Peace Out: Week Two

Week Two Update from Melanie
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Peace Out: Week Two
Simone Monique Barnes of St. James-Austin,Texas,
sang and preached a beautiful homily,
"Hush. Hush. Somebody's Calling My Name"
on Sunday, January 20, 2019
in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

This week, I had some great activity with both of our peace-making organizations — Global Collaborative Law Council ( and Episcopal Peace Fellowship ( The Dallas Bar Association included me in their Collaborative Law Section kick-off party. It was good to see many civil collaborative friends there. We may have secured an opportunity to provide a civil collaborative law training in Dallas in May of this year.

On the EPF schedule, I had great phone calls with former NEC members Linda Gaither and Gary Commins, separately, to learn about their hopes and dreams for EPF. I spent a half day with Rev. Allison Sandlin Liles, my predecessor, getting more orientation for my work for EPF, eating tacos (yum) and reconnecting. She and I share an enneagram ego type number, Birmigham-Southern College as an alma mater, and a love for Alabama football and Walter Wink, not necessarily in that order. I had my first NEC executive committee call, and we started plotting in earnest other details for our Year of Action. I returned to Church of the Transfiguration - Dallas for a ladies’ book club event with my hostess, Sherrie Abney (GCLC founder and fellow peace-making Episcopalian) where I was introduced to Bp. Andrew Doyle’s book, “The Jesus Heist”. On Thursday, I continued getting my training as new ED for GCLC and presided over my last GCLC Board meeting before passing the presidency to John Sarratt of Raleigh, North Carolina (also a fellow peace-making Episcopalian). My professional missions are intimately connected, it seems, as in a perfect world, they should be. Texas is a treasure trove of activity for both.

I'll remind you here that our first Year of Action event for 2019 is our Columbine Pilgrimage, set April 26-28 in Colorado. Can you believe that it has been 20 years since that horror occurred? I hope all who are reading this and who are concerned about gun violence in our culture will try to attend. Details and registration at Check your email for an invitation from Bob Lotz and our GVP Action Group soon.

The drive to Austin from Dallas on Saturday was made lively by 45 mile an hour wind gusts, one of which popped Miranda’s door off its hinge and shattered her glass. Our friends at Leisure Travel Vans of Canada are sending a replacement window to meet us in San Antonio. Home ownership is home ownership -- even when you live in a van -- complete with the bothersome inconveniences. So grateful for good support from Dan’s Van City in St. Louis.

In Austin, we settled into our RV Park and Tiny House kingdom (so wonderful!). Sunday brought two transformative worship experiences celebrating the life and ministry of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. First, I had been directed to St. James-Austin, an inclusive, love-filled, multicultural parish, by Allison Liles. One of the readings was from Dr. King’s Eulogy for Martyred Children, preached September 18, 1963 in Birmingham following the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. As a child of Birmingham, I have never felt so far from home, and yet so at home, in one moment in my life. St. James’ own Simone Monique Barnes sang/preached the homily, “Hush, Hush, Somebody’s Calling my Name”. (You can read Simone's sermon at After the services, Peace through P.I.E. in honor of Dr. King was held (inspired by With roots connected to historically black college Huston-Tillotson University, St. James was a perfect spot for an MLK commemoration service. I left profoundly reminded of my call as a beloved peace-maker.

Sunday afternoon, I worshiped with EPF’s long time peace partner, St. Hildegard’s interfaith community ( in their lovely, intimate space at Trinity Methodist Church in Austin. Led by Rev. Judith Liro (another whose life has been transformed by Walter Wink), St. Hildegard’s is what church should be. Their commitment to non-violence is bedrock to their community. They have compiled a set of lovely sung liturgies which are about to be published, and they have promised to let me know when that happens so I can share it with you. Their “Rule of Life” was published in 2017, and I commend it to you. (It can be purchased on, or better yet, reach out to them directly.) The entire community laid hands on me and blessed me and all of EPF before I left them, and I still feel empowered and renewed to pursue this new call by their gracious love for me. If you visit, even once, you will not want to leave — but pilgrimage beckons.

Yesterday, Steven and I were recorded for several hours on a podcast produced by collaborative lawyer and peacemaker Shiloh Coleman, talking about EPF, GCLC and our personal adventures, I will post a link when that podcast gets published next week. I am so grateful to Shiloh, a skilled interviewer, and his son, Joseph, for the chance to be found by a wider audience through his podcast. Shiloh is also a member of GCLC.

Upcoming schedule:

From Austin, we plan leave for San Antonio on January 23, where we will attend a Dream Week Event, “San Antonio in the Holy Land: The Good, Bad and Ugly” at 6:30 pm on Friday, January 25, at University Presbyterian Church, with Harry Gunkel. On Sunday, January 27, we will worship at St. Paul’s where Fr. Brad Landry has invited us to attend their combined services for their annual Parish Meeting. I've been told to look for Rev. Will Wauters and maybe for peaceCENTER as well (thanks to Ethan Vesely-Flad of FOR for those tips!)

Are you in San Antonio? Join us at either of my planned event stops, or let me know if I can see you for coffee or a conversation at another time. We will be there at least until January 29. If the federal government ever opens back up, we might head to Big Bend National Park for some communing with nature. Steven is tired of being cold so we could swing down to Corpus Christie instead. We will just see what the Holy Spirit has in store. I need to get some administrative chores for EPF completed, so some time off the trail might be just what we need. Going into a wilderness to pray is not without precedent, either, is it?

Beyond, we plan to head east to Houston and College Station before turning west again through Tyler and ultimately Amarillo. I’ve got some family in these parts who are not getting any younger, so I need to hug some necks while I am here, too. Want a visit? Calendar is wide open so let me know!


Anyone out there with expertise in Salesforce? EPF has this platform and we need some help getting content integrated. We can buy some help, but it is pricey. I’d love to recruit you to help us with this as a volunteer!

Until next time, power to the peaceful!


Steven and I were interviewed about my work with EPF and GCLC and our life on the road in Miranda by collaborative lawyer Shiloh Coleman in Austin.
How can we support Melanie while EPF is on the road?

  • Give to EPF
  • Offers of hospitality always welcome!
  • Suggestions of icons of social justice, landmarks or museums she must see.
  • Driveway for parking "Miranda", her home on wheels. (Home or church parking lot welcome)
  • Offer of laundry facilities.
  • Suggestions of coffee shops, eateries, and sports bars she should visit.
  • Identify best walks and hikes in your neighborhood.
  • Invite her to church!
  • Prayers for safe travel.
  • Favorite camp sites (with dump station, preferred).
  • Visits with your pets -- she is feeling deprived!
  • Home baked goodies (only if you are baking, anyway).
  • Make time to see her and introduce her around!
  • Favorite sites for photo ops.
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