Ann Naumann’s Reflections on Her Time in Haiti

From Ann Naumann, on her mission work in Haiti:
I first went to Haiti after the earthquake in 2011. I spent two weeks there at a small hospital outside Port Au Prince working with patients who had been injured in the earthquake. Maria and I went back in 2012 and Jesse and I returned in 2014.  During these visits we worked in a free standing Physical Therapy Clinic supported by Global Therapy Group, a non-profit Physical Therapy Practice.   This clinic was established after the earthquake to meet the needs of Haitians who had been injured in the earthquake or who had other therapy needs. Prior to the earthquake physical therapy was not really known or used in Haiti. This clinic was staffed by Haitian Physical Therapy Aides who received direct training at the clinic as well as in other locations in Haiti.  Other staff included volunteer PT’s, OT’s and Speech and Language Therapists from throughout the world who came to Haiti to support this work for one week to four months at a time. 


These were tremendously rewarding and important experiences for Maria, Jesse, and me as well as for the patients who we were able to work with and help.  I am planning another trip with my younger son, Alex when he is a little older.  


Photos include those of Anese, who was pregnant with her first child when we met. She lost her leg in the earthquake and I taught her how to put on/off her prosthesis, how to care for her leg and how to walk with her prosthesis. When she had her baby two months later, she called me from Haiti asking me to name her new son.  Since then we have stayed in touch with Anese and her son Isaac who is one of the children that CCP sends to school in Haiti. 


Through all of these trips the members of Christ Church Presbyterian have been strong financial supporters as well as cheerleaders and avidly supportive interested parties. Since 2012 CCP has been sponsoring several children to attend school in Haiti.  As there is not really a functional public education system in Haiti, schools are private and are costly. Anyone who does not have the money does not receive an education. Currently we are sending eight children to school through the non-profit education organization TeacHaiti, as well as Isaac.   


Christ Church Presbyterian members have been most generous in sponsoring these children, ensuring them an education and a chance to move out of poverty.

Barbara Jordan’s Exercise Videos for All

In March 2020, Barbara Jordan shared two exercise classes online and wrote:

“Do what you love!” “Your passion becomes your vocation!” “What you are called to do becomes your mission!”

I have always loved to move, starting with dancing lessons, gymnastic lessons and baton lessons when I was in elementary school. In high school, gym class was my favorite, along with playing intramural sports and being a majorette in the Marching Band. I was voted most athletic in my class. In college I majored in Physical Education and Health Education, was on the Drill Team, played intramural sports and started a gymnastics team.

In my working life, my husband Paul took a teaching and coaching job at Onteora Central School in New York. I taught P.E. and coached the marching band, majorettes and cheerleaders. Later on, we came to South Burlington High School where I coached the Gymnastics team, started a drill team and coached cheerleading.

In 1976, I started teaching P.E. classes at U.V. M. while doing graduate work. It was then that I started working with Dr. Richard Tonino on his research project concerning the effect of exercise on the so called “Senior Population.” I set up a program and trained 23 volunteers for the study. When it was over, the volunteers didn’t want to stop the exercise and that became the start of my mission; to train as many seniors as possible. I’ve taught classes at Senior Centers in Williston Woods, Holy Cross Sr. Center, Cathedral Square, the Pines High Rise, Winooski Senior Center, Wake Robin, Miller Center as well as continuing at UVM, from which I just retired I made DVD’s of the Miller class, using mats, and the Winooski Senior Center using chairs and gave them to my students to keep them exercising when the classes were finished.

Now I have the opportunity to share my mission with you. Research has shown time and time again that fitness and physical activity improves our overall health and quality of life. Now that you’re housebound, there are things you can do to improve your cardiovascular fitness, i.e. heart, lungs and blood vessels. If it’s nice out, go for a walk or hike or bike, 6 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day. If you’re at home, put on some music and dance or…clean the house!

To improve your muscle strength and endurance and your flexibility, i.e. range of motion of joints, I will give you a DVD of my 2 classes. They will help you “see” the exercises. They both contain flexibility and strengthening exercises using Somatics, Active Isolated Stretching, Egoscue Method, Flow Yoga, Pilates and Resistance tubes. T’ai Chi warm-ups are at the beginning of both DVD’s and serve to get your energy moving. T’ai Chi/Namaste is at the end of both DVD’s. It helps your balance, agility and co-ordination as well as fostering mental and spiritual wellness, honoring each other and yourself. Winooski does not use mats. They do all their strength training with ankle weights and in chairs. Miller uses mats.
The videos are available here:

Thanks very much,
Barbara Jordan

Marjorie’s Immigration Support at the Southern Border

Rev.Marjorie MacNeill and her daughter, Catherine VanVliet Mey, visited Arizona and brought needed supplies to three mission sites serving the US/Mexico border area.

