently more in tune with the principles that Peace Pilgrim talks about. I would love to have a second copy to lend to a hundred people that I know, especially Peace Corps volunteers that I work with. 

BELIZE, CENTRAL AMERICA – I have just finished PEACE PILGRIM and am deeply moved by her story, love, life, works; her peace.   I am currently volunteering as a nurse. Daily I have found ways my own inner peace makes a profound impact on the larger community. I am grateful that Peace’s works are recorded, as they are challenging, comforting and inspiring to me. I now feel a call to continue towards inner peace so that world peace will be a reality.

INDIA – By chance came across the book PEACE PILGRIM in Library. I found it to be very, very inspiring, motivating, thrilling and much more, can’t describe in worlds. I will be very ,very happy to have a personal copy. I searcher here but couldn’t get any copy of the great book. So I am writing to you for five books.

NEW ZEALAND – I am very impressed with STEPS, which I was given in Ireland recently!

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Russian Peace Pilgrim Book Available 

The Russian translation is in the final stages of being edited, but we will not be able to get it to the book printer before fall. In order to make it available this summer, we have photocopied a limited number at low cost (91 pages at two cents a page). If you are going to the Soviet Union this summer or otherwise need it before fall, we would be glad to send cop(ies) to you. Of course, Russian and Spanish edition STEPS are also available. 

STEPS has been translated by volunteers in fourteen languages and printed in nine. The PEACE PILGRIM book has been published in Germany and is contracted to be published in Holland and France. 

We have sent more than 3000 of the RUSSIAN STEPS booklets to those going to the Soviet Union and to Soviets who have corresponded with us. We are receiving enthusiastic responses from them and requests for more booklets. Here are a couple: 

SERERODVINSKI – I’m a young Soviet woman from a northern town..I have just read the book “The Steps to the Soul’s Peace,” by Peace Pilgrim. I don’t know exactly how it is called in English. It arouses a storm of feelings in my soul. And it is not only words. 

I think you know about the hardships taking place in our country. But I believe that it is hard for you to imagine all our life. Without doubt all around, cruelty makes us cynical, heartless, and rough. And unfortunately I’m not an exception. Don’t think, please, that I’m complaining. But with great pain I suddenly understand that we are losing all kindness and beauty, which made our country so great. And I myself have not noticed the people surrounding me and don’t try to help those who need my help. I can say without exaggeration that it is the book by Peace Pilgrim that helps me understand this fact. She was a great woman, I believe, the most human person I’ve ever heard. I want to know more about her life and actions. Could you be so kind to send me her book, PEACE PILGRIM, THE PAGES OF HER LIFE?” I’ll be very much obliged to you. 

DNEPROPETROVSK – Dear friends! Dear brothers and sisters! Dear Earthly Compatriots! I just received a packet with the PEACE PILGRIM book, eighteen Russian STEPS and a newsletter. Really my English seems rather poor to express my feeling adequately. Those things are genuine TREASURE for me and my like-minded Soviet friends!!! I have about 50 pen pals in this country and I’m sure everyone will be thrilled to get such a book! THANKS!! 

The book in English is Fantastic! Tremendous! So inspiring! I trust you understand my feelings since you organized such a group of Peace Pilgrim’s friends! I’m so enthusiastic that I am ready to learn every word by her by heart! So appealing is everything she said and still more appealing she was Herself! Thank you for bringing this kind of Enlightenment into my life!!! Any further information concerning Peace Pilgrim would be HIGHLY appreciated here. I want to do anything for you as well! We have no dollars here; alas, our currency is not convertible, but if there’s anything you need please let me know!! I’m so eager to help. With sincere Love and Friendship! Warmest wishes for Peace – in both outer and inner worlds.

 *****

We print extra copies of our newsletters. If there is a particular one you would like more of, let us know and we will send them. 

Jackie Burch is no longer selling Peace Pilgrim T-shirts. She is a young single mother and college student and was not making enough selling T-shirts for it to be worth her time. If anyone else is interested in taking over the project let us know.

