Colloquy Mentors, Educates, and Inspires

22 02 2012

BY LORI MARTELL, Independence, Missouri, USA

Terry tempest Williams showed how much the award meant to her.

Imagine the mentors you assume you will never meet face to face, but who have touched your life profoundly. Who is it for you—a speaker, author, musician, or artist? I will never forget the 2011 Peace Colloquy, “Creating Hope, Healing Earth,” held October 21–23 at the Temple in Independence, Missouri.

There I met one of my most special mentors: author and environmental activist Terry Tempest Williams.

My spirit soared throughout the whole Colloquy. On Friday night, it was my honor to introduce Terry just before she received the 18th Community of Christ International Peace Award. Were you there? Did you watch live from home?

If not, stop reading right now and watch the award and keynote address at

On Saturday, the Rev. Fletcher Harper’s keynote address captivated me. (You also can listen to this address on the Peace Colloquy website.) He outlined a few worldviews on the environment, including scientific, environmentalist, skeptical, economic, and religious voices. Then he delved into detailed scripture study of Hebrew and New Testament creation-related passages.

The keynote speech by Rev. Fletcher Harper roused people with an address that affirmed the Sacredness of Creation.

Rev. Fletcher showed how easy it is to misrepresent a scripture when a person doesn’t understand its cultural-historical context. Exploring the levels of meaning in context and even in the original language of various passages affirmed:

  • All of creation is holy.
  • God is at home in creation.
  • Biblical salvation is not just for a few “good” or “lucky” individuals, but for all of creation, all of us.

Too many great workshops to describe in one article filled the rest of Saturday. The breadth of knowledge and passionate commitment to the environment represented by the presenters was inspirational. Whether seeking cleaner food sources, helping save a special place threatened by development, helping a congregation become “greener,” or speaking about global climate change, people of faith increasingly are taking a stand on behalf of the Earth. The workshops quickened and strengthened this momentum.

Saturday night was playtime. Minnesota folk artist Peter Mayer put on a show that had the Temple spire resonating with more rhythm and melody than one person should be able to coax from an acoustic guitar. His eco-spiritual message was the perfect accompaniment to the weekend. By the end he had us all on our feet with a “This Little Light of Mine” grand finale sing-a-long. Everyone left with a smile. If you want to learn more about Peter, visit www

Sunday morning, President Steve Veazey and Peace Colloquy Co-director Brad Martell closed the Colloquy with a message that had me laughing, crying, and nodding in affirmation. Yes, Brad is my spouse, so I am hopelessly biased. But, I think this was one of the best messages I have ever heard.

Steve and Brad spoke casually, as if having a friendly conversation, but the depth of their statements was anything but superficial. Watch it now at!



One response

24 02 2012
Charmaine Chvala-Smith

I can almost here your voice and see your bubbly joy as I read this. You describe very beautifully the parts of the Colloguy I could attend and the atmosphere that I know affected a lot of people who were there for the whole event. Thanks.

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