Chapel Council elects new officers

The Chapel of St. Philip Council met on Feb. 6 for the annual meeting required to pass the budget and to elect officers for the year.

The 2020 budget calls for a monthly income of $420 to meet basic needs. Donations are necessary, as we have no other source of income.

The Chapel Council expressed gratitude and appreciation to Brian and Gina Hommrich, who have moved to Alabama. They will be missed!

The council welcomes three new members: Tom Jones, Ann Walsh and Charlie Walsh.

Council officers for the new year are: Charlie Walsh, president; Jerry Ennis, vice president; Bill Walsh, treasurer; and Nora Kute, secretary.

The Chapel Council discussed several major and challenging new ideas for future years, and agreed to meet two or three times later in 2020.

JustFaith Ministries: New program aims to cultivate nonviolence

50 Years Later!

April 4, 2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination. Half a century!

For this occasion, many organizations, churches, political leaders and communities will organize special events and many public figures are already participating in this commemoration.

What is it that we commemorate? I can see at least three major achievements:

1. An extraordinary moment in American history, where people seeking justice for the poorest and the most vulnerable among us came together.

2. The power of nonviolence brought to this land by the charismatic words and deeds of Dr. King and his acolytes.

3. The persistence of a people who suffered from discrimination, oppression and violence and stood up for their rights.

In his pastoral letter dedicated to the life and legacy of Dr. King, Archbishop William Lori calls us to the ongoing pursuit of justice through nonviolence:

Not to be ignored are conditions that create despair and spawn violence in our neighborhoods: lack of education, unemployment, a dearth of decent and affordable housing, a proliferation of illegal weapons, drug abuse and gangs, the disintegration of the family, homelessness, and so much more.

These deep and systemic problems do violence to the dignity of real human beings created in the image and likeness of God. Even worse is the tendency on the parts of many who see continued decline as inevitable and who react to these harsh realities with indifference or jaded cynicism. In this stark environment, Dr. King’s principles of nonviolence are more necessary than ever: They are prophetic words of hope that can light the path forward.

All of us need to walk this path of nonviolent hope.

According to Archbishop Lori, reviving Dr. King’s principles of nonviolence is the way forward. We are facing violence in our communities, in our society and in our nation. In the current debate about gun control, violence is often met with more violence: more guns, more armed officers and security guards, more metal detectors, more trainings to learn how to shoot. We are living in a time when violence is spiraling and escalating and when the only response to violent acts is found in counter-violence.

Walking the “path of nonviolent hope” requires new tools and alternative ways of thinking. It takes time and patience and support from each other. Many among us have experienced violence in very real ways: the immigrant community threatened every day by denunciation and deportation; people of color who are often left out by our system and victims of attacks; the poor and the elderly who are losing health care and a social safety net. We all need to address those forms of violence.

JustFaith Ministries seeks to be part of the revival of Dr. King’s principles of nonviolence; for that purpose, we just released a new program that allows participants to learn more about  nonviolence and develop strategies to practice it in their own communities and their own lives.

“Cultivating Nonviolence, Harvesting Peace” is an 8-week module that invites participants to enter the stories of those who address violence using nonviolent means and to align ourselves with those whose lives are dedicated to creating alternative structures and systems. At the same time, this module invites participants to a journey of faith, one that places the Christian vision of the reign of God — in all its manifestations — at the center of our concerns. St Francis’ prayer serves as a refrain throughout the process:

Lord, make me an instrument
of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

If you are interested in bringing this conversation and experiment to your community, visit us online. As Easter approaches, may we all meet on the path of hope!

The Staff at JustFaith Ministries

An immigrant at 12, her future hinges on DACA

The is a first-hand account of one young woman’s struggle as an immigrant in the United States.

I came to the USA when I was 12 years old. I have been here for 12 years now. And in 2012 DACA became available, granting me the opportunity to apply and become a “DACAmented” student and worker. (DACA refers to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides certain young immigrants a temporary  reprieve from deportation and permission to work.)

