As we look forward to this New Year, here is a poem that I wrote called, “A New….

“A New World, A New time to change the rhyme, the flow of what you know and to grow, to sow a new seed to end all greed to not conceed, but lead in a new direction with it’s inflection, it’s feel to not conceal, but reveal a new deal with it’s seal, it’s sign to not consign humanity to the insanity and profanity of the gloom and doom of an ending not worth defending, but instead to be fed with a new beginning, a time for Winning and overcoming the dumbing down of society, an impropriety of all the anxiety caused by those in power who would have us cower as they tower over us, we then discuss, and talk and squake, but then the walk moves and removes inaction and reaction, as well as distraction to change as we rearrange whats out there to a just and fair ending worth defending.” By Bruce Wright

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Christmas Thoughts and greetings

As we reflect on this Holiday Season and in particular this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I want to wish everyone a truly blessed time and wish to thank everyone for your support and help this Christmas. We were able to help more than 20 families with Food and gifts, as well as distribute more than 200 ditty bags with hygiene and other items in them. We also helped financially 3 single moms stay in their residence. Thanks so much to everyone who participated! You are truly a blessing and several Children will be blessed this Christmas.
In looking at the Christian and Hebrew Scriptures, the Prophet Isaiah speaks of a time when,”Every Valley shall be raised up, the crooked places made straight and mountains made low…. ” . A time when there will no longer be one person or government or power structure that is higher than another. The “playing field” will be level. A time when, according to Luke’s Gospel account, “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty handed….”. A time when real peace will reign!
This time is coming and is, as we show love and peace to one another. The birth of a child, in poverty to a single mom, part of enslaved indigenous people of color, in a time of being under the crushing power of the Empire of Rome, should remind us that The Power of Empire, Greed, Wealth, and War can be overcome by a small group of determined Followers of Peace, of the Prince of Peace.
May you truly have a blessed Christmas, Holiday Season, and New Year!! Whatever your religious or non-religious views, may you join me in wishing Peace, Love, and Joy in this world!

Sincerely, Rev. Bruce Wright

PS. If you are so inclined and wish to help the Refuge in it’s work at the last minute with families and to end this year in supporting us, we certainly could use your help. To help immediately, please call me at 727 278 1547 and I will give instructions on how to help by depositing directly in to our account. You can also send gifts to the Refuge, 3301 58th Ave. north, St. Petersburg, Florida 33714. Thanks again!! Please also consider supporting the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (www.economichumanrights.org).

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New Programs for the Poor and Homeless

The Refuge, with the help of a local property owner and supporter, is opening a 15 bed addictions Recovery program at a site in Pinellas Park. Below is a picture of the facility. We are currently renovating the property and could use some help. The building itself needs some work and we have internal and external cleanup needed. We are on a acre of property and have a huge backyard. We need help with cleanup and lawn mowed. The land will eventually be a recreational area and a community garden. We could use volunteers, at least 10 people or more. You can call me at 727 278 1547. You can make donations at www.refugestpete.org via pay pal or send support care of, The Refuge, 3301 58th Ave. north, lot 102, St. Petersburg, Florida 33714. Thanks so much, Rev. Bruce Wright

THIS IS THE HOUSE!!

Here is the list of Needs of the Refuge Recovery House:

-Furniture needed: Bureaus, silver ware, cups, plates, knifes, forks, spoons, cooking utensils, bed sheets, blankets, furniture (couches, chairs, etc.),4 bunk beds and 10 regular beds, pillows, tvs, vcr/dvd players, Lamps, bookcases, computer, phone, computer desk

Needs of Poor and Homeless Peoples Encampment in TAMPA:

Hello Friends, just to update on our Encampment of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign and the Refuge, we are in need of some immediate help. We need to raise $1200 to cover remaining payment for encampment land use, port-a-lets and camping equipment. If you can help, please call me at 727 278 1547. Donations can be sent via pay pal at www.refugestpete.org. Also, can send via the Refuge by mailing to The Refuge, 3301 58th Ave. North, Lot 102, St. Petersburg, Florida 33714. Thanks for you help, Rev. Bruce
HERE ARE THE NEEDS OF THE CAMP:
PORT-A- LETS
Portable Showers
Trash bags and Cans
Tents
Canopys
Tarps
Sleeping Bags
Flashlights
Lanterns
Water
Drinks
Non-perishable Foods
Laptops
Wireless Cards and mthly payments for them
Generators
Rain Gear
Canteens
Volunteer Drivers
Creative Materials for Sign and Banner Making
Tables
Outdoor Cookware
Coffee, Creamer, Sugar and Coffee Maker
Plates, Cups, Towels, Forks, Spoons, and Knifes

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NATO PROTESTS

Published on Sunday, May 20, 2012 by Common Dreams
Shut Down the War Marchine!: Thousands in Anti-NATO Rally
Protesters head towards site of NATO negotiations in Chicago, veterans to return medals
- Common Dreams staff

[See Twitter stream and livestream below for live updates.]

Chicago: My kind of town? Thousands of protesters marched in a sweltering Chicago today from downtown Chicago to near the site of the NATO summit at McCormick Place to call for an end to the NATO war machine.

The Coalition Against NATO-G8, which has spearheaded the march and protests, calls for an end to NATO’s war agenda. The group expected at least 10,000 to join the march.

The final number in the march may well double that, and some protesters report that the police numbers seem to equal the number of protesters.

