Quotable

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones
-Albert Einstein (contemplating nuclear devastation)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July Ground Zero Newsletter just released!

Hello again from Ground Zero Center,
 
The Fireworks are over, and now it's time to declare our independence from (and speak out against) every injustice, including war and nuclear weapons!
 
Besides a couple of items I forgot in the last email newsletter, our Editor in Chief, Alice Zillah, just released the mid-Summer issue of the Ground Zero Newsletter. Don't miss it - a great way to stay connected with our work. Click here to read the July 2015 issue!
 
Ground Zero resister Brenda McMillan is scheduled to appear in Kitsap County District Court on Wednesday, July 22nd for a mitigation hearing resulting from her blocking the entrance road to the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base during Ground Zero Center's Mothers Day weekend nonviolent direct action. Brenda is scheduled to appear on Wednesday, July 22nd at 1:15 PM. If you are in the area, please help us pack the courtroom to witness Brenda telling the Judge her reasons for her action. The courthouse is located at 614 Division Street in Port Orchard. Click here for a campus map with parking information. The courthouse is also served by public transportation.
 
We have a poster for the upcoming August weekend Hiroshima/Nagasaki weekend of remembrance (and action). Thanks to Ed Digilio for creating this year's poster. Click here to view or download the PDF version of the poster. Please print and post them wherever you think they will generate interest (AND participation) in the event.
 

If you've finished reading all the articles I referenced in my last email, I have some hot new ones for you. Street Spirit is a publication of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) San Francisco that reports extensively on a wide variety of important issues. The June 8th issue contains three extensive historical articles on Ground Zero, including an interview with Jim Douglass. Click here to read Life at Ground Zero of the Nuclear Arms Race. There are links for the other two articles at the end.
 
And don't forget to join one of the upcoming events on this the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Besides the events around Puget Sound, there will be many other events around the nation and around the world. Physicians for Social Responsibility has a listing of events in many cities around the country. Click here to find one near you.
 
The Tacoma Catholic Worker's "Retirement Party for Nuclear Weapons" got it right! It is high time to retire nuclear weapons after 70 years. Based on the U.S. government's current modernization efforts, it's not looking like the President, Pentagon or Congress got the news. Of course, recent headlines don't help - "New Pacific Russian Nuclear Missile Submarine Facility Could Open by October" was the recent headline in the US Naval Institute News. As I said when I posted it to the NO To NEW TRIDENT Facebook page, that headline likely has the Pentagon and Congress screaming "The Russians Are Coming!" But let's not lose perspective. One paragraph in this article reminds us of the real reason behind the Russian ballistic missile submarine resurgence:

"At the height of the Cold War, the Russian Navy based more than a dozen SSBNs at the Kamchatka Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base but that number dwindled following the collapse of the Soviet Union." Of course, the U.S. nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet never "dwindled" after the Berlin Wall fell. In fact, Trident patrols continued at near Cold War levels and still do. Is it really such a mystery why the Soviets are rebuilding their fleet?

We certainly don't need another "foolish and wasteful arms race that dominated the Cold War period," to quote Walter Pincus in a recent Washington Post article. And Trident (particularly New Trident) is front and center in this new and rapidly developing arms race. We must keep Trident, and particularly New Trident, front and center in the debate about nuclear weapons.

I've never been a fan of forced retirement, although in the case of Trident and all nuclear weapons I will make an exception. Scrap Trident for humanity's sake!
 
Peace,
 
Leonard
 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mid-Summer Online Newsletter from Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

Warm Summer Greetings from Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action,
 
The days are long and bright this time of year... and yet, we live in dark times. The madness of fear, hatred, bigotry, militarism (and more) fuel a maelstrom that - thanks to what Fr. Richard McSorley once called the "taproot of violence" (nuclear weapons) - threatens to suck humanity into its deadly vortex. I am therefore so thankful for the light of nonviolence that burns brightly for all (who have open hearts) to see. And yet, that beautiful and powerful light does not burn by itself; it is NOT self-sustaining. It requires a sustained and faithful effort on all our parts to reach out to the world with love, strength and persistence in what Walter Wink referred to as Jesus' Third Way. And so we continue the work of active nonviolence...
 
Members of Ground Zero Center have been active this Summer on many fronts. You can watch Mary Hanson and Bernie Meyer discuss the posturing of nuclear war with Russia over the Ukraine on Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation Television. Click here to read a thorough program description by Glen Anderson, producer and host of this TV series.
 
