I remember that many years ago the church I belonged to had a discussion on whether to become a Peace and Justice church. My first thought was that how could a church not be for Peace and Justice and still call themselves a church? Well, that program was not adopted and the life of the church went on as it had been, people gathered together and doing good things. If you had asked me, “Ron, do you believe in Peace and Justice for all?” I would have said, “Yes, indeed.” But, buying free trade cocoa and coffee after worship services was about the extent of my actions to promote Peace and Justice.
Chris and I were new members of this church when the congregation decided to join Sophia. Up until two years ago I never considered that I could be a part of the active Sophia participants. Those people had a higher commitment level than I and I really didn’t know how I could be able to participate and not look and feel inept. Bev Bradford invited me to a breakfast at her home that was for people wanting to know more about Sophia. I decided to try a few meetings. It took a while to get my feet on the ground and I stayed with it.
This year I showed my first public support of any issue. Ralph Schultz went to speak in front of the County Board Finance Committee in support of keeping the TIP (Treatment Instead of Prison) program in the budget and I went to the meeting to show my support for the TIP program. When Ralph went up to the microphone to speak, about thirty other Sophia members and I stood up at our seats. When Ralph was finished, we sat down. Yep, I stood up and sat down. The money for the TIP program was restored to the budget. Then I went to a public hearing on the Waukesha County Smart Growth Program to show support for putting some teeth into the Affordable Workforce Housing section of the plan. There were a few people that wanted a proposed road moved or a property zoning changed, but all of the discussion was about making affordable workforce housing a county wide reality rather than just a future goal.
I am member of the Sophia Immigration Task Force. We are planning a public forum to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will take place at Carroll University on Saturday, March 28th from 9:00 A.M. to noon. I have helped plan the event by calling Carroll to reserve the Ballroom and lining up two speakers. On January 21st Sophia had a candlelight prayer vigil at Cutler Park to demonstrate the need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. I went with about sixty other people from Sophia.
I finally found out that what I was missing in my in my support for Peace and Justice was my participation in making it happen. Also, I want to say to those of you that would like to find out more about Sophia, don’t be afraid to try. For starters, all you have to do is stand up and sit down.Peace to you, Ron Hopkins