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Skiers for Peace – the USA-USSR
Peace Exchange Foundation 

Tom Hansen, with a M.A.  in Mathematics Education, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration, researched the use of computers in education and designed mathematics software and curricula used in schools. Excerpts from his letters: 

                                                                                                Summer 1990: 

I’m pleased to know that you are carrying on the work of Peace Pilgrim. She must have added so much too many lives during her journey. Just reading her book has meant much to me. I am in awe of her level of trust of people. I have written about our organization below: 

The billboard at the Kirovak ski area in the far north of the Soviet Union said, “FROM FRIENDSHIP IN SPORT TO PEACE ON EARTH.” It was April, 1988, and our group of American cross-country skiers was on our first exchange. We adopted the phrase as our own and it now graces the backs of our T-shirts. Several of us decided to help the cause of peace by an exchange of cross-country skiers between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. called “Ski For Peace.” So far, two groups of Soviet and three groups of American have been exchanged, ten in each group. 

Last year we formed the Peace Exchange Foundation so that “Ski For Peace” became just one of several programs. We have had one small summer youth exchange and have arranged a summer hiking exchange. 

The Peace Exchange Foundation is a tax-exempt organization of all volunteers. Our initial goal was to simply get to know each other better. To our great surprise, both Soviets and Americans found that there was an instant sisterhood and brotherhood between us. There seemed to be an unspoken bound that was just waiting for the chance to be revealed. All of us were amazed at how our previous “enemy” conditioning melted away immediately when we lived with each other. We saw from the start that if enough “common folk” like us could meet each other, the ground swell of friendship would eventually overcome the official distrust between our two countries. Hundreds of other grass roots organizations were discovering the same bond. We believe that collectively we helped raise the energy of caring and love to a threshold that could simply not be stopped. We are convinced that citizen-to-citizen exchanges have helped create a new reality of peace. We are amazed that the changes have occurred so rapidly, but we see that the desire for peace has always been there. 

Peace Pilgrim showed us that a simple life of peace is a powerful witness. She planted many seeds that are now taking hold. She showed an amazing trust in the goodness of people. She demonstrated that we do have the power to create new realities for ourselves. She gave us proof that love does indeed conquer all. Those of us who are involved in grass roots peace organizations are, in our humble and unique ways, trying to do exactly what Peace Pilgrim did. The joy of our collective efforts is that the world is seeing results. We will continue this quiet behind-the-scenes revolution. This is the most fun we have ever had! 

                                                                                                March, 1991 

“In the last two years there have been hopeful steps toward peace between the two major military powers in the world. We have seen a change of political structure toward freedom of expression…But we have also seen a war in the Persian Gulf. Lasting peace throughout the world will not come until we each take steps to change our view of our relationship to the rest of our species and to the earth itself…As the species which threatens all living things and the earth itself, we humans need to take positive steps now.” 

From a letter by another Peace Pilgrim friend, February, 1991: 

We entertained ten people from the Murmansk region last week when they came as part of “Ski For Peace” to ski the American Birkebeiner in Hayward. We are excited about making a return trip to visit them. They are wonderful, peace-loving people. It really impressed us when we were there in 1988, how MUCH they want peace. Having lost 20 million people in WW II, they are more aware than most of us what lack of peace can do. – Barbara Lontz 

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From a War Economy to a Peace Economy 

Excerpts from an address to the Austin, Texas City Council, March 15, 1990, by Margaret Hofmann, a visitor to our Peace Pilgrim Center. The rumored possible closing of a military base near Austin has been greeted with alarm, bordering on outrage

Austin has a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate that the economic welfare of a community does not depend on its military installations and contracts. We could be setting an example to the many cities in the United States, which are – or hopefully soon will be – in a similar situation. 