Glen Milner wrote an OP-ED: The Real Problem with Defense Spending, and David Hall wrote A Brief Case for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons. Click here to read both these compelling pieces.
 
Over this past week we have seen two extensive newspaper articles on the military's reach/footprint here in the Pacific Northwest, much of it related to the Navy AND the nuclear ballistic missile submarine force based here. These are really eye openers and the kind of investigative reporting we need to see more of in the corporate press. Read Navy enjoys Northwest building spree but faces lawsuits and other challenges in the Tacoma News Tribune. Navy stealthily targets Hood Canal development is from last Sunday's Seattle Times. Perhaps it will move you to write a letter to the editor on the subject.
 
Of course, Summer isn't just a time to sit in the shade reading and watching documentaries (although we can learn much from them). There is also much to do, and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Here's what we have in store for you:
2015 Pacific Northwest Interfaith Peace Walk

 
Join the 2015 Pacific Northwest Interfaith Peace Walk July 26 to August 10 as it travels from Salem, Oregon to Portland, Hanford, Olympia, Seattle, Ground Zero Center, and many other cities. The walk will finish at Ground Zero Center in time for the weekend event ther. You are welcome to join any portion (or all) of the walk. Click here for the schedule and everything you need to know, including contacts.
 
14th Annual PEACE FLEET

 
 Join the Peace Fleet on Wednesday, July 29, as it sails into Seattle's Elliott Bay confronting the the US Navy and saying No to Militarism!  For the fourteenth year, peace activists will address the public display of warships and warplanes in our community. Click here for more information, including a Fact Sheet.

What: Peace activists at Seafair. This is the fourteenth year for this demonstration.
When: Wednesday, July 29, noon, Peace Fleet in Elliott Bay. Demonstration on land at Piers 62/63 at 1 PM.
Where: Elliott Bay, near Pier 66. Demonstration on land at Piers 62/63.
Contacts: Glen Milner (206) 365-7865, Mary Gleysteen (360) 265-1589, or on the day of the event (206) 979-8319. You can also email questions to info@gzcenter.org.

Affirm Life/Abolish Nukes! A weekend commemorating the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki: Never Again!

 
Join us for our weekend of events commemorating the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from Friday through Monday, August 7-10.  It will be a full weekend of fellowship, fun and creative, active nonviolence. You are welcome to join us for any or all of the weekend. There are great camping spots around the beautiful GZ Center grounds. Put together a carpool and help pack the house. Click here to view the entire weekend schedule.
 
But wait; that's not all. There is even more going on around Puget Sound this Summer.
 
Fellowship Of Reconciliation's 57th Annual Northwest Regional Conference is coming to Seabeck, Washington July 2-5. This year's theme is “Peace, Justice and Sustainability: Strengthening the Links.” Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, and Rev. Osagyefo Sekou who has been working on the ground in St Louis since mid August on behalf of the Fellowship of Reconciliation will be the keynote speakers. I recently heard Rev. Sekou speak in New York at the Peace and Planet Conference; he is an extraordinarily powerful speaker! Click here for all the details.
 
The folks at the Tacoma Catholic Worker are throwing a Retirement Party for Nuclear Weapons on July 18th from 4 - 9 PM "to really celebrate the 'work' that nuclear weapons has done." It will be full of satire, celebration, art and music. This is a retirement party you don't want to miss. Click here for more details and to download the event flier.
 
The annual Hiroshima to Hope Lantern Ceremony is happening at Seattle's Green Lake on Thursday, August 6th beginning at 6:00PM. Click here for the event website. They also have a Facebook page.
 
What's New with NO To NEW TRIDENT
 
And now, on to what's new with Trident. Everyone knows (or should by now) that the Navy is moving ahead with plans to build a new generation of ballistic missile submarines to replace the aging Trident fleet (why not just go for mandatory retirement?). At an estimated construction cost of $100 billion, it's caused some concern around the Pentagon about just how the Navy will be able to afford to build any other ships (you know, the one's it really needs). Well, have no fear; leading the funding charge are Rep. Joe Courtney (D-General Dynamics Electric Boat) and Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Newport News Shipyards)*, who introduced the novel idea of creating a slush fund to keep New Trident funding out of harm's way (or at least traditional budgetary funding methods). Who says bipartisanship is dead. The National Sea Based Deterence Fund is just that; an end run around the accepted Congressional budget process. Talk about fiscal irresponsibility!
 
