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Excerpts  from To Celebrate

To Celebrate

March & April

See Jan. & Feb. here.

Treasury of Celebrations complete (Catalog #7)

Items from To Celebrate: Reshaping Holidays and Rites of Passage (Alternate Celebrations Catalog #6) are Free Resources on our Website.

This is a text file. The graphics and formatting come in the 225 page book.

You're welcome to download and copy this information -- but not sell it -- as long as you include on each copy: "© Creative Commons [originally Alternatives for Simple Living]. Used by permission. For more ideas to simplify your life, visit SimpleLivingWorks.org

 

March and April (pp. 97-114)

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LENT: PREPARING FOR DISCIPLESHIP

Originally a season of fasting and penance for new converts preparing for baptism on Easter Eve, Lent is a period of 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter and corresponds to Jesus' 40-day fast in the wilderness in preparation for his ministry. Actually, Lent is a period of 46 days because Sundays, as days when fasts could be broken, were not included in the 40 days. The season of Lent includes many special days marking particular events in Jesus' ministry as he approached his death: Ash Wednesday, Passion or Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

When Christianity became the state religion of the Roman empire in the fourth century, the church was endangered by throngs of new untutored members. To counter the paganism of these new converts, the Lenten fast and practices of self-renunciation became requirements of all Christians. Fasting and self-renunciation were symbolic ways to identify with the suffering of Jesus. Lent became a time of recommitment; a time to ward off the threat of assimilation into the popular culture.

As a time for disciplined reexamination of one's baptismal vows - leading to repentance - and reflection on the cost of discipleship, Lent culminates naturally and directly in the celebration of the resurrection on Easter Sunday and its implications for participation in Jesus' ministry.

 

Another Kind of Fasting

Our most important family alternative celebration occurs during Lent. We used the following idea one year and, at our children's request, have repeated it.

We had become aware of the severely limited budgets of families living on welfare. In order to know how that feels, our family decided to observe Lent by choosing to live on the amount of money a welfare family receives for food. The first year I actually took out the entire amount of money we had to spend on our welfare budget so the children could watch it being spent. Even with the normal amount of food on hand at the beginning of our Lenten experience, during the last week we had some very unusual meals.

We celebrated Easter with a feast, using money carefully saved from our welfare budget. The next day the children and I went to the grocery store, using the money we had saved from our regular food budget to purchase food and take it to our local food pantry.

Although this is not like having to live on a restrictive budget day in and day out, it provides a "hunger" experience and several family discussions on hunger. This also provides the family with the experience of giving up and giving to others. -- Deborah Heaton Enid, Oklahoma

 

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Every Sunday morning, except during Lent, our family enjoys homemade cinnamon rolls as a symbol of resurrection. On Easter Sunday morning our favorite cinnamon rolls reappear on our table, this time in the form of the resurrection lamb. -- Betty Voskuil Holland, Michigan

 

Stations of the Cross

One year for Good Friday our family did a living Stations of the Cross. We visited places where Jesus suffers today: abortion clinic, welfare office, unemployment office, military weapons manufacturer.

The next year we did this on a simpler scale, doing things in which our children could be involved. We visited a hospital and took books for its nursery and visited in a senior nursing home. We then collected food for the local food pantry. -- Mary and Bill Merrill Columbus, Ohio

 

Lenten Lifestyle Assessment

Lent is a time for expectation, reflection and self-examination. A group of concerned people from our congregation decided it was important for us to evaluate our lives as Christians and determine if we were living them to the fullest. The result was a family calendar indicating daily Bible readings, along with thoughtful activities for each day during the six weeks in Lent.

As an attempt to gain support for each other, a tree was set up near the pulpit to be used for families to write their experiences on "ornaments" to be placed on the tree. After three weeks of the experiment, a pot-luck dinner was held for participating families to share their joys and frustrations.

