Human Trafficking

Rescue_RestoreTuesday, July 29th a community forum to learn about the issue of human trafficking was held in our fellowship hall. House Representative Sannie Overly and Marissa Castellanos of Catholic Charities spoke at length on the issue, providing valuable information to become advocates for victims and informed citizens. The statistics they shared were appalling. Since 2008 160 victims of human trafficking have been identified in our state. Of these victims, 94 were trafficked as children. The youngest victim was 2 months old. The concept of human trafficking seemed inconceivable to many who gathered for this important forum, but considering what we know of our community’s drug epidemic, it isn’t difficult to understand the two issues are intimately linked to one another.

Marissa Castellanos of Catholic Charities shared the efforts her organization makes to train and educate the public to recognize the warning signs of trafficked victims. KY Rescue & Restore began in 2008 and since that time, more than 21,000 individuals in KY have been educated regarding warning signs of human trafficking. Castellanos works across the state to help law enforcement agencies, health care workers and interested individuals learn what to look for and how to respond to victims, as well as directing survivors to services necessary to rebuild lives.

Representative Overly spoke at length about House Bill 3, which she sponsored and worked tirelessly to get passed into legislation. The “Human Trafficking Victims Rights Act” is primarily designed to target individuals who exploit children for sexual purposes by increasing penalties and prison sentences. The legislation would also provide training so that victims, advocates and law enforcement officers may better recognize signs of human and child trafficking, allowing them to take action more quickly. We learned that the state of KY now has the strongest law in place to punish modern-day slave traders and to provide aid to victims of trafficking.

As easy as it is to get caught up in thinking slavery is an issue for metropolitan areas, we must force ourselves to look at the world around us more clearly. The first case to come before the court system as HB 3 was being signed into law was a woman who escaped her captors right here in Bourbon County. She ran 10 miles…7 months pregnant, to find the help she needed. Her case will soon appear in our local papers, as the legal process is nearing its end. This is an issue for our community and something to which we must all concern ourselves. Visit http://www.rescueandrestoreky.org/ to learn more about how you can take action and make a difference in the lives of survivors.

Blessings,
Tracy

 

FREE PUBLIC FORUM ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING

In 1865, Congress passed the 13th amendment to the constitution, officially abolishing slavery in the United States. Nearly 150 years later, slavery (now known as human trafficking) is the second-largest criminal industry in the world behind drug trafficking, according to 2014 statistics.

On Tuesday July 29 at 7 p.m., First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Paris, will host a free public forum on the current-day problem of human trafficking. All members of the community, business owners, teachers and concerned citizens are invited to attend. Presenters of the program will be State Representative Sannie Overly, and Marissa Castellanes, the MSW Human Trafficking Program Manager with the Case Management and Family Support Department of the Catholic Charities of Louisville.

Since 2007, Kentuckians have been working to enact laws and provide adequate advocacy for the citizens of the Bluegrass and immigrants who have been affected by human trafficking. According to lawmakers, human rights activists, faith-based communities and others, there is still much work to be done. Some of this work includes teaching the public what human trafficking looks like, how it impacts the Bluegrass state, and what concerned communities can do to help fight this modern-day slavery. Representative Overly and Castellanes believe that empowering people with knowledge can help solve current problems and prevent future issues.

First Christian Church is located at 911 High Street in Paris. For more information call 987-3940.  

 

Times They Are A-Changing

change-roadsign

Bob Dylan said it over 40 years ago…but it is as true today as it has ever been. The only thing guaranteed in this life seems to be change. Ministry has undergone changes and the struggles that come about as a result of change for millennia. James Trader, curator at Cane Ridge, once shared with a District 8 Clergy meeting his study of the Great Worship Wars of the turn of the century…the 19th Century, that is. It seems churches struggled with new contemporary music from the likes of Fanny Crosby long before the Hillsong, Steven Curtis Chapman, the David Crowder Band or even Laura Story came to the music scene.

At camp, there seems to be tension between the energizers and ‘the old camp songs.’ Ultimately, just as in worship, we end up singing both and everyone enjoys all the music. But, music isn’t the only thing that makes a congregation cringe when it comes to the word ‘change.’ We’ve seen the heightened sensitivities with technology too. And, as we continue to move forward into God’s call and to grow ourselves spiritually, we come to terms with the little changes along the way and learn to relax and trust in God to instigate a little change in us.