Our city is privileged to be on the cutting edge of putting into practice the admonition to beat our swords into plowshares, and it seems morally right that we take heed. You may recall President Eisenhower’s thoughtful words that “every gun which is made signifies a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and are not clothed.”  Our nation can certainly use any potential savings to feed the hungry, to house the poor, to treat the sick, and to educate our children. 

Let’s be in the forefront with imaginative ideas and actions. We are fortunate at last to be part of a conversion from a largely military to a predominantly civilian economy. Instead of attempting to hold it back, we should be eager to speed it along and to hasten the day when we will, once again, be concentrating on the production of goods and services which will benefit mankind in a real and tangible way. 

***** 

NEW ZEALAND – We have now finished sending PEACE PILGRIM to all the Secondary School libraries and all the Youth Hostels in New Zealand. 

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A MAN TO MATCH HIS MOUNTAINS

A Book by Eknath Easwaran 

This recently published book tells the fascinating story of Abdul Khan, a nonviolent soldier of Islam, born to a Pathan family in the northwest corner of India in 1890. Violence and revenge was an integral part of the lives of the Pathans. They resisted the British fiercely and were the only ones in the British Empire that were never fully subjugated. They lived by a strict code of revenge, obligated to avenge the slightest insult. For centuries this code had set brother against brother, family against family, clan against clan. 

Khan’s father was different. He made no enemies; he avoided feuds. He chose to forgive rather than seek revenge. This of course affected Kahn, his youngest son. While still a young man Khan became concerned with the poverty, ignorance and violence around him. What should he do? He decided to seek guidance by praying and fasting in a mosque. During the fast he decided to submit, to surrender to the Lord. At the end of the fast he felt a strength he had not known before. And since God needed no service, Khan chose to serve His children. 

Khan opened schools for the illiterate. He founded a nonpolitical missionary organization to encourage economic, social, and educational improvements in the Frontier. He started a journal with articles on hygiene and social issues. 

A young Pathan, who was inspired by Khan’s challenge to be of service, came to him with the idea that the country needed men ready to die for it – soldiers! Khan liked the idea, and the discussion evolved into the vision of nonviolent soldiers, drilled and disciplined, pledged to fight, but not with guns. {Khan had been influenced by Gandhi}. “What could possibly take more bravado than facing an enemy in a righteous cause without weapons, neither retreating nor retaliating?” It was the loftiest kind of honor.” 

From this simple beginning the army of nonviolent soldiers became 100,000 strong, calling themselves the Khudai Khidmatgars, “the Servants of God.” They were history’s first professional nonviolent army. 

From 1930 until India gained independence in 1948 these Pathans joined with Gandhi in the civil disobedience campaign to gain independence from England. They were treated with extreme violence by the British. They were beaten with steel-tipped staffs, their property was confiscated, their political leaders arrested. Crowds were fired on, resulting in hundreds of deaths. The Pathans stood their ground without retaliating. 

Gandhi was amazed. “That such men,” he wrote “who would have killed a human being with no more thought than they would have for killing a sheep or a hen, should at the bidding of one man have laid down their arms and accepted nonviolence as the superior weapon sounds almost like a fairy tale.” 

Khan was arrested by the British many times for starting schools, organizing the Pathans for self-help projects, protesting the inhuman treatment by the British, and engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience for independence. Altogether he spent 15 years in British prisons, where his health was damaged by the cruel treatment he received from the British hailers. 

The author, Easwaran, writes, “Khan’s example proves that within the scope of Islam exists a noble alternative to violence. His nonviolent army was entirely Muslim. He based his movement upon the ancient Islamic principles of universal brotherhood, submission to God’s will, and the service of God through the service of His creatures. 

“Khan based his life and his work on this deep principle. His ‘Army of God’ played a leading role in ending imperialist rule in India. Were his example better known, the Western world, as well as Muslims caught in the web of violence all over the Middle East, might come to recognize that the highest religious values of Islam are deeply compatible with a nonviolence that has the power to resolve great conflicts. 