A Lenten Lifestyle Assessment Program gave focus to each week's activities with concrete suggestions for changes in our use of the earth's resources as well as individual gifts and resources. We were challenged to practice and to experiment with voluntary simplicity in television watching, auto and energy use, the way we spend our time, foods we choose, recreation and leisure activities, and the ways we choose to serve others.

Participating families were asked to sign a Lenten Covenant to

  1. Engage in daily scripture reading and prayer;
  2. Focus on specific activities each week, as suggested in the packet.
  3. Pray for members of the congregation who are participating in the Lenten project;
  4. Share activities with others via the tree near the pulpit;
  5. Share the idea of this Lenten Covenant with at least one other person during the Lenten period.

-- Mt. Hope Lutheran Church Address unknown

 

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SYMBOLS AT THE FAMILY TABLE ADD MEANING TO HOLY WEEK

Just as the Advent wreath gives children a better understanding of the spiritual meaning of Christmas, setting your table with Easter symbols can illustrate the events of Holy Week. Collect simple household items that depict the events surrounding Christ's death and resurrection. At family worship around the table use Bible passages to further explain what happened during Holy Week.

PALM SUNDAY. Place a palm leaf, fern frond or even a green paper leaf in the center of a table. The table itself, representing the one where Christ served his disciples the Last Supper, can be your dining table or another space reserved for these symbolic objects. Read from John 12:13. "So they took branches of palm trees...."

MONDAY. Add a small bowl of water with a folded napkin or towel. Read John 13:5. "...and Jesus began to wash the disciples' feet and wipe them with the towel." Talk about the humility and service that Jesus showed by these acts.

TUESDAY. Place on the table a picture or molded clay figure of praying hands. Read Luke 22:41. "And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw and knelt down in prayer." Sing "Sweet Hour of Prayer."

WEDNESDAY. Add a picture or ceramic figure of a rooster. Read Luke 23:61. "...Peter, the cock will not crow this day until you three times deny that you know me." Fear of personal reprisal, Peter's reason for denying Christ, is still a reality for Christians. Conclude by praying together or singing a verse from the hymn, "Stand up, Stand up for Jesus."

THURSDAY. Make a crown of thorns by twisting rough twigs, a rose stem or weed stalks together. Take turns feeling the crown before it is placed on the table. Emphasize that this symbol of power and royalty was used to mock Jesus. Read Mark 15:17. "...and plaiting a crown of thorns, they put it on him." Sing or repeat the words to "Oh, Sacred Head, Now Wounded."

FRIDAY. Make a small cross of sticks. Read Luke 23:26-33. "And when they came to the place which is called the Skull, there they crucified him." Explain that Christ chose the way of suffering to show love for us. Sing or repeat together the words to the third stanza of "Oh, Sacred Head, Now Wounded" which begins, "What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest friend...."

SATURDAY. Gather around the table filled with Holy Week symbols. After a period of silent meditation, join hands and sing the spiritual, "Were You There?"

EASTER. Place a lily or other blooming plant in the center of the other symbols. Read John 11:25. "I am the resurrection and the life...." Center discussion around the lily bulb that is buried in dirt but which grows into a beautiful plant in the spring. Compare Christ's burial and resurrection with the lily. Use this time to separate the Christian from secular observance of Easter. Conclude the Holy Week family worship by singing one of the joyful Easter hymns.

 

Joy dawned again on Easter Day, The sun shone out with fair array, When to their longing eyes restored, The Apostles saw their risen Lord.

 

O Jesus, King of gentleness, Do thou thyself our hearts possess That we may give thee all our days The willing tribute of our praise. (5th century Latin carol) -- For Parents, March-April, 1982

 

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EASTER: CELEBRATING THE RESURRECTION

Easter, the most important festival of the Christian Church, celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The Feast of Easter was well established by the second century, but controversy developed between the Eastern and Western Churches over the proper day for its observance. In 325 the Council of Nicaea settled the dispute by deciding that Easter would be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox, making it fall on variable dates each year between March 21 and April 25.