As we age, there are changes that take place in our minds and bodies. We don’t respond to exercise when we’re older as we did in our 20s. We start to require a little more ‘down’ time than we once needed or more that just 4 or 5 hours of sleep. Learning something new doesn’t come as easily as it once did. Even our digestion seems to change with time. Our taste buds mature and we’ll eat more vegetables than we used to and our fat cells seem to decide as we age that we’ve grown comfortable enough with one another after all these years, we might as well just remain close friends.

I suppose one of the hardest realities of change comes to us as we watch our children grow. One day we’re rocking them to sleep in the middle of the night and the next we’re teaching them how to change a tire because they’re driving now. The world is not the same for them as it was for us…but then the world we grew into was not the same as the one our parents knew, and every generation has had to come to terms with that reality. The question remains, is it better today or worse? Yes! We’ve conquered many illnesses and maladies. We’ve opened up opportunities for minorities. We have more options than we’ve ever had for humanity…and yet there is still suffering, injustice and poverty. The times they are a-changing. How do you go about making those changes create life-giving opportunities for others? Are you simply riding the wave or are you resisting the tide? I have a teen driver now…the last one. This makes me all too aware the time I have left to help form her into a responsible, caring individual to turn loose on society is short. I feel my time is running out…so maybe it’s time to start prioritizing. What lessons can humanity not live without? I’m interested in hearing your advice for what we must instill in our youth before they reach adulthood. Let me know your thoughts.

Blessings,
Tracy

Appeal…ideas…sorrow

serving others

In our appeal for over and above gifts to reduce the deficit, we have received about $9,000.  There is one more week to go before August when Charlotte needs to know we have raised $12,000. Please be generous.

          ______________
 

The Governance Committee will meet over the next year to review our congregational structure, constitution and by-laws, committees and ways we can more effectively do the work of the Kingdom of God.  If you have ideas about ways we can be more efficient and effective, please let us know.

          ________________
 

 Operation Food Basket has experienced a great loss in the death of Betty Florence.  She was the backbone of OFB for decades. In her absence, we will continue with this ministry of 15 Bourbon County Churches. OFB is open 10 – 11:45 a.m. MWF in the basement of the City Building. Emergency food needs may be met once every 3 months.
 

Moving to the deeper places,
Jeff

Ties that Bind

vespersThe ties that bind can sometimes just be thin threads, but other times they are bonds forged in steel. Each week I spend at Wakon Da-Ho I find evidences of both. Counselors who were recruited by those who counseled them. Someone saw something special in them and issued an invitation to share it with today's youth. Camp friendships that anxiously await reuniting year after year because other than social media and texting…this is the only time of the year they are face-to-face.

Each morning we gather in vespers with the morning sun drawing the mists off the surface of the ponds while the birds and bullfrogs protest our entry into their solitude. We watch the morning together and await God's words to us for the day. We marvel at the beauty of our surroundings and seek solace from those who gather here with us. The trees form a canopy of protection over our heads, their branches and leaves absorbing the laughter, tears, songs and prayers of the years. Some days it will gently rain above our heads but no drops make their way to our heads. We can see the little ripples they create on the surface of the pond and hear their gentle descent, but remain dry thanks to the protection of the trees that surround us. Other days, long after a rain has left a gentle breeze will stir the leaves and send a sprinkle down upon our heads while the rest of our world remains dry. It is a magic that is unique to Wakon Da-Ho. When it happens you can see the wonder on the faces of the youth who gather here and know this is one more instance that will forever tie their hearts to this geographical location.

Sometimes threads wend and weave themselves tenuously through the years. Youth and counselors have come and gone throughout the 40 or 50 years we've hosted camp in Casey County. Sometimes adults will take brief respites from the camp program, but return because they love it as much as the children and youth who gather here do. This year a new thread from time past wrapped itself around me and tied me forever to the story. One of Paris' children, now grown with children of her own made her way into one of the stories of Jesus' healing. Our stories cross through the roots that spread deep and wide beneath the soil of Wakon Da-Ho. Her healing and my healing have both come through the efforts of the same individual…and through our encounters with Christ at Wakon Da-Ho.

I've heard parishioners say for years how they come to worship each Sunday because they need an injection to get them through the week. I think I return to these people and to Wakon Da-Ho each summer for much the same reason. I often find healing when I didn't realize there was injury. I find acceptance, grace and joy when I didn't know I craved them. I reunite with old friends I only see face-to-face once a year, but with whom I long to share a week of camp chaos because no other can understand the magic and mystery of the place and its people like those I share my memories and healing with once or twice a year.

Blessings,
Tracy

WordPress theme: Kippis 1.15