At the age of 9, I was given the task to take care of my younger brother and sister back in our homeland while my mother made her way across the desert to meet with my father who had been here long before that. She didn’t have the strength to say goodbye. So she sneaked out late at night and made her way here.

During that time, we only got a phone call a week with specific instructions, chores and how to take care of each other. I was a small adult who would follow as told with the solid purpose that we would someday be reunited.

We were apart for 3 years.

At age 12, I developed an identity crisis. I was no longer the fake parent to my siblings, but a teenager with an anger problem in middle school, learning as fast as possible.

Being in the academic system in America was simple. Our task was to go to class, listen attentively, learn the language, learn the culture and go back home to teach our parents. I had to watch my brother and sister grow and lead a new life, and, at the same time watch my parents being humiliated and discriminated against. I quickly became a translator, a complainer and a debater for my father and mother.

Following tasks was easy; I had  a purpose, I had the tools, the  values and I was  standing in the land  of  the  free. Until I  learned about my label: “Illegal  Alien.”

At  home, everyone’s day begins  at 5 a.m. Shame on you if you are  still in bed by 5:30. Everyone’s  day ends around 8 p.m., except for my  father, who is lucky if he’s home by  10 p.m. It’s no different from having  been in separate countries.

I got a job at 15, my parents bought a home and we moved out of a one bedroom apartment at last.  I applied for college and started a second job. Still  illegal, still  from  another world.

DACA came  along. There was  hope. I got a better job and a second one to help my parents after  my mom was fired when they  found out her immigration status.  Somehow, no matter how much I  did, people continued to treat me  like the sign I carried in my head:  DACAmented Alien.

I became scared of the lengths people would go to in order to make me feel inferior and keep  my family and me in a modern slave circle, like rats in a lab with a piece  of cheese hanging from a very thin  thread.

I stand here as a survivor of those fears — the fear of not being  enough,  the  fear  of  not  being worthy. The same fear that led me  to believe that the purpose of my life was to prove that I was human  enough and that I was deserving  enough of  a fair chance to a better education and a better life for  me and my family. And  it  was  not  something that I could ever understand — why I needed to prove  something that was common sense  among all human beings.

After the words of hate had cut  me, the humiliation of my father and mother had affected me and  the actions of racism blinded by  ignorance had hurt me, I finally  gathered the strength to ask my  father the question everyone at  school and everywhere I went had  asked me: What are you doing  here? Why did you come here?

My father looked at me as if I  had insulted him, as if I was ungrateful.

He explained that he had been  given the task of survival, that his intention was never to flee his land.  But that to be heard, people will  ask you what you do for a living  so they can calculate the amount  of respect (respect  grants  you  a  voice) they will give you. That being poor in a country corrupted,  where they are fighting a fight against gang  members, violence  and other crimes a poor person  doesn’t stand a chance. That wasn’t  our fight. That fight was between people that were greedy, that just  wanted power. My father had no  other choice than to leave and keep  us safe.

He said that the way we could  fight that fight was to come to another land where opportunity and  dreams were a thing. We were  going to get educated, prepare, work  hard and someday we would  go back and claim our chance to  express ourselves and make a  difference. Sometimes hunger becomes  the fuel for dreams.

My father calls that the fight  with the white (clean) gloves. Because our dreams were NOT going to be built at the expense of others  lives. The fight in our country and  between countries was not meant  to be with guns or knives, but that  they had made that choice. And I believe that my parent’s words are  true. That we are all fighting what we chose.

Our own fights, our beliefs  and  even the hate that you sometimes  carry in your heart is ours, created by ideas and perceptions of  imaginary borders that our leaders who  have bought, not  earned, respect  abused their voices and used them  to create fear upon us. As a result,  we have dehumanized one another  and forgotten that we are people  and that we are all the same.

My father’s task was survival, my  task now is to search for purpose,  meaning and fulfillment of my dreams. What a luxury of mine.