We celebrate Easter on Sunday because it is the day of the week when Jesus rose from the dead. The Council's decision to time the celebration with the vernal equinox, however, suggests that the day replaced one or more pagan rebirth festivals observed at the time of the vernal equinox. (See article on Spring near the end of this chapter.)

The derivation of the word "Easter" is not clear. The Venerable Bede, an early English historian (672-735), connected Easter to Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon spring goddess whose festival was celebrated at the vernal equinox and whose symbols were the hare and the egg. It seems likely that the hare and egg traditions of the goddess Eostre became the Easter bunny and Easter eggs.

Still other pagan practices came to be associated with the feast of Easter. For example, sunrise services, while having some basis in the early dawn visit of the women to Jesus' tomb (Luke 24:1), were also part of traditional vernal equinox rites which welcomed the sun and its power to bring new life.

One wonders if the popular preoccupation with Easter as a time to celebrate hope for life after death also has its roots in ancient rites of spring. The New Testament clearly links hope for a general resurrection to Jesus' resurrection (I Corinthians 15, et al); however, the spring and rebirth symbols often used in churches at Easter may actually distort the meaning of resurrection. These symbols (e.g. butterflies) suggest natural cycles of life, death and rebirth. Resurrection in the New Testament sense is not natural. Rather, it is a radical action contravening nature for God's own purposes.

Although the resurrection theme of life after death is certainly valid, the larger significance of the resurrection is often ignored: that is, God raised Jesus from the dead to validate his ministry on earth - a ministry of healing, teaching, preaching and suffering on behalf of the poor and outcast that did not end on the cross. Through the resurrection that ministry became the universal ministry for those who would follow Jesus. As Jesus said to the fearful unbelieving disciples on that first Easter, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." (John 20:21)

The commercialization of Easter makes it difficult to keep the real purpose of the resurrection celebration in perspective. In addition to the annual Easter clothes, card, flower and candy blitz, attempts by business interests to make Easter a "Second Christmas" have spawned an Easter oriented toy industry and a massive live-animal business selling millions of rabbits, baby chicks and ducks each year.

There is another significant level of concern with our Easter celebrations. Although many attempts have been made to link the Easter bunny and Easter egg traditions to the resurrection, those traditions actually divert attention away from celebrating the resurrection. "What happened on the third day?" asked the church school teacher to a group of preschoolers one Easter morning. "The Easter bunny brought eggs," was the immediate and unequivocal reply. As children grow and learn that the Easter bunny is a myth passed on to them as truth, they have less reason to believe what is taught them as truth about the resurrection.

 

Better Than Chocolate Eggs

Consider placing a book in your child's Easter basket - one that expresses the love and sacrifice represented by the observance of Easter.

 

Signs of Faith

At Easter we help our children understand the significance of the season by adorning our home with signs of faith - a dove sculpture or crucifix hung on our wall only during this season, or a banner with an Easter message hung temporarily on our refrigerator or front door.

Since Easter is our family's most festive occasion, we celebrate with an all-day Open House. Two homemade grapevine baskets (no chocolate Easter eggs, no Easter bunny) are filled with dogwoods, violets, daffodils - whatever is blooming - as a symbol of new life. Gifts for the children specifically celebrate life. Last year they got umbrellas to play in the life-giving spring rains. We end Easter day with the Paschal vespers at dusk. -- Ed, Andrea, Nathanael & Rebekah Wills Memphis, Tennessee

 

Easter in the Philippines

In the fresh air of the Philippine countryside, Index families met in the early morning to read together from the Easter text. After a short period of meditation each family offered symbols of new life - plants, seeds, eggs, handpainted butterflies and a pair of booties! These symbols were put on dry twigs to make an Easter tree. Older children planted quick-sprouting mango seeds in an earthen pot and were told to watch carefully for an amazing demonstration of new life. -- Ana Maria Clamor, Social Development Index, Quezon City, Philippines

 

Easter Seder: We Remember

Easter is the most sacred holy day in the Christian church. It marks an extraordinary event - the resurrection of Christ - and is supposed to remind us of the meaning of that event. Commercial interests, pushing Easter bunnies, new clothes, cards, baskets, candy and toys, sometimes make it hard to stay focused on the real purpose of celebrating Easter. The Easter Seder helps us remember.

