Category Archives: Commentary

Creating a perpetual Thanksgiving Season . . .

We arrive once again at the long festive holiday season that officially begins annually with Thanksgiving. Should a National Family Holiday ever be declared it would most certainly be Thanksgiving, the one holiday that transcends race, religion, nationality and politics, as well as academic, socio-economic and all other status while drawing families and other related groups together in various ways whether through football or around one common dinner table. The more we gather indiscriminately around dinner tables or through other intimate settings the more understanding, compassion and friendship replace feelings of intolerance and indifference that otherwise tend to dominate daily conversations and subsequent routines. Continue reading Creating a perpetual Thanksgiving Season . . .

Welcome the stranger without caveats or conditions

by Rev. Tracy Howe Wispelwey
Minister of Congregational & Community Engagement

As a longtime advocate for just immigration reform, I have been following and amplifying the call for a clean Dream Act. When President Trump ended the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), 800,000 young people became vulnerable to deportation. I believe we are called to be people of justice and mercy, recognizing the violence and crisis driving the global movement of people, but I also believe the Dreamers benefit our communities and that we need them to help us make a more just and beautiful world. I want them to stay for multiple reasons. Congress must pass a legislative solution very soon for that to be possible. It is an urgent matter, which is why I recently shared an update on this issue from a young Dreamer on social media using the hashtag, #HereToStay.  Continue reading Welcome the stranger without caveats or conditions

Approaching the nations most important holiday

Again we arrive at our nation’s most important holiday as it applies to all nationalities, and religious creeds–or even those with none.

Thanksgiving is a period in time to remind all of the innumerable blessings we take for granted day by day, year after year. Ironically, the less people had in past eras, the more appreciative they were–of family, neighbors, friends and associates as well as of their crude possessions, compared to today’s high technology, inventions and ultra-conveniences. Likewise, the freer we become from the physical chains of human bondage, the more enslaved we become by our new masters of ego, selfishness, greed, envy, covertness, and other various self-destructing attitudes and habits. Continue reading Approaching the nations most important holiday

“This” Veteran’s Day

November 11, 2017: I am a veteran – retired and proud of my service to my country.

Twice in my life — at 17, when I enlisted in the United States Air Force, along with Charles Hale, and Jimmy Downs; and a few years later when I became an officer — I raised my right hand swore before God, the United States Flag and the Air Force Flag that I would defend my country from ALL enemies, Foreign and Domestic. I meant it each time despite my being a direct descendant of America’s Slave Class. If I have been relieved of this responsibility, I failed to get the memo. Continue reading “This” Veteran’s Day

Not this Tax Reform

As Congress takes up a long-promised bill to reform our federal taxes, we are once again thrust into a very loud, very confusing conversation that will undoubtedly produce more heat than light. The 429-page bill contains a few good provisions and many more that are harmful. But two key features make it unacceptably destructive of our nation and economy. Continue reading Not this Tax Reform

Birthday reflections . . .

It was a cool, damp and overcast day, I’ve been told, when I was born 90 years ago (November 7, 1927)–in Fayetteville, WV—with the assistance of a mid-wife. Further details are unavailable as my only information came from my oldest aunt–of the five girls born to my grandparents–who, as a first and second grade teacher in Kaymoor, WV (around the road from Fayetteville) was not present during the delivery but became aware of it only upon returning home from school and finding my older sister crying at the foot of the stairs. That same oldest sister never married or left home until long after both parents had passed. And upon living on that hill alone for many years, eventually agreed to come live in Roanoke with her sister (my mother, living with me) who also passed first, leaving her alpha and omega (the first and the last). Continue reading Birthday reflections . . .