“But Khan’s message is scarcely limited to Islam. It can help the non-Muslim world to understand the true greatness of Islam, but more than that, it should help all nations to understand their own potential for love in action. If Khan could raise a nonviolent army out of a people so steeped in violence as the Pathans, there is no country on earth where it cannot be done.” 

Khan sent the following message to Easwaran for this book: “The present-day world can only survive the mass production of nuclear weapons through nonviolence. The world needs Gandhi’s message of love and peace more today than it ever did before if it does not want to wipe out civilization and humanity itself from the earth’s surface.”                                                                                                ---John 

Whoever is patient and forgiving, these most surely are actions due to courage. ---Koran (chp. 42, surya 43) 

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COMMUNITY PEACE FELLOWSHIPS

Are recommended by Peace Pilgrim in STEPS as being of vital importance in periods of crisis. If you want to connect with other friend of Peace Pilgrim in your area, we will list your name, town, phone OR address. The following are new people who have asked to be included:

Ingri Cassel, Moses Lake, WA 509-766-1444
Paul Eagle, Medford, MA, 617-395-0034
Jean Waldron, Camillus, NY, 315-487-1172
Jarrett Brunner, Atlanta, GA, 404-874-5055
Bill Arlotto, 21001 Bryant St. #19, Canago Park, CA 91304
Wilma & Sam Reinke, Sarahsville, OH, 614-732-2747
Tristen Cuddihy, Upland, CA, 714-982-9744
Shirley Anne Briggs, Yorkville, IL, 708-553-5178
Flora Mitchell, Seattle, WA, 206-325-2305
Gloria Nash, 94-31 60 Ave #5c, Elmhurst, NY 11373-5052
Roger Opiela, Long View, TX, 903-759-7596
Myra Narvaez, 1023 Outer Rd., #43, San Diego, CA 92154

Peace Pilgrim’s Answers to College Students Questions: 

Q: "Do you feel if a person is highly motivated there is some kind of guidance beyond himself as to what he does?” 

A: “Well, we all have tremendous guidance, but especially those who are willing to allow their lives to be governed by the higher nature. That higher nature is there and to a certain extent you receive some guidance, but if you allow it to govern your life (and you have free will as to whether you will allow it to govern your life or not); then, of course, you will receive constant guidance. Our lives are ordered and arranged for us in many wonderful ways if we allow it to happen. 

“Remember that the strongest force within you, even stronger than your self-centered nature, is your higher nature. 

“Stick with the things that lift you up and stay away from the things that pull you down… 

“You see, the laws which govern this universe are set. We cannot change them, but we have free will as to whether we will obey them or disobey them. Now, if we obey them – harmony, or course. But suppose we disobey them; what happens? A problem presents itself, and what’s the purpose of that problem? To push you toward harmony. Everything in this universe is pushing us toward harmony. In spite of all the resistance of the self-centered nature, eventually over a long span of time, we will attain harmony because we will never be happy out of harmony.” 

Q.    “So, you think the only choice that any person has is for good eventually?” 

A:   “That is the only choice; yes. That is the sensible choice to make. Choose to live in harmony, with the governing laws and choose to live in harmony with your job in the total scheme of things, and then you will be a happy person. Yes, our free will is somewhat limited. We try to use it, but it can be used harmoniously only in one direction – and that is in the direction of harmony. 

“The laws of this universe are working in the direction of harmony and good, and constantly the good in all of us is pushing us in this direction. But we do have this free will, and therefore how soon we obey the laws of the universe and thereby find harmony both within our lives and within our world is up to us. It has been a joy to be with you. Peace to all of you.”

 

New Peace Pilgrim Song 

George Wolf, a former engineer who has simplified his life down to a motor home parked in our driveway, is a Peace Pilgrim volunteer making many improvements in our Center. He has composed a lively song about Peace Pilgrim, written in the folk ballad style of Woodie Guthrie and Pete Seeger. It provides a fun way to share with groups the spirit of some of Peace Pilgrim’s teachings. Let us know if you want a copy of the sheet music.