The idea for the Easter Seder comes from the Jewish Passover Seder. Jewish people observe the Passover, which commemorates the Israelites' liberation from slavery in Egypt, about the same time of year that Christians celebrate Easter. At the heart of the Jewish festival is the retelling of the story behind the Passover meal which is called the Seder, or "order":

"When your children say to you: 'What do you mean by this service?' Then you shall say..." Exodus 12:26 (KJV).

In response to a set of questions from the children, the different generations at the table recount the story and the meaning of the observance. The rite has proved to be an important way to keep the significance of this celebration before the children and the whole family.

The following questions and answers, using the form of the Jewish Seder, attempt to retell the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus, helping us understand what that event 2000 years ago has to do with the way we live now. The Easter Seder is designed for use by families or other groups on Easter Sunday. If you decide to use the Seder in a worship service or with a group at church, also consider using it at home when you have your traditional Easter meal. This Seder, like the Jewish one, assumes the presence and participation of more than onecgeneration. The younger generations ask the questions and the older generations answer and explain.

Feel free to adapt the following Seder to your liking. Create one that you will use year after year so that the Seder becomes an Easter tradition in your family.

 

The Youngest Child:
Why is this day different from all other days?
An Elder:
On this day, almost 2,000 years ago, God raised up Jesus from the dead. Jesus was crucified. His friends took his body down from the cross and placed it in a tomb. Early in the morning, three days after he was buried, some women went to his tomb. When they got there, they found the stone that sealed the tomb had been removed and the body of Jesus was gone.
A Child:
What happened to his body?
An Elder:
The women thought his body had been stolen. But an angel appeared and told them not to be afraid. The angel brought the good news that Jesus was alive! He had been raised from the dead, just as he had promised, and he would see his followers later. The women ran to tell Jesus' other disciples what they had seen and heard. Some of the men didn't believe the women's story until Jesus actually appeared to them. Then, they knew he was alive.
A Child:
Who killed him?
An Elder:
Roman authorities executed Jesus because of his claim to be King of the Jews. The Romans had occupied Judea for almost a hundred years, but the Jews never stopped trying to regain their freedom. Since Jesus was a very popular figure, the Romans were afraid if he became King he would be successful in driving them out of the country. Some of the religious leaders who had received special favors from the Romans were also afraid of Jesus. Together with the Roman officials, they cooperated in a plan to bring Jesus to trial and have him executed.
A Child:
Why were the religious leaders afraid of Jesus?
An Elder:
For three years, Jesus and his twelve disciples traveled all over Judea, preaching, teaching and healing people. Great crowds followed wherever they went. Jesus taught that God loves all people and that to love God and to love neighbor are the two most important commandments. He enlarged the meaning of neighbor to include the poor, the outcasts and even one's enemies. He spent most of his time with society's rejected, giving them hope.

But religious leaders did not like Jesus' teachings, and he was often in trouble with them. His teachings about accumulating wealth, injustice to the poor and needy and religious hypocrisy were hard words for those who were neither poor nor outcast and had no concern for the destitute. In his manner of living and in his teaching Jesus sided with the poor, exposing the religious leaders in their selfishness and bringing fear that they would lose their privileged positions.