It’s hard to build a set future with  an uncertain status. Watching  DACA getting juggled around like   it wasn’t my reality and the reality  of others, but a luxury to at least have a tiny choice. It’s even harder  to build a future with NO status,   not knowing if you will get a call that your parents are detained  and getting ready to be shipped back to a place they were  forced to leave.  Watching the little that you have  EARNED being taken away like  nothing and have NO choice.

There is no bigger struggle than  meeting your parents’ expectations. Not the part of earning your goals; anyone determined enough can do  that. But the part of doing so never at the EXPENSE of others.

I sit here and watch the rest build  their goals at the expense of my father’s work. At the expense  of traumatizing children as  they come home to no parents, at the expense  of people dying crossing borders.

No it is not that they are better. It’s privilege. No one got a choice  to be born where they decided. We  got what was given. But it doesn’t  mean that it has to remain that way.    It is time that people take responsibility for the massacres of  people throughout history caused by who  WE CHOOSE to respect and give  a  voice to.

I hope that all of us get a chance  to look the next generation of  children in the eyes the same way  I look at my father and say that we  stood for the values of a land  founded on the sweat and hard  work of yours and my ancestors. ANCESTORS  that  had  decided  that the world was ONE to explore,  one to build, to grow, to share and  to love. To LOVE people, ALL  PEOPLE. A land that gave anyone the right to dream, where hate,  labels,  colors  were  forgotten. That the last war was the one  we ended. And to be proud of the  America that we watched flourish.

I am a DACAmented student  and worker; I  am a Mexican; I am  an American. I am the daughter of fighters,  the  mentee  of  strong  women. I am a human, a believer  in fairness, kindness and love. A  believer of dreams. The dreams  of my parents: The  ORIGINAL  DREAMERS.

CLEAN  DREAM  ACT  NOW.  Thank  you.

Cure for loneliness

Many of us are lonely. Even when we count a thousand friends on Facebook, we are lonely. Modern culture, based upon materialism and individualism, produces and encourages isolation.

What we need most in our lives is a sense of community, which is extremely difficult to cultivate and maintain.

The Chapel of St. Philip, its campus inhabitants and all the programs that happen here can be a cure for loneliness. We have been striving for more than 20 years to provide a place of welcome and accompaniment, where all sorts of people care for one another.

Take a look through the pages of this newsletter and consider where you might find community.

We have a Tuesday night book group for bookworms and scholars. Coming soon is an art exhibit featuring depictions of the Annunciation and a communal praying of the Stations of the Cross.

For those who deal with addiction, there are multiple NA meetings at The Chapel each week. La Casita Center, which offers empowerment and support to immigrant families, is constantly buzzing with activities.

JustFaith Ministries offers an array of Gospel-centered programs. And the Casa Latina welcomes everyone to a potluck dinner nearly every Thursday of the year. Join us!

Celebrating the feast of the Annunciation at The Chapel

From the beginning in 1997, The Chapel has celebrated the solemnity of the Annunciation in memory of our founding father, Vernon Robertson.

Father Robertson left The Chapel his large collection of art depicting the great mystery when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary in Nazareth, announcing that she had been chosen to bear a son, Jesus, the Christ (Luke 1:26-38 ).

This year, because the usual day for this celebration (March 25) falls on Palm Sunday, the Annunciation has been moved to Monday, April 9. The Chapel Gallery will exhibit Father Robertson’s collection that weekend. On April 8, the eve of the feast day, The Chapel will open at 6 p.m. for anyone who would like to visit.

Last spring, 2017, we celebrated 20 years as The Chapel of St. Philip in grand style. This year will be less grand, but come anyway.

20th anniversary celebration

We managed to capture some of those who attended the Chapel of St. Philip’s 20th anniversary celebration in this large group photo.

More than 75 people connected to the Chapel of St. Philip gathered on March 26 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Chapel’s establishment as a campus where all people of good will can gather, non-profits can flourish and communities are formed. Our celebration included good food and better company. Thank you to those who attended and made the celebration memorable.