Some in Congress tried to get rid of the fund, but weren't able to get enough votes. Yet for all the talk in Congress about how to fund New Trident, there has been no debate about why Congress should fund this archaic, Cold War nuclear weapons system at all. It is simply being pushed forward because of those other pesky nuclear weapons nations that are "modernizing" their arsenals and, of course, building ballistic missile submarines. Well, what should we expect when we have deployed Trident at near Cold War levels since the fall of the Berlin Wall and have upgraded the W76 warhead that is deployed on the Trident II D-5 missiles (in addition to all the other modernization of our nation's nuclear weapons infrastructure). That, in combination with our pressure on Russia (via NATO and more), has pushed Russian Bear up against the wall (not a wise move).
Unless the US and Russia come together in serious good faith negotiations to get the disarmament ball rolling, global nuclear weapons proliferation will be all but guaranteed to go through the roof! And then the US nuclear modernization merry-go-round will become a perpetual motion machine that will be virtually unstoppable. We must prevail!
Back to the subject of letters to the editor - these letters have an impact. Even though newspapers publish only a fraction of our letters (and they do occasionally publish them), they have multiple impacts. When published, they reach the intended audience. When newspapers receive enough letters on a particular subject - New Trident for instance - they are more likely to pay attention to the topic and be prodded into publishing one or more articles (or even op-eds). If you like to write, send in your letters and send us a copy so we know what people are writing about.
 
Keep up with the continuing New Trident saga and stay involved in our efforts to stop it at our NO To NEW TRIDENT campaign website - NOTNT.ORG! NO To NEW TRIDENT is also on Facebook, as is Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action
 
Please note (and our sincere apologies for this) that the Ground Zero website is still just a shell of its former self (after the unfortunate hack job). Again, we're a bunch of volunteers; please bear with us while we try to get it back up and running full speed. For now I am maintaining the full GZ events calendar at psnukefree.org. Just click on the "Local Events Calendar."
 
Questions? Email us at info@gzcenter.org or gznonviolencenews@gmail.com. You can also email me directly at subversivepeacemaking@gmail.com with questions, concerns and suggestions (or to update your email or unsubscribe to these pesky newsletters).
 
Thanks to all who support our work. This is truly a labor of love, and it's NOT our day job. I am honored to work with such a dedicated bunch of abolitionists. Keep spreading the word and invite new people to check out our work. Share and "Like" us on Facebook; DON'T underestimate the power of social media!
 
From all of us at Ground Zero Center - Keep that light burning.
 
In Peace, 
 
Leonard
 
* Note: In the original email message I incorrectly referred to Rep. Randy Forbes as representing Electric Boat, which is in Connecticut. Forbes is from Virginia.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Remembering William "Bix" Bichsel



The celebrations are over, and we continue to process through the loss of our dear friend William "Bix" Bichsel, SJ. I've put together the following references for those who haven't seen Bix's obituary or many of the other relevant documents.

On a side note, Bix and Tom Shea were my co-conspirators in creating the Puget Sound Nuclear Weapon Free Zone. The photo at the top of this blog is of the sign outside Jean's House of Prayer in Tacoma where Bix conducted peace operations.

Please note that there is a "Memories of Bix" Facebook page, where we can share stories and post pictures -- remembering and celebrating the life and love of our dear Bix.

References and More (in random order):
 
Dancing with Dorothy Day A music video made a week before Bix died - Bix is part of this dance!!!
 
Music for Bix - a video taken the night Bix came home to Jean's House to begin hospice care, surrounded by his loving community and music.
 
Lethal Force, and the Road to Conversion - on the Eucharist at Bangor honoring Bix, featuring his essay "Lethal Force."
 
 
Remembering Father Bix, son of Tacoma - a reflection on Bix by UW Tacoma professor Michael Honey

Love is the Most Powerful Force in the World: Remembering Fr. Bix - another reflection from Peter Gallagher, Seattle Catholic Worker

Old vs. Navy - A satirical video on the Disarm Now Plowshares action of November 2009, by Mark Rahner of the Seattle Times. Bix is interviewed throughout the video. It's great stuff!!!

Break-In at Y-12 - Eric Schlosser writes about Dorothy Day, Catholic Worker, Plowshares (with a focus on the Transform Now Plowshares), and of course Bix and Disarm Now Plowshares.