A Child:
Were all of the religious leaders opposed to Jesus?
An Elder
No, not all of them opposed Jesus. Some were amazed at his healing, his teaching, his courage in confronting authorities and believed that he was sent from God. But those religious leaders who feared him conspired with the Roman authorities to put him to death.
A Child:
Did God really raise Jesus from the dead?
An Elder:
The New Testament tells us that the risen Jesus appeared to his followers on the seashore, on the road and in a house where they had gathered to pray. One of the stories tells about a disciple who doubted that Jesus was really alive. But after Jesus appeared to him and invited him to touch his wounds, he believed. These stories also make it dear that the risen Jesus appeared to be different.

Whatever the differences, his followers recognized him when he appeared to them. Their sense of his presence was so real that they began doing the things he had done during his lifetime, although they knew that could mean suffering, persecution and even death.

A Child:
Why do we celebrate Easter?
An Elder:
God's Son, Jesus, was sent into the world to bring God's good news of love and forgiveness for all people, including us. Because Jesus included the poor, the outcasts and even enemies of the people in the circle of God's love, he was persecuted and finally killed.

God raised Jesus from the dead as a sign of approval for the work he had done on earth. His preaching, teaching, healing and his identification with the poor was the work God intended. For two days after the crucifixion, Jesus' followers were desolate. It seemed that all Jesus had done was nothing more than a beautiful, fleeting dream. But that was not the end! God raised up Jesus as if to say, "The words he spoke in my name are true! The deeds he did are my deeds! And they are now the work of all who follow him." When Jesus appeared to his followers after the resurrection he told them, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you."

And so we are called!

Children:
THE LORD IS RISEN!
Elders:
THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED!
All:
Hallelujah! Amen!

 

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PASSOVER: FREEDOM FROM SLAVERY

Passover, or pesach in Hebrew, is the Jewish festival commemorating the Exodus. Passover refers to the night before the Hebrew slaves were to leave Egypt, when an angel of the Lord would kill the first-born of the Egyptians. The Hebrews had been warned that only houses marked with lamb's blood on the doorposts would be spared. These houses the angel would "pass over."

The directive for observing the Passover is in the twelfth chapter of Exodus. An eight-day festival, Passover begins on the eve of the fourteenth day of the lunar month of Nisan - usually between mid-March and mid-April - with a Seder in the home. This ceremony, celebrated with family members around a special Seder meal, is a retelling of the Exodus story and has been done in the same way for hundreds of years. A child asks four questions and the elders answer, recounting why Passover is such a significant occasion. (See Exodus 12:25-27) Although the Seder is the central part of the Passover festival, there are many observances, activities and special foods for the other days.

The Passover has long had significance for Christians. On the night he was arrested, Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples, using that sacred feast to institute the Eucharist - sometimes called the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion (Matthew 26:17-30, et al). Beyond that unique connection to Passover, many Christians observe the Passover Seder as a way of affirming their own Jewish heritage. Given the long and tragic history of Christian persecution of Jews, such affirmation is most appropriate.

 

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RAMADAN: MONTH-LONG FAST FOR MUSLIMS

Ramadan, commemorating the revelation of the Koran to Mohammed, is the most sacred celebration in the Muslim world. The observance begins on the eve of the ninth month of the lunar year. Since the lunar year is eleven or twelve days shorter than the solar year, the incidence of Ramadan moves through all the seasons of the year in cycles of approximately 33 years. In 1987 Ramadan begins on April 29, in 1988 on April 19, in 1989 on April 9, etc.

Celebrated for 30 days, the observance affects a large portion of the Third World. According to Islamic law, fasting from sunup to sundown is required of every able-bodied Muslim. The fasting is meant to 1) help keep the observance in mind, 2) encourage spiritual discipline, 3) create an identification with the poor and 4) remind people of their ultimate dependence on God. Popular celebrations of Ramadan sometimes involve lavish feasts after the sun goes down, but this custom does not represent the holiday's true spirit, to bring about inner strength through austerity.

 

Tabletalk for Ramadan

Islam is a religious tradition little understood by most Westerners, perhaps because of its intense politicization in the East. During one meal identify popular stereotypes of Muslims. Then do some reading. Better still, make the acquaintance of some Muslims in your community. Then, at another meal, try to go beyond the stereotypes to real people.