A network of SHELTERS in TUCSON AZ continues to offer welcome and assistance to hundreds of ASYLUM SEEKERS who have been released from border detention and are on their way to family or sponsors elsewhere. Here’s the information about how to help:

Send packages or online orders directly to the refugee shelter at:

Catholic Community Services,
800 North Country Club Road,
Tucson AZ 85716

OR donate through gofundme.com “CCS migrant shelter”

OR send financial donations to
Catholic Community Services
140 W. Speedway, Blvd., Suite 130
Tucson, AZ 85705

Especially needed for the CCS Monastery Shelter in Tucson are:

Backpacks, travel blankets, new underwear for children and adults (size S/M), new socks for all ages, basic clothing for boys and girls, men’s and women’s tennis shoes (S), men’s belts (S), men’s pants (size 28-32), and women’s leggings (S/M) which can easily be ordered and sent.

Other organizations we visited that could use ongoing support are:

Frontera de Cristo
826 11th Street, Douglas, AZ 85607
fronteradecristo.org
We also brought requested supplies to this cross-border mission that is based in Douglas AZ and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico. They are one of several Presbyterian missions along the US/Mexico border that focus on building economic strength in their communities, international friendship/understanding, and welcoming visitors who seek to learn more about border issues through group emersion experiences. We brought personal care items for the most vulnerable people with whom they work and school supplies for their children and youth programs. We were able to meet their coordinator, Mark Adams, and talk with staff when we brought supplies.

Catholic Community Services of South Arizona
Casa Alitas, Catholic Community Services
800 North Country Club Road, Tucson AZ 85716
ccs-soaz.org (Casa Alitas, aid for migrant families).
Tucson’s former Benedictine Monastery has received more than 500 parents and children since it opened its doors to families seeking refuge in the United States three weeks ago. The families, the vast majority from Central America, are vetted by immigration officials and released to continue the process of their immigration cases elsewhere in the country, usually where they already have relatives or friends who can sponsor them.

We brought the majority of our donated supplies to one of a network of churches and shelters in Tucson; specifically to their support of refugee youth and families who have asked for asylum, have been detained at the border but then released after screening to join family or sponsors elsewhere in the country. As is the case in El Paso TX, the families are released by ICE at local bus stations with few resources for their journey.
We brought many requested supplies including new underwear for men, women, and children, socks for all, personal care items, travel snacks, Pedialyte, baby formula, backpacks, and small travel blankets. Some of the youth and volunteers helped to unload our car. I got to meet one of the families who had arrived at this new shelter location – and wished I had a wider command of conversational Spanish!! Since returning from Arizona, I was able to use further donations I’d received to order more backpacks and travel blankets through Amazon for that shelter and those families. A friend who is volunteering there recently posted their need for other items for those who’ll be traveling from Tucson to northern locations: gloves, winter hats, small/medium sized jeans for men, winter jackets, small/medium sized men’s sneakers, and backpacks!!

Ron McGarvey’s Earth Day: Call to Action

4.1.1

An Earth Day Reflection by Ron McGarvey, April 2020

Where were you when Earth Day was “born” (April 22, 1970)?

Thanks to my “friends and neighbors” I was in the Army and not aware of this significant “birth”; but it marks what has become an important part of my life.

The early 1970’s were a time of increased awareness and advocacy for environmental issues. President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (Dec. 1970), the Clean Air Act (1970) and the Clean Water Act (1972) were passed. I was influenced by this and realized that if we could reduce our energy use through efficiency improvements, we could reduce many of the environmental impacts that we faced. My professional career enabled me to pursue this path, and now, my current involvement with Vermont Interfaith Power and Light enables me to help improve the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon emissions of Vermont faith community buildings. Hopefully, the members of these faith communities, seeing the benefits of energy efficiency improvements in their houses of worship, will adopt these types of improvements for their own homes and lifestyles.

We’re now dealing with a global pandemic that is not unlike the climate crisis. COVID-19 shows that we are all part of one planet and one family. We all need to work together to address these crises; and we need to remember that those who are most vulnerable to environmental issues and climate change are those who have contributed the least to either, yet they are impacted the most.

Now, as people of faith and conscience we have a moral responsibility to care for Creation and those in need. If you would like to celebrate Earth Day’s 50th birthday and support Vermont Interfaith Power and Light’s mission of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, I have some suggestions:

#1 Write a handwritten letter to Governor Scott: Tell him that you support one or more of the following four legislative proposals, and that you want him to support them also.
Office of the Governor Phil Scott
109 State Street Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609
Hand-written letters have the greatest impact and influence.

  • H. 688 Global Warming Solutions Act: This will increase accountability to ensure that Vermont meets its goals for reduced emissions and renewable energy by 2050
  • S. 267 Renewable Energy: This will implement a true 100% renewable energy standard for Vermont electric utilities. It will increase local renewable energy generation and create jobs.
  • S. 337 Efficiency Utility: This will enable our efficiency utilities, Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric along with Vermont Gas to implement programs and services that reduce climate pollution.
  • S. 339 Transportation and Climate Initiative (TC&)I: This is a regional program that will generate revenue to help all Vermonters invest in clean transportation alternatives while mitigating financial impacts on those least able to afford them. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont.