Veterans have returned their medals at the end of the march, throwing them to the ground, and giving powerful reasons, as @OccupyChicago is documenting:

“I’m giving these medals back to the 1/3rd of women in the military who are sexually assaulted. I’m sorry. ” – War Veteran
“I’m sorry to the 30,000 Iraq and Afgani civilians killed.” – War Veteran
“These medals are a symbol of control. I will not hold on to these lies of heroism.” – War Veterans

Explaining why the veterans were retuning their medals, Iraq Veterans Against the War previously wrote: “We were awarded these medals for serving in the Global War on Terror, a war based on lies and failed polices. This endless war has killed hundreds of thousands, stripped the humanity of all involved, and drained our communities of trillions of dollars, diverting funds from schools, clinics, libraries, and other public goods.”

Iraq Veterans Against the War’s Aaron Hughes, one of the veterans who will be returning his medals, spoke to Democracy Now! this week and said, “A decade-long war, what have we been doing? … There’s a real moral disconnect between the idea that our military can build a democracy and the idea that our military is trained and designed to control, dominate and kill people.”

Thousands of peace activists are also in the march. “I’m here to protest NATO, which I feel is the enforcement arm of the ruling 1 per cent — of the capitalist 1 per cent,” protester John Schraufnagel told the Associated Press.

The focus of the NATO meet, which began today, will be the forces in Afghanistan.

The official march to McCormick Place has ended. Now @OccupyChicago reports that “chaos” and clashes between police have broken out, with some protesters being beaten with billy clubs, and possible sightings of the LRAD, or sound cannon.

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A Time for Prophetic Audacity

For the better part of three decades now, I have been involved in political advocacy on issues of homelessness and poverty in Philadelphia. The last few weeks have been particularly trying ones. Local anti-poverty advocates had been working on a few fronts, including fighting efforts by state legislators to impose voter ID requirements (more precisely, a “Voter Suppression Bill”) and trying to forge an effective response to Governor Corbett’s proposed state budget, with its numerous cuts to human services and programs for the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians (and tax breaks to corporations). A group of our advocates, including several formerly homeless folks, spent a day attending hearings and meeting with legislators and staffers in the state capital of Harrisburg, only to return feeling discouraged and frustrated.

At one recent meeting, we were poring over numbers and assessing the budget’s impact. We were also struggling with what kinds of organizing efforts might be effective. As I personally took in a sense of soberness at the tasks before us, I found an old memory stirring: Back in the 1980s, Philadelphia was the scene of an important event in the history of modern homelessness in this country: the formation of the first shelter started and operated by homeless persons. The group that started it called themselves the Committee for Dignity and Fairness for the Homeless (CDFH), and named the facility Dignity Shelter. The group would later launch the Union of the Homeless, a dynamic advocacy group which would eventually form chapters in several cities around the country.

One of the founders of CDFH/Union was Chris Sprowal, a tall and imposing former social worker and union organizer who had experienced the degradation of life on the streets and in shelters. Chris (one of my mentors) turned his own suffering and rage into action, with the realization that persons who were homeless needed to be at the forefront of the struggle for housing and dignity. As he sought to change conditions in Philadelphia, he demonstrated remarkable imagination and audacity in his political actions. He bathed naked in a public fountain to protest the lack of showers in city shelters. On a few occasions he organized dramatic “sleep-outs” to demand funding for shelters and service. And he spent no small amount of time in jail for civil disobedience.

Around 1990, Chris suddenly announced that he would undertake a fast as a response to the increase in street homelessness and the City’s decision to cut back on services. He camped outside Council chambers at City Hall for over a month diligent in his nonviolent witness. Obviously he garnered much media coverage, and daily supporters joined him for an ongoing protest and call for urgently needed resources. After over 40 days of fasting, which eventually took Chris and other advocates to the State Building, a major commitment of new State funding was secured – and Chris took to the hospital to recover.

The memory of Chris Sprowal jolted me to a sense that today we need to again consider imaginative and audacious actions to raise the urgent issues of basic justice and compassion in our increasingly polarized society.

A couple days after the meeting, I was speaking with a fellow activist, who was passionately questioning: “Where is the prophetic anger from the religious community? There’s all this poverty and suffering, and the United States may be entering yet another war soon!”

A few days later at one of our advocacy committee meetings about the proposed state budget, the same theme struck again. During yet another tough conversation, someone said that maybe we need religious leaders from around Pennsylvania to raise profound moral and spiritual issues about current directions in public policy. Something in me stirred—yes, we need that voice, a powerful, prophetic cry for justice.

The very next day, I spotted a headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer saying that Catholic bishops were calling for a day of fasting to protest,..

Could it be, I thought? Our spiritual leaders calling for action from all the faithful on the urgent issues of our day? A prophetic voice being raised about human suffering, poverty, and injustice?

No—the protest was about contraception. More specifically, it was about the recent White House statement on federal mandates for insurance companies to cover contraception and what the leadership saw as an assault on religious liberty.
One diocesan official stated, “Extreme situations call for extreme responses.” I couldn’t agree more. Yet, once again, ecclesial leaders focus their moral ire almost exclusively on what we do or don’t do with our genitals, while God’s precious children are again assaulted by thuggish policy-makers, pushing them into deeper poverty.

But the bishops are too easy a target, and righteous indignation doesn’t get us off the hook. Certainly much of the religious community in this country suffers from a myopic vision of social responsibility. Both in the pulpits and the pews, too many Christians, even those of liberal or progressive bent, have become too comfortable, too immune from the suffering of millions of our sisters and brothers. And we are largely impotent in the face of continuing systemic assaults on our most vulnerable citizens, while wealth is being amassed by the few. Even many activists have become content with our tactics and our liberal credentials. The more radical among us sometimes take shelter in our prophetic denunciations of the system, while the system continues to steamroll those already struggling to survive.

Not that I expect much from the Pennsylvania state government. But I am convinced that we need to tap into the holy anger of the prophets and of Jesus when God’s children are being neglected, exploited, marginalized, or dehumanized.

And we need elders like Chris Sprowal to remind us that sometimes we just have to take imaginative and audacious risks.

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