Archive | January 2014

Judge consolidates sentencing hearing, January 28

Let us continue in prayer and letter writing to the judge

Transform Now Plowshares

Judge Amul Thapar, in response to a motion filed by the TNP legal team, has agreed to consolidate the sentencing hearing for Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed to permit testimony offered on behalf of all three convicted Plowshares activists by Bishop Tom Gumbleton and Nukewatch’s John LaForge.

The Judge indicated Michael, Greg and Megan will still be sentenced individually.

The hearing will be held in federal court in Knoxville, TN beginning at 9:00am on Tuesday, January 28, 2014.

The Judge also refused a request by Greg Boertje-Obed to have two songs played during his sentencing hearing saying Greg could submit the lyrics, but he will not allow recorded music. The songs, My Name is Lisa Kalvelage and By Breath, performed by Duluth’s Sara Thomsen, can be heard on iTunes.

Media reports indicate the recommended sentences for Megan Rice and Greg Boertje-Obed are in the range of 6-8 years…

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Sister Megan Rice, 83 and Greg and Michael to be Sentenced on 1/28/14-Please Support Them

This is a follow up on my blog on supporting Sister Megan Rice and Greg and Michael who are soon to be sentenced for courageous anti- nuclear activism. 

 Sentencing for Transform Now Plowshares rescheduled: Now Jan 28, 2014


Judge Amul Thapar has reset the sentencing date for Megan, Michael and Greg at the request of the defense attorneys. All three are currently scheduled for sentencing on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 in federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee. They remain incarcerated at the Irwin County Detention facility in Ocilla, GA, pending sentencing.  There is a renewed opportunity to write Judge Thapar on their behalf.  Also, please continue to write Megan, Michael and Greg.

Please click on “Letter…” below and see the wonderful letter by the Friends (FCNL) that beautifully questions how these courageous peace activists can be seen as terrorists when their intent is the opposite-to save innocent people not ever to harm anyone. Please consider supporting these modern day saints, in the Name of the Prince of Peace.  Pastor Judy Lee, ARCWP

Letters of Support pour in


Letters of Support for the Transform Now Plowshares resisters continue to pour in; more than a thousand cards and letters have been sent to the judge or the support team to date. The Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, DC, submitted a letter; you can see it by clicking on the title of this post and following the trail:

Letter from FCNL 9-17-13

Please see the blog: URL Http://

TNP statement on Judge’s denial of Rule 29 motion to dismiss sabotage charges


Dear friends and supporters of the Transform Now Plowshares,

We continue to ask for your support and help. On October 1, we received word that Judge Amul Thapar denied the motion to dismiss the sabotage conviction as well as denied the motion for a new trial.

In his ruling dismissing the defense Rule 29 motion and upholding the sabotage conviction for the Transform Now Plowshares resisters, Judge Amul Thapar has left the door open for the government to argue for the maximum thirty year sentence.

The pre-sentencing reports prepared by the Probation Office are likely to recommend sentences ranging up to 12 years—the recommendations take into account the record of past convictions, so Megan, Michael and Greg are likely to each have a different range; Greg, for instance, has indicated his guideline range is 6.5-8 years. For Greg, any sentence less than six and a half years would represent a downward departure.

Judge Thapar’s ruling included a statement that the nature of the offense has to be taken into account at sentencing1, suggesting he may be open to consider a “downward departure” from the presentencing report’s guidelines.

While we all believe that the real criminal and dangerous activity lies in the ongoing work of Y-12, and that Michael, Greg and Megan should be released immediately from jail, we also know that this is a very unlikely scenario. The reality is the three will remain incarcerated for some additional amount of time. They never asked for nor expected a “get out of jail free” card. Instead, they offered their lives and freedom freely and without expectation. By asking for downward departures, they are in fact giving the judge the opportunity, a gift so to speak,  to recognize the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law and for him to publicly proclaim his humanity and compassion by granting a downward departure from guideline sentences that can range up to 12 years.

The TNP support team therefore asks that letters to Judge Thapar continue and should encourage him to sentence with downward departures from the high sentencing guidelines which can range up to 12 years. Even if you’ve written a letter in the past or sent in a pre-written postcard, you can still write another. They seem to have an effect as Judge Thapar has referred to the high volume of letters and postcards and he has posted a few on legal record himself.