#2 Go to: https://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/voter-pledge-form/ to take the Faith Climate Voter Pledge and commit to voting with climate and Creation in mind.

#3 Go to: https://www.faithclimateactionweek.org/organizers-kit/join-the-nationwide-climate-prayer/ and sign up to participate in the National Climate Prayer, Wednesday, April 22 at noon.

#4 Invite a friend, relative or neighbor to do one or all of the above.

Zengyi’s Story

This is the text of a talk given by Zengyi at a church service in 2018.

My family and Christ Church of Presbyterian-Why we want to pledge

We have been in CCP for over 28 years. We would like to share some stories about CCP and us.


In China we were not raised in any religion faith. We went through tough times in China. For example, the cultural revolution in China lasted for 10 years and we were deprived of schooling. We were separated from our family and were sent to the countryside to do manual labor. We experienced the Tiananmen Square crackdown by the military in June, 1989.


I got a job offer from UVM Medical School in Feb. 1990. Before I arrived here my brother was helping me to rent a room in Burlington. He saw an ad at the Given Building, and he called. Nancy Williams answered phone. My brother said: “My name is Steven,…” Nancy recognized his oriental accent, and read a Xmas card from Tom Regal who had taught me in his English class in Beijing, China: Do you know Zenglo Chen? My brother said: That’s me.” Then he went to Nancy’s house where he rented a room for me.


I moved into Nancy’s house the day I arrived in Burlington. Very soon she brought me to CCP. I had came to the US alone, leaving my husband Zhong, and my son Dan, in China. There was no email at that time, and we wrote letters once in a while. The long-distance phone call was $4 per minute, and every time there were additional 7-10 minute charges to go through extension lines before I was able to talk to them. Nancy helped me to find jobs from Church friends to make extra money to pay my expensive phone bills.


Meanwhile I was trying to get Zhong and Dan to come to join me as soon as they could. But five months passed and they were still not able to apply for Chinese passports because of strict rules in China. Nancy told me to ask prayers in church. After a month with no phone calls, I called Zhong to ask about the passport issue. The big surprise was: both of them had received their passports, and US visa, and flight tickets. It was then, and still is, very hard to receive US visa. In the early morning Zhong and Dan arrived at the US Embassy in Beijing after two hour bus ride. They had to stand at the end of a line of over 200 people. They thought no hope to get visa today. But a lady who was 2nd in the line came to talk to Zhong: she had been standing there since midnight and was worried about failing to get her visa and wanted to give her spot to Zhong and Dan. Then they obtained the visas after being interviewed by the Embassy officer.


China had a one child per couple policy starting in 1979 and ending in 2017. Dan was born in 1979. We were so lucky to be able to have our daughter, Dana, born in1991 after we came to Burlington in the United States. Nancy and CCP helped us to prepare Dana’s birth. Janet Patterson came with me to meet my boss to learn about UVM benefits. Twelve days before my due date, Barbara Dunington brought a crib to us. Dana couldn’t wait and was born the next day. Nancy held a baby shower when Dana and I were still in the hospital and brought us so many needed baby’s things from CCP. Zhong only took one day off after Dana’s birth. Church friends delivered meals to us for two weeks. Rose (sorry about I forgot her last name)came to our home to collect diapers and washed them in her house for one month…..

The procedure of applying for green cards to become US permanent residents is supposed to be a very long waiting period. But on July 1st 1993, was Dana’s second birthday, Zhong, Dan and I got green cards. Five years later we three became US citizens.
It’s hard to believe so many of our dreams became true. We felt we got closer to GOD through CCP. We were baptized in CCP when Dana was 7 months old.


There are so many memories about our life and CCP. Charlie Gear drove his truck to help us moving on April 1991, Dan had been go to CCP to practice piano for a while until John Steele loaned us his mother’s piano,, and many people came to help move the piano to our 2nd floor apartment on Green St. Burlington. Jean Wolvington taught me how to make beautiful skating dresses for Dana.


We have had a hard time understanding sermons because the language problem. But most important for us, to keep coming, was and is for 28 years, the circle time-share Joys and concerns. We always received support from CCP whenever we needed help. Whenever I feel down or worried, I would ask the prayers from CCP. We would feel God’s existence and be reassured that everything is under God’s control.


CCP moved to the new place, Deadra became our pastor. We are glad that our understanding of sermons seems much better than three years ago. You offered help and support to us with compassion, kindness and empathy by your prompting, conversation and phone calls.


Two years ago Dana was very depressed during her internship at ICU in UVMMC. I didn’t know how to help her. She called Deadra, Marybeth and Grayce- her skating coach. All the conversations helped her to make the right decision and be able to overcome that difficult time.


Deadra, Thank you for your spiritual leadership to CCP. Wishing you good future! GOD bless you! God be with you!