Bix and others travelled to Jeju Island in the Fall of 2014. Jeju and the struggle of its people was very near to Bix's heart. You can read a number of posts and see video from various members of the Pacific Northwest Peace Delegation at the Puget Sound Nuclear Weapon Free Zone blog at psnukefree.org.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Sixth circuit orders immediate release of Transform Now Plowshares

In an amazing turn of events, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals this evening ordered the immediate release of Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, the Transform Now Plowshares activists who were serving time in federal prison for their action at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, TN to protest plans for a new multibillion dollar nuclear bomb plant there.

Things unfolded rapidly this afternoon.

At 4:00pm word came from Bill Quigley, attorney for MGM, that the government had filed a notice that it would not oppose the release of Greg, Michael and Megan pending resentencing. The government’s notice was interesting—it included notice to the court that, when resentencing did happen, the government would not be seeking terms of imprisonment greater than the time already served. But, the prosecutor said, the court could not release the defendants unless it determined their were “extraordinary circumstances.” The government’s brief went on to note the issues cited by the defendants did not constitute ordinary circumstances. There was a way, though, the government pointed out, under a different statute, and then noted that another court had ruled keeping a defendant unjustly incarcerated beyond the time they would be expected to serve would be an extraordinary circumstance. “We defer to the Sixth Circuit” said the government.

Then, just after 7:00pm this evening, the Sixth Circuit ordered the immediate release of Megan, Greg and Michael on their own recognizance. The order is not available at this time, but the word from Quigley is reliable. In a delightful serendipity, Monday is Greg Boertje-Obed’s birthday—with any luck, he will be home to celebrate it with his family!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Eulogy For Fr. William Jerome "Bix" Bichsel S.J. (by Dotti Krist-Sterbick)

Editor's Introduction: Those who attended the funeral Mass for Bill "Bix" Bichsel on Saturday, March 14, 2015 experienced one of the most extraordinary and uplifting eulogies that I can remember. Dotti Krist-Sturbick, friend of Bix's and member of the St. Leo's and Tacoma Catholic Worker communities, wrote and presented the eulogy. Afterwards, my wife said that it [the eulogy] needed to be shared widely, as it represents a guide of sorts for us - to help us be in the world in some small way as Bix lived. May you find something here for the journey. In Peace, Leonard 

****************

For Fr. William Jerome "Bix" Bichsel S.J.
with Love for his Beloved Family and Community:

A Eulogy by Dotti Krist-Sterbick

I would like to invite you to say Presente after I name a person or a group of people who were among the many who were a part of his life and work. He would never tell stories without mentioning people who had been significant to him.

Let's practice…
For those who wish fullness of life for everyone…Presente
For those who long for peace…Presente

Before his death, Bix said he wasn’t sure what would happen afterwards but that he hoped he would join a Cloud of Witnesses. Perhaps we refer to this reality as Our Ancestors or the Communion of Saints.

Cloud of Witnesses….Presente

We are one community today of people from various religions, non-religions and history, some of us have known Bix all our lives,  call him uncle, great uncle, brother, Godfather and friend the who was always there for us, but a little late. And some of us went to school with him, watched the strapping young man play football, called him Fr. "what a waste" when he entered the Jesuits right after high school; some of us are Jesuits who have shared with him the life of the Society of Jesus, brotherhood, priesthood,  its particular vows, challenges, sorrows and graces. Some of us have gone to prison with him, engaged in Buddhist drumming while praying people over the line, shared ancestral prayers and smudging with him. Some of us have studied theology and German with him, washed dishes, argued, cussed, drank, got sober, laughed, and sung with him. And we heard last night, some have planted trees with him, and some(actually perhaps one) have wrestled with him over the tree several times, thereby killing the tree planted in honor of his Godson. Some have lived in the same G street community and Catholic Worker House with him. Many here have been baptized by Bix or celebrated their marriage with him. With some he has journeyed during a loved one's death and funeral. Outcast by society because of ability, ethnicity, addiction, mental health or orientation, some of us found an ally who, on our behalf, would not back down. Some of us built houses, programs and community with him. Some of us have had our lives radically changed through Bix's help or just by his simple presence. Some of us have never met him, but he has somehow touched or intrigued us, inspired our imagination. We are here because Bix’s heart was full of love and yeses. He lived a fullness of life that included all of us.