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As Others See Us

By Peace Pilgrim 

During the war in Vietnam I asked my correspondents from all over the world the same question: “What country do your fellow countrymen consider to be the biggest menace to the peace of the world?’ The answer was unanimous. It wasn’t Russia or China. It was us! I asked, “Why?” The answers varied a bit. The Orientals answered, “Because you are the only nation that used the nuclear bomb to kill people, and there is no evidence that you might not do it again.” In Latin America they tended to say, “It’s Vietnam today – it will be us tomorrow.” “Your economy works most smoothly in a war or war preparation period,” or, “In your country there is big money to be made on war or war preparations.” 

I don’t like to report this, it’s a negative thing, but I do think we need to see that the countries of the world do not always see our kind heart when they look across the sea. Instead they are apprehensive about our actions.

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TRADE IN WEAPONS MUST BE BANNED 

A letter to the editor of THE EUROPEAN, by Dr. Weerperuma, a French author of fifteen books, who plans to have a PEACE PILGRIM chapter in her new book on modern spiritual teachers.

--The real winners of the Gulf war are not the Allies but the manufacturers and sellers of weapons of destruction that stand to make vast profits…Weapons manufacture is beastly and unworthy of civilized nations. One of the best ways of discouraging future wars is the imposition of a worldwide ban on the arms trade which, like the slave trade, ought to be regarded as an anachronism. This is not a mere idealistic dream but a very practical means of preventing militarized conflicts.

Muslims and St. Francis 

We have been brought up in a culture that dismissed Muslims as a primitive people prone to violence and terrorism – as if the “Christian” countries had been centers of a nonviolent way of life! 

It is the rare Christian who has gone into the Muslim world as a student. One of the exceptions was Francis of Assisi. While other Christians were killing Muslims and when contact with Muslims was prohibited by church law, Francis went unarmed to visit the Muslim sultan in Egypt. He was received with traditional Arab hospitality. The sultan spent several days with his remarkable guest. It was said that they parted as brothers. 

Francis was deeply moved by the way Muslims interrupt the normal activities of life in order to turn towards Mecca and pray five times a day. When he returned to Europe, he sought to establish a similar custom among Christians and achieved some success. Even today, there are places where, when church bells ring out, Catholics cross themselves and pray no matter where they are or what they have been doing. In doing so, they are linked to the devotional customs of Islam that inspired Francis of Assisi. --  Jim Forest, F.O.R. International

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Vegetarian Diet

We have been challenged to present the case for vegetarianism since Peace Pilgrim was a vegetarian, and so are we.  She said, "Our present lesson is to stop killing each other. The lesson of non-killing of creatures is a little bit into the future, though those of us who know better need to live up to the highest light." For those who are ready to consider this lesson we are submitting the following, taken from an article by Dr. Michael Klaper, MD., published in the Vegetarian Voice, Winter 1990-1991.

Vegetarianism is a powerful healing and evolutionary force for our society. Choosing to become more vegetarian or pure vegetarian (vegan) not only benefits the health of the individual, but also sets an example of reverence for life. Cruelty-free food choices are affirmations that reduce the violence in all our lives -- especially the "unseen" violence of the distant slaughterhouses and factory farms.

Simplifying our lives, consuming less and living with an attitude of appreciation for the miracles of life are more essential today. Now, more than ever, is time for the clear, sane light of vegetarianism to shine brightly. Know that if you are one who affirms life and gentleness in thoughts, words, actions -- and on the dinner plate -- you are a valued member of a large "army" of peacemakers and earth-healers. These are the legions that will ultimately bring peace to our beautiful planet.

For those who would like to learn more about the importance of being a vegetarian from the environmental, health and the cruelty-to-animals viewpoint, we recommend the book DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA by John Robbins.  Available from EarthSave, 706 Frederic St., Santa Cruz, CA 95062-2205. Dr. Klaper is the Scientific Director of EarthSave. At their requests we have sent them 4725 STEPS booklets which they send with their mailings.