Please continue to send your letters to:

US District Judge Amul R Thapar
c/o Professor Bill Quigley
Loyola Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice
7214 St. Charles Avenue
Campus Box 902
New Orleans, LA 70118

        Please feel free to post and share this statement on your facebook page.


the TNP support team.

       1 “The defendants’ non-violence thus does not affect the question facing the Court today: whether a reasonable jury could find the defendants guilty. Of course, the defendants’ non-violence will be relevant at sentencing, since the Court must account for both the “nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics” of the defendants. See 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(1). Given the obvious differences between the defendants and the paradigmatic saboteur, those factors surely will be worthy of discussion. But because those differences do not lessen the defendants’ liability under § 2155(a), the Court denies the defendants’ Rule 29 motion.” [Memorandum Opinion and Order, US District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, Northern Division, Knoxville; 1 October 2013]

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Thanks and may peace be with you,

Pastor Judy Lee, ARCWP

Children Bring Their Gifts to Jesus-Epiphany at The Church of the Good Shepherd

Our children prepare their gifts for Jesus. The gift of a smile, the gift of laughter and giggles, the gifts of their hearts, and the gift of telling the story to the Congregation held us spellbound. Our wise young people from different lands are both girls and boys, younger and older. They represent Africa, South America, Italy and the USA. They carried gold, (money in a small box), Frankincense in a censor and in a small bottle, and myrrh in the form of  aromatic candles.  They gave these gifts to Mary and Joseph. Mary (Jakeriya Maybin) begins by reading us the story of the gifts for the baby king that she wrote.  .

Our Mary, Jakeriya Maybin 11, tells us the story of how the wise people from far away brought baby Jesus very special gifts because they knew he would be King of our hearts and bring love to the world. Joseph, Jakein John Maybin listens.



Joseph reaches out to receive a gift from Niah Battles,5.


Frankie Antonio, 7 has given a box of gold.


Keion Lewis, 11 brings the sweet smelling Myrrh.


Marcella Randazzo, 12 brings the gift of herself.

How blessed we are to receive the gifts of our children on Epiphany.


Toni Ann and Baby Courtney


What shall we give the baby Jesus? We’ll give him our hearts…

Love and Joy,

Pastor Judy Lee,ARCWP and Pastor Judy Beaumont,ARCWP, Co-Pastors

Epiphany 1/5/14

Christmas In Playa Renaciente,Cali, With Pastor Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia Soon To Be Ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest


These pictures are sent by Pastor Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia(in Navy blouse at the feet of the infant Jesus being carried) who will be ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest in Sarasota, Florida on January 18,2013. She is experienced in ministry and theologically prepared.  She has been serving in this wonderful community since 2005. We received a letter from the community leaders recommending her to us for Ordination. In these pictures the children are in a Procession carrying the baby Jesus and singing Carols. They are also receiving gifts and celebrating.  This is also an Epiphany celebration as Jesus was given gifts by the Magi.


We in ARCWP, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests are delighted to have Pastor Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia ordained as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest on January 18,2014. She will be the third Colombiana to be ordained as a RC woman Priest.   This Ordination will be at 2PM hosted by the St Andrews United Church of Christ in Sarasota, Florida. ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan will be presiding and all are welcome.

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee,ARCWP and

Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea, ARCWP

Co_Coordinators of Hispano Parlantes

Homily for Epiphany Jan 5,2014- Finding Christ


We see the face of Christ Who Is for all of us  in our “Three Kings”

Sometimes the beauty and simplicity of the Holy Scriptures is both moving and confounding. Such is Matthew’s account of the visit of the Magi. (“Magoi” means wise or learned men, or scholars or astrologers or even magicians, some say kings or priests of another religion perhaps Zoroasterism.  Some see them as hailing from Persia (Iran), Babylonia or just “the East”. One later tradition has them coming from China and Africa). The writer of Matthew whose community is Jewish Christians, masterfully crafts a story that has the newborn king, Jesus, belonging to the Jewish tradition as fulfillment of Messianic prophecy (Isaiah 60; Psalm 72; Micah 5:2 ) and also bringing light to the gentiles (Isaiah 60). Through the journey and adoration of the Magi, the infant Christ also belongs to all the known world and all of creation.