We can look to his mother and father and see the rich soil in which they gave him to grow. His father was a a union organizer. His mother would feed working poor  during the depression.. A strong Catholic family, the Bichsels followed the precepts at that time which included abstaining from meat on Fridays. Men would come up from the train tracks and have breakfast on the porch of the Bichsel home. His mother would always fix the same meal everyday--fried potatoes, bacon, and eggs, homemade bread. Even on Fridays. And young Bill would tell his mother not to feed them meat on Fridays because it was a sin. And young Bill would try to convince her that she was wrong. She assured him that this was OK with God and they didn’t have to worry about, quote, “that kind of a thing”. He also would tell you of stories of rock throwing wars in the neighborhood, boys forming gangs, anger and revenge. I think Bix wanted to be sure no one mistook him for a saint. He also loved his family very much.

Let us recognize some of his family from the Cloud of Witnesses.
 Sarah “Sadie” Bichsel…presente
George Bichsel…presente

Siblings
Mary Theresa Twohy…presente
Dick Bichsel…presente
Bob Bichsel…presente
Jim Bichsel…presente
Tom Bichsel…presente

We can look to his life in the Society of Jesus to see bits of the Bix we know today. As Bix moved into adulthood, into his priesthood, his discipleship, he began reflecting on fullness of life. What is fullness of life? In his Gospel studies he encountered Jesus who promises the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom we can encounter now. Bix often referred to this as the Kingdom of Peace. But how to attain it? Jesus seems to be clearer on how not to attain it--do not seek power/control, wealth/possession, esteem by your peers. One needs to be free to love, free of attachments—free to receive the unconditional love of God. Free to love one another as God loves us—to love our neighbor as ourselves. Bix studied that we must will the one thing We must attach ourselves to the one desire--to love as God loves us. Any other attachments make the task much more difficult and ultimately unsuccessful.

This is a difficult task, to embrace this unconditional love. Regardless of our spiritual beliefs and to search for this kind of love takes practice. Takes lots of practice that one takes up every day. And one soon discovers that it takes a letting go of one's very self. (Grain of wheat.) Bix seemed to think this was a very important part of his own discipleship, priesthood.

 In 1988 Bix wrote a poem honoring a friend, a Jesuit priest working in Alaska, Bob Corrigal SJ who died young. He is saying in it basically, may I be a priest like you. And eerily we can notice that Bix actually is describing himself.

"Your spirit call
led you to those
who were broken,
rejected, and without hope
or future.
In obedience to your call
you were fashioned into a Servant and let fall away
any clerical structure
or stricture
that gave you
rank and privilege
and divided you
from your people."

Let us recognize some of the priests Bix loved who went before him.

Fr. Bob Corrigal … Presente
Fr. Robert “Rock Reckofki… Presente
Fr. Jimmy Boyle… Presente
Fr. Bill Houseman… Presente
Fr. Dick Mercy… Presente
Fr. Gerry Morin… Presente
Fr. Jack Morris… Presente
Fr. Pat Hurley… Presente
Archbishop Oscar Romero… Presente

During the turbulence of the 60's and 70's Bix becomes especially present to those who are being denied fullness of life. He marches for Civil Rights in the south and works here for African Americans; he works against the Vietnam war which is wiping out people and the land, he experiences his first arrest of 46; he reaches out to the mentally ill, with others he builds The G Street Community, the Martin Luther King Center, the Hospitality Kitchen, the Neighborhood Clinic. He is willful and tireless. By the late 80’s he cofounds the Tacoma Catholic Worker and has his first heart surgery…and throughout he has been struggling with his own demons.

Let us recognize some of those from during those times who are now a part of the cloud of witnesses.

Sr. Anne Flagge… Presente
Alberta Canada…Presente
Jean Sheoshimee Mura… Presente
Mary Jo Blenkush… Presente
Fina Chouinard… Presente
Mary Russo… Presente
Lewis Jones… Presente
Eva Hill… Presente
Irma Gary…Presente
Bob Galluci…Presente
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. … Presente
Dorothy Day…Presente

We know what it is like to struggle with our own demons. What human doesn’t? WE know too well our anger, fear, resentments, greed, competition, our desire for security, our apathy. These create an unhappiness in us that can fill us, spilling out to those around us. We no longer experience fullness of life, nor do those around us. Through the years, Bix became ever more honest with himself; he knew this was important to cultivating peace within himself and around him.

A well-educated Jesuit and an observer of society, Bix also noticed that when these human desires and unhappiness become part of our institutions, it is the vulnerable who pay the price.  Someone without power becomes the victim or is to blame. Systems are created that exclude, judge and separate people. As a culture we do not allow fullness of life for everybody. Bix would underscore all the time the need to work for justice so that all would have fullness of life which includes health care, education, employment, housing and a place in community.
Bix would word it this way in a reflection for the St. Leo bulletin:

"Well, on this September day I said goodbye to Paper Man, Red and George and headed down the sidewalk. What will become of them? In the ordinary course of life in our cities and towns I know they will never receive the resources needed for a full human life. They will not be recipients of health care, education, employment, or housing. Nor will they become respected members of an established community. They will drift and die--unknown and unhonored."