 

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

International Women's Day, a day to honor working women, is widely celebrated throughout the world - especially in socialist countries. Set on March 8, the day commemorates a march of women garment and textile workers in New York City in 1857. Little known or observed in the United States, International Women's Day is a national holiday in the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, where women workers are given special recognition.

"I know that it feels a kind o' hissin' and ticklin' like to see a colored woman get up and tell you about things, and Woman's Rights. We have all been thrown down so low that nobody thought we'd ever get up again; but see if we don't; we'll have our rights; and you can't stop us from them; see if you can. You may hiss as much as you like, but it is comin'.... I am sittin' among you to watch; and every once and awhile I will come out and tell you what time of night it is...."

Sojourner Truth at the Fourth National Woman's Rights Convention in New York, 1853

 

Tabletalk for International Women's Day

Throughout history women have made wonderful contributions for the betterment of humankind. Study the lives of women who have made an impact in various fields: i.e., Mother Teresa, Golda Meir, Beverly Sills, Susan B. Anthony. Talk about why women work. Discuss their dual responsibilities of home and job. Discover ways women are discriminated against in the job market and on their jobs.

 

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ST. PATRICK'S DAY: WEARING THE GREEN

St. Patrick's Day is an Irish religious holiday. Celebrated on March 17, this holy day commemorates the contributions of that country's fifth century patron saint. Like many other Irish religious figures, St. Patrick was believed to have a special rapport with nature which helped him to convince the pagan Irish that he was in touch with God. Forsaking the religious significance of this day, commercial interests in the United States trade more and more on the ethnic stereotype of the "hard drinking" Irish to make St. Patrick's Day an occasion for reveling. Irish societies in the United States are working to counteract this stereotype by conducting alternative St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

In addition to "wearing the green" and cooking special Irish recipes, this is a good day to overcome stereotypes by recalling the contributions that Irish Americans have made to this country. It is also a day to mourn the civil strife that plagues Northern Ireland and the divisive role that religion has played there.

 

Tabletalk on St. Patrick's Day

Around the dinner table, talk about a "Who's Who Among Irish Americans," beginning with Patrick Henry and remembering John F. Kennedy.

 

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SPRING: LIFE AFTER WINTER

In different parts of the world the signs of spring differ dramatically, but astronomers can tell exactly from the earth's motion around the sun when one season ends and the next one begins. The vernal equinox marks the beginning of spring, in the Northern Hemisphere coming between March 20 and 21. On this day, the center of the sun appears directly above the equator, so that along the equator there are 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

Ancient people knew that at the vernal equinox winter was giving way to spring. Many rites of fertility and rebirth were observed at the time of the vernal equinox, as in the festival of Eostre in Britain (See Easter above). Even though the manifestations of spring are different in different places, the first day of spring is a good time to celebrate the ending of winter and the renewal of life in nature. It is much better than mixing the coming of spring with the celebration of the resurrection.

In 1979 another important dimension to the celebration of spring was added when children rang bells at the United Nations at the exact hour of the vernal equinox, inaugurating Earth Day. It is a day for celebrating nature and learning about the interdependence of all life. Implicit in that celebrating and learning is the recognition of the threat waste and pollution pose for the fragile ecological balance which makes life possible on the planet.

 

"The least movement affects all nature; the entire sea changes because of a rock." Pascal

 

Tabletalk for the First Day of Spring

Read, and then discuss, the following words of Wendell Berry his book, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture:

...The earth is what we all have in common, it is what we are made of and what we live from, and we cannot damage it without damaging those with whom we share it. There is an uncanny resemblance between our behavior toward each other and our behavior toward the earth. By some connection we do not recognize, the willingness to exploit one becomes the willingness to exploit the other.... It is impossible to care for each other more or differently than we care for the earth.