The writer of Matthew crafts a story of inclusion, a both/and story that establishes Jesus as the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy and yet as belonging to strangers, outsiders as well-to those who seek the Christ. Indeed the rejection of the Jewish people is forecast as the news the Magi gave the insecure King Herod about the newborn king “greatly disturbed” Herod and “all of Jerusalem”. The Magi find the Christ child while following a star, or perhaps it was a comet, a great light in the sky. So Christ is revealed through nature and natural phenomena and to people very different than the religious Jews of the times who would not have approved of astrologers, or worshipers from neighboring countries who once ruled them, or representatives of other religions-all of which the Magi may have been. Probably the testimony of the poor shepherds who were Jesus’ first visitors also guided by a great light or star according to the writer of Luke,  would not have convinced the religious leaders either. But for Matthew, like Luke, the bottom line message is: this newborn king is here for everybody! Christ is for all people and for all nations. Now that is truly good news-no one will be left out.

The account raises the question how do we find Christ now?  What can guide us as we seek the Christ?

In our time when people struggle with historicity and scientific proofs we can hitch our wagons to the stars, speak in lovely abstractions and miss the wonderful messages of the Gospels about inclusion. Luke starts off with animals and poor shepherds as first visitors and first evangelists. Matthew has foreigners bearing the first news of the Christ to Herod and to the religious establishment who are very unhappy about the news. The Magi recognize the Christ and give gifts worthy of a King (gold and the expensive Myrrh and Frankincense), a Deity (Myrrh that also connects God and earth, and can accompany in death) and a Healer (Frankincense and Myrrh). (These are also used for healing today for everything from skin diseases to colitis and cancers to asthma, anxiety and stress).  These strangers are given a sign in the skies that they can understand as star gazers and they also understand who this baby is. Their gifts are prophetic and the gold was also just in time for a poorer family that has to flee into Egypt.

So how can we who seek Christ today find Christ? Perhaps first we have to allow ourselves to seek and to acknowledge that we are seeking. We are seeking love that is unconditional and all inclusive.  We are seeking true community. We are seeking justice especially for the poor and outcast of this world. We are seeking the reign of God characterized by love and justice when both are sometimes very hard to find. We are seeking peace in our hearts, in our families, in our communities and in the world. Each one of us is different. Some of us will find Christ through seeing and listening to the stories of others. Some of us will find Christ in the faces of the lowly shepherds of our times, the homeless and the hungry,the children and the elderly, those who share their gifts and the serially unemployed. Some of us will find Christ in serving with them and in listening to and responding to their stories.  That is how I find Christ. When my heart is moved I know Christ is speaking to me and asking me to help my fellow seekers.

But the Magi found Christ through natural phenomena, or even spectacular natural phenomena. Some of us will find Christ through our connections to the astounding beauty of the natural world-the sky, the mountains, the sea, the creatures of the earth and sea. That is another way I find Christ. Looking up at the night sky,  feeding the fish, turtles, ducks, ibis and coots on my little lake, watching a pod of dolphins play, witnessing a frightened person, dog or cat respond to loving ,patient feeding and talking, experiencing the loyalty of both human and furry friends, I experience awe and a quiet deep joyful belief in God’s love.

Experiencing the wisdom of others through their heartfelt stories, writings or film or art I find the living Christ. Some find Christ in grasping the discoveries of science. I am in awe of this.  In the love of friends and family I find Christ. In the eyes of one who was hungry and feels full, I find Christ. Watching others respond to love and grow in faith is clearly seeing the living Christ at work. When one of our teenagers reflected that she finds love at our church, I remembered when I first felt loved through the church of my youth.  I knew that Christ was with us and thanked God for the miracle of Christ with us in one another.

You may fix cars or computers, you may heal people or animals, you may write, you may sing, you may carve wood or make great works of art, you may sell commodities or stocks, and you may be in deep trouble and have nothing at all to give to the baby Jesus but your love. Christ will find you where you are, and in ways you can recognize, that make sense to you.  God will accept the wonderful gifts that only you can bring and, if you seek love and justice and peace, you will find it. You will find Christ.


Rev Dr. Judy Lee, ARCWP