For Bix, the ultimate symbol of institutional injustice, of humans creating a system that works against fullness of life is the Atomic Bomb. The Atomic Bomb represents our country’s whole military industrial complex and its ultimate priority.

He came to know the government’s military priority as he watched officials train foreign governments to kill their own people. He saw the resources that go to our military spending that could go to who he called "the vulnerable ones." He saw the horror of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, how ultimate and final these bombs were in robbing people, animals, plants, trees, all of creation of fullness of life, let alone life itself. And yet, we say these bombs make us more secure. We barter away our own fullness of life in the name of security, in the name of preserving "our way of life."

Bix wrote: "These thoughts led me to an inner feeling of futility; thoughts of how deeply embedded American people are in this culture of death when we allow our vulnerable to disappear and consent to the use of nuclear weapons which will bring global death to millions."

The feeling of futility would come and go for Bix. Many of you here who have faced prison, or dedicated your life to justice and helping the vulnerable ones probably know this feeling intimately. The question haunts, what can one person do in the face of such principalities and powers?

During a particularly difficult time Bix was also not getting good news about his health. His heart was not predicted to last very long, he was going to die.

How did he not give up?

Bix ultimately received consolation at the gravesite of Chief Joseph in Nespelem, Washington. He encountered a feeling he called "Resurrection". He felt the earth beat in concert with his own heart beat; he felt tremendous peace.

Speaking of this experience and of Chief Joseph he wrote: "His spirit speaks quietly and strongly to my soul. I wanted to spend some days there on retreat living in the Jesuit parish church next to the graveyard. Much of my time was spent being quiet next to his grave. The spirit of the chief who quit his heroic struggle with the US cavalry in order to save his people rises out of the earth. With his words, "From where the sun now sets, I will fight no more forever." He stopped the violence of the US cavalry and the violence that comes out of battle. His compassion, humility, and strength lighted his path of nonviolence."

From the cloud of witnesses:

Chief Joseph…Presente

Later, during his Plowshare action when he and four others cut through a fence at Bangor, sprinkled sunflower seeds and got incredibly close to the nuclear weapons, he wrote "We all experienced a great joy after being arrested, cuffed, hooded, and forced flat onto the cold earth. It came to me that beyond my furthest hopes, we were witnessing to the power of the Resurrection. Even in this place of fear, death, and hopelessness, the power of life, hope and love can rise."

Let also recognize the Plowshare and other peace activists who have recently gone before him:
Sr. Jackie Hudson…Presente
Sr. Anne Montgomery…Presente
Lynne Greenwald…Presente
Philip Berrigan…Presente

Bix believed strongly that love is stronger than hatred. Love is always looking to infuse new life even in our darkest hours. He told the National Catholic Reporter:  "I know it sounds idealistic, but I do feel very strongly in the Resurrection and how we can act together…I believe strongly in my heart in the power of God and the power of creation and the Resurrection. They are much stronger than the powers of death,"

As Bix entered his last week of life it was no less full of this powerful love. Community like today, gathered around his bed at Jean's House, told jokes, stories, sang songs, held silence, held the love for Bix that he had so freely given. All of you who couldn't be there were there in spirit. And the cloud of witnesses was also there. The community found it hard to let go of him, so the vigil continued as he fell more deeply into a coma. But, ultimately the community had to let go of the physical Bix, so Bix could do his own letting go. He did not want to leave his community. He did not want to leave his family. But ultimately he let go with great peace.

And so here we are, together again, the beloved community joined with the Cloud of Witnesses. And Bix is alive in our hearts. And we get to sing love songs to him. We get to claim for him the words and poems he meant for another.

"In a world cold and frozen
you hugged warmth
into our brittle bodies
until suppleness returned,
you breathed hope
into our sagging
and desperate spirits, and
you reflected our worth
in your moon-lit face.
You bid us to sell
the pearl of great price
to use so that
no one stand in need.
You taught us
not to hinder
the work of the spirit
in any life, and
that we can learn
to take wing
and soar together."

In the Cloud of Witnesses:

Fr. William Jerome ”Bix” Bichsel…Presente.