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Letters From Pacifist Rabbi Gershom

Sandstone, Minnesota -- February, 1991:

It was with great delight that I received STEPS. My wife and I met Peace Pilgrim in Minneapolis in 1980. We were very impressed with her, and several things she said have influenced our lives. She was truly a rare human being.

Having taken a stand supporting the formation of a Palestinian State in the Middle Ease, I have cut myself off from either a job or financial support from the Jewish community. This has forced me to simplify my life -- which has been good. The book will be well used in my work for peace...May Our Creator bless you and your work in all ways.

After they received our book and 12 STEPS, March 1991;

You are right concerning my isolation in these times -- it is very hard to be a pacifist Jew right now. I often find that my greatest support comes from people of other faiths or no faith at all who are working for peace. It is not that there are no teachings on peace in Judaism -- there are but because of the recent war everybody is jumping on the patriotic bandwagon. I am currently devoting some of my energy to compiling quotes about peace from Jewish sources and would like you to have this prayer which I found from an 18th century Hasidic master:

Lord of peace...Creator of all things! May it be Thy will to put an end to war and bloodshed on earth and to spread a great and wonderful peace over the whole world, so that nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore...May it be granted unto us to fulfill Thy commandment, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself' with all our hearts and souls and bodies and possessions...God who is peace, bless us with peace.

Because of our letters to the editors opposing the war, we are now known as peace workers here, and our house, a "safe" place to talk about peace. A local minister unburdened his heart in our living room -- he was so stressed out he ended up with high blood pressure and was on a heart monitor all because of the war. He had no one but us to talk to because he feared losing his job if he came out against the war from the pulpit. Another man told me he was only one of two people opposing the war at his place of work, and they were being harassed and called Communists. Our public stand has helped these people feel that they are not alone. In a rural area, that is very important. I hope to get these people together to meet one another.

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Our man in Taiwan

Dr. Lee De Stefano has been "Our Man in China" for several years. He now lives and teaches in Taiwan.

I have regularly been receiving books. No problem. I need about 500-600 more! I guess you should just keep them coming. Every student I a teaching will have received a book before the school year is finished -- and I pass them on to every English-speaking soul I meet. Even the English-speaking police-persons in the foreign affairs division of Tainan City all have books. I cannot begin to tell you what an incredible potential is being awakened here. And I am still trying to find ways to get books into the mainland -- I have people take them in when they go!

I am teaching at National Taiwan University in Tainan City. I gave a book of STEPS to a colleague. She had lost her belief in God. She told me she was very depressed after reading the book. I could not understand why -- she felt badly about not being more like Peace Pilgrim. "Sure, I was raised with values and ethics -- god moral principles -- I knew a lot about Jesus and all, but none of it meant a thing to me until I read the book!" My friend and colleague reads the book when she wakes up in the middle of the night. She has further shared with me that she believes in God. Why all this change? Because Peace Pilgrim was just an everyday, common person, but lived and exemplified what Christ taught without contriving, but with living it day to day, day by day. She is so moved, it is incredible to witness this.

I have used the materials (video, book, booklet) for my public speaking class! Every single student I am teaching will have a book English-speaking professors, too. The work has only just begun here. I cannot impress upon all of you enough the deepest sense of gratitude I have for your continued Love, Light and support. Keep the books coming!

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Hard Cover Edition – Peace Pilgrim 

Our new hard cover PEACE PILGRIM book is greatly appreciated by many people. How it all came about is a remarkable story – that we would have so many of these books for friends of Peace Pilgrim, as well as for all public libraries in the country! 

A Peace Pilgrim friend was so inspired by our book she contributed enough to place a book in all the main public libraries and their branches. Thirty volunteers helped package and mail 10,000 books in two weeks, just before the postage went up – saving $1000.

Although we ordered only 20,000 books, we had to buy 40,000 in order to get the kind of paper we needed to keep the weight low. This was necessary in order to mail the books via the inexpensive bulk rate. 