 

Celebrate Spring by Celebrating Life

This is the water, celebrate the water
May you always drink your fill.
We can save the treasure
if we stand together
and celebrate the water.
Don't think we don't need you; we need you.
Don't think we don't hear you; we hear you.
Those who care just lift your voices
and join us as we sing.
Save our planet, keep our planet green
This is the air, celebrate the air,
May you always breathe your fill.
This is the music, celebrate the music
May you always sing your fill.
These are the people, celebrate the people
May you always love your fill.
This is your life, celebrate your life
May you always live your fill.
We can save the treasure
if we live together
and celebrate life.

--Neal Gladstone Corvallis, Oregon

 

A Rite for Spring: Begin to Recycle

Anyone can - and should - participate in recycling. Practically every community has an organization that accepts recyclable material: a junk dealer, a municipal or private drop-off center, a charitable organization that operates a paper drive. Find out what materials can be easily recycled in your area. Then keep those materials separated from your trash and recycle them as they accumulate.

To make a serious impact on our country's solid waste problem, we need community-wide recycling programs. Private citizens can play key roles in initiating and supporting recycling programs; without them, solid waste professionals typically underestimate the potential of citizen participation and lean toward high-technology options for dealing with the problem. So investigate what is happening in your own community. If there is a recycling program, support it by participating in its efforts, by promoting it to friends and neighbors and by supporting it at the governmental level. If no recycling program is planned or in operation, take the initiative by writing to the newspaper, talking with public officials or even forming a citizens' group to press for recycling.

Community recycling programs not only reduce the trash disposal volume to more manageable levels but also contribute to more effective use of scarce resources on our Spaceship Earth. -- Earl Arnold, Eco-Justice Task Force, Ithaca, New York

 

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CENTRAL AMERICA WEEK THE SPIRIT OF ARCHBISHOP ROMERO

Commemorating the life and witness of El Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, Central America Week is observed in the week around the anniversary of his assassination. While saying mass on March 24, 1980, the Archbishop was shot and killed. In his final homily that day, he said,

"I implore you, beloved brothers and sisters, to seek a better world from an historical vantage point, to have hope, joined with a spirit of surrender and sacrifice. We must do what we can. All of us can do something..."

Sponsored by many Catholic, Jewish, Protestant and secular agencies, Central America Week has become a time to mobilize concern about Central America. Religious communities are urged to set aside the first Sabbath and Sunday services of the week to lift in prayer and to celebrate the sufferings and joys common to North and Central Americans of faith. They are further encouraged to plan special events through the week to focus attention on that region's struggles.

For scheduled events and resources visit Inter-American Task Force on Central America, Cleveland, OH, at http://www.irtfcleveland.org/

(Inter-American Task Force on Central America, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 563, New York NY 10115. Tel. 212-870-3383.)

 

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NATIONAL FARM WORKER WEEK

National Farm Worker Week, observed each year during the second week before Mother's Day, is a celebration of the achievements of the United Farm Workers (UPW). The United Farm Workers, organized in 1962 by Caesar Chavez, has given farm workers hope. Victories for them have not come easily, but they now have some important ones. Chavez' strict adherence to the principles of nonviolence, even in the most violent situations, has won respect and admiration from people around the world. Numbering more than a million, farm workers are on one of the lowest rungs of the economic ladder in the United States. There is still much to be done in this area. National Farm Workers Week is an appropriate time to remember farm workers all over the world - how they contribute to this economy and at what price.

For more information, contact the National Farm Worker Ministry, 111-A Fairmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611; and Agricultural Missions, 475 Riverside Drive, 6th floor, New York, NY 10115.

 

Tabletalk for Farm Worker Week

Few fruits and vegetables arrive on our dinner tables without the labor of farm workers. This week, see if you can find out where the fruits and vegetables on your table come from, and how they got there. Consider making a contribution to one of the agencies working with farm workers in an amount equal to the cost of the fruits and vegetables you and your family eat this week.

 

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