Though at first we were not happy to order so many, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We are now delighted to have them. People request them for schools, colleges, churches, friends and for their personal libraries. 

Librarians have requested over 700 books for their branches. The New York City librarian requested 100. It has been a disappointment that more librarians have not requested books. There may be several reasons for this – war hysteria when the word “Peace” may seem unpatriotic, suspicion about free books, or scarce shelf space. 

We need your help to place PEACE PILGRIM in every public library in the country. Would you be willing to contact your librarians to see if they and their branches have added our book to their collections? If they have not, would you tell them your feelings about the book – how inspiring it is, that it is a very important and popular book? Take a library book along and offer to give them more for their branches. We will send you more books and copies of letters from librarians or readers who are enthusiastic about our book if you need them. 

It is thrilling to hear from people in tiny towns and villages from Alaska to Texas who write of their surprise and delight in finding PEACE PILGRIM in their library. Heartwarming to hear from librarians who enthusiastically want more books for libraries and for themselves. Following are excerpts from a few of the letters we receive: 

DYER, NV – I was at the little Fish Lake Valley library using the copier when the librarian came around the corner with PEACE PILGRIM in her hand. She handed it to me and said, “Here’s a book that just came in, it was sent to the library free and it looks interesting.” My immediate reaction was that it was some book from a radical religious group and that any; book that was given away free must have no value. And how was I going to gracefully decline the book? But I took the book from her hand and turned it over to read the critiques of the book. I was delighted to find that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross thought highly of the book. Well, I thought, I’ll just take it home and browse it, but I didn’t expect much. 

When I started reading it I could hardly put it down and to say I enjoyed it would be an understatement. Peace Pilgrim’s ideas and religious beliefs are so much like my own that it was hard to believe. Her suggestions are so practical and logical and down to earth. Her examples help you to apply what she is saying or teaching. Best of all I started right away to practice some of them and they are working really well for me. I feel more peaceful, happier, am not depressed and have more energy. Best of all, my little good deeds and services to others have had huge results leading me to realize how hungry the world is for good deeds and how much good is done by just a small service or action. I am amazed. Her book is causing quite a stir in this valley. There are quite a few lined up to read the library’s copy, only right now the librarian is reading it. 

UNALASKA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, The Aleutian Islands, Alaska – The PEACE PILGRIM book you so kindly sent arrived and this is just to thank you for including our library in your mailing. Glancing at the book, I’m sure it will be picked up by many of our students and adults in our small community who m make use of the library. 

*****  

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Letters From a Baptist Pastor 

A Pastor of a Baptist Church in Eminence, Kentucky found PEACE PILGRIM in his public library and wrote: 

I read Peace’s message as it appears on page vii, and immediately checked out the book. For the past two weeks, I have been captivated by her message. 

My first remembered conversations about peace came during my elementary and junior high school years (the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis). As the years passed, I continued to be nudged along by the presence and work of Martin Luther King and the Vietnam War. How, during those eventful years and the years which followed, did I miss hearing about Peace Pilgrim? I am now thankful to have at last heard about her and to have “heard” her message. I give thanks for her and for all of you who have worked to see that she and her message continues to live and inspire those who are exposed to it. 

While she would have most likely denied a direct connection – certainly, an institutional connection – with the Christian faith of which I am a minister, she embodied that which is good and right both with the faith and with its Lord. I may have missed seeing and hearing her in this life, but in whatever life there is beyond this earthly life, I do expect yet to meet her. Until then, I would like more information and the opportunity to share her and her message with others I know. Thus, I write for your assistance. 

From a very warm second letter after he received our books, STEPS and tapes: “I have already shared her book with several friends. I am considering using her STEPS as a guide for a summer Sunday night study here in our church. While her philosophy/theology goes beyond the realm of traditional Christianity, it also certainly encompasses the truth as told and taught by the Christ we Christians are seeking to follow.”

 ***** 

LET US HELP THE PHOENIX TO RISE from the ashes, let us help lay the foundation for a new renaissance, let us help to accelerate the spiritual awakening until it lifts us into the golden age which would come! In this crisis situation peace is everybody’s business! The time to work for peace is NOW.  --  Peace Pilgrim 

We are forever thankful to be spreading Peace Pilgrim’s message during these times when Americans are euphoric about having won a war. There has been little recognition of the enormity of the devastation, the numbers of Arab lives lost and still being lost. 

UNICEF reported March 7 that tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians are likely to die as the weather warms, due to epidemics of typhoid, cholera and meningitis, all compounded by malnutrition. These epidemics are the result of US bombing the vital components of the nation’s infrastructure. 

The Fellowship of Reconciliation is engaged in a project to assist all civilians wounded in the Gulf War. For a free copy of their brochure, The Civilian Casualty Fund, write: FOR, Box 271, Nyack, NY 10968. 

A few days before we started the slaughter, this appeared in the New York Times (January 11, l991) in an article entitled, “Anti-War Movement Growing”: 

Every major religious denomination in the country officially opposes a Persian Gulf war at this time as morally unjustifiable and maintains that economic sanctions need time to work and that negotiations have not been fully explored. 

EISENHOWER’S FAREWELL ADDRESS  1-17-61: “In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.” The Pentagon had a problem with that quotation because the entire speech was slated to be part of an Eisenhower memorial display on the Pentagon’s 3rd floor. However, it didn’t take them long to solve the problem: they simply omitted the above section from the speech. (LA Times, 2-21-70) 

SENATOR MARK HATFIELD from Oregon – from the Congressional Record, August, 1989: 

Peace through strength is a fallacy…I suggest that we consider changing the motto on our coins. It now reads: In God We Trust...Our motto ought to be: “In Bombs We Trust”. That is our national ethic…Ultimately the security of the Nation is not found in its materialism. It is found in a spirit. It is found in a strength of heart and mind. It is found in its people – we the people. 

We hear from those who are deeply concerned about our country and more determined than ever before to do something to help bring world peace. 

One wrote from Columbus, OH – The recent Persian Gulf affair has surely multiplied the workers for PEACE!

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Meeting Peace Pilgrim

By Michael Riversong 

Michael Riversong, a long-time friend of Peace Pilgrim, stopped by one evening and played some beautiful music on his harp, including Peace Pilgrim songs he made up spontaneously. On a walk in our river bed, he told us his Peace Pilgrim story; and we asked him to write it: 

In 1968, I was one miserable high school student. My father had fought in World War II, and the experience convinced him that war was no answer to anything. He passed this conviction on to his children. I had always thought it should be possible for people to live in peace but had never seen anyone do it successfully. 

I was getting increasingly discouraged and so depressed that I set up a plan to commit suicide. There was going to be a church retreat over a weekend; and if things didn’t improve by the end of the retreat, I was going to do myself in during the next week. 

It was Saturday afternoon at the Unitarian church in Colorado Springs, and most of us were just hanging around, being bored. Someone came into the room and said, “Some lady is coming over to talk about peace in the sanctuary.” Most of us decided to go because it sounded a little more interesting than what we were doing. 

Over the next few hours my entire outlook on life changed. Peace Pilgrim proved, absolutely, that it is possible to live a life of peace and joy. We were a pretty sharp group and asked some tough questions. Someone asked her what she’d do if she or someone she loved were threatened. She told us the story about protecting an 8-year-old girl in a barn, merely by quietly standing between her and a psychotic man. One by one our doubts and fears were erased by her overwhelming love. 

All thoughts of suicide (which is an ultimate act of hostility) were banished from my mind…I was able to go out with a new sense of purpose in life, which can be renewed simply by thinking of her. We corresponded occasionally for several years after that and met again in Denver in 1975. She will always be in my heart, and I like to think that she saved my life.

*****

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