At any given time, you can find here a hot supper during our Thursday potluck dinners, educational offerings, a book group, art exhibits and hospitality. We welcome one and all to consider joining us in one of our many endeavors.

La Casita Center: Families and children are welcome here

Children connected to La Casita Center took part in La Casita’s Summer Brunch/Desayuno en Casita. It was an excellent success – thank you to all of our volunteers, friends and donors who help make our organization accessible to the community.

There are so many things happening at La Casita Center, located on the Magnolia Avenue side of the campus. Following is a listing of our activities, which center mainly on families and children:

We are in the second month of hosting weekly legal clinics and are thankful for the support of many volunteer attorneys and interpreters. Through this free service, families are able to get professional guidance around issues of family law, immigration law, etc. Appointments must be made in advance.

Clinics are held every Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and address immigration cases, power of attorney and family cases. An appointment is necessary. Please call 502-322-4036.

The “Escuelita de La Casita” is a program in partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools designed for preschoolers ages 3, 4, and 5 to help prepare them for kindergarten. We are so honored to have dedicated volunteers and engaging parents who help advance the young community.

La Casita is also accepting donations of school supplies and other items our families need. Donations may be dropped off at La Casita, 223 E. Magnolia Avenue in Old Louisville Monday through Thurdsday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

JustFaith Ministries: Finding Sacred Space

By Jane Walsh

On a Friday morning in mid-July, JustFaith Ministries (JFM) welcomed visitors to our front room on Woodbine Street at the St. Philip Campus. We were a group about the average size of a JFM program group and we met in much the same way JFM groups meet; in a circle, with small table in the center, seeking to understand each other and how we are called to respond to the world. For 17 years, JFM has been creating programs that gather small groups all across the country for deep exploration of the Gospel call in the world today. Our gathering in July felt like a little snapshot of JFM’s work.

For several months, JFM staff have been learning about the work of Foods Resource Bank (FRB), a national non-profit that raises money to help people in developing countries grow their own food. We have been encouraged to learn that FRB organizes 200 U.S. growing projects every year. These growing projects involve a farmer or farming community dedicating the income from a crop or acreage to help farmers in other parts of the world. These projects engage rural and urban churches, organizations, and other volunteers, who raise over $3 million to support 50 to 60 programs overseas. FRB works through a network of 16 member organizations — one of which is Church World Services.

As a result of our growing relationship, FRB’s Associate Director of Growing Projects and Latin American Programs, Alex Morse, brought two staff from Church World Services to us to talk about their work in Haiti. Margot de Greef and Rony Janvier told us about life in Haiti after the hurricane, cholera epidemic, and earthquake. They talked about the challenges of living in a country without roads that can bring food to market, making it difficult for Haitians to earn a living. They helped us think about the challenges of living in a country where only 15% of schools are public schools, and education is out of reach for many. We spoke together about life in a country that was once the most productive colony of the French, and for hundreds of years has been stripped of resources in order to benefit wealthier people and countries. Margot and Rony talked about the impact growing projects in the US have on the ability of small farmers to produce food and a living in Haiti. They talked about their love for their work and for the people of Haiti.

This small gathering on a Friday in July re-enforces for me the value of the St. Philip’s campus — a “sacred space in an urban place.” Our circle at JFM was enriched by our neighbors at the Casa, Felix and Maria, who brought to the conversation their experiences living in Cuba, Venezuela, and Spain. Bill and Alice — long time members of this community — also joined us. Together, in a small group, we represented five countries and more than five languages and dialects. We were urban and rural people, people who lived in comfort, and people who struggled for shelter. We had every reason to be separate from each other — and the immense good fortune to instead be together with our hearts and minds focused on the struggles of the people of Haiti.

Jane Walsh is executive director of JustFaith. For more information about JustFaith Ministries, visit

You can learn more about Church World Service and their work in Haiti at

You can learn more about Foods Resource Bank at


Tuesday night reading group at the Chapel

By Bill Walsh
Starting way back in 1999, a small group has been meeting in the office/library of the Chapel almost every Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

There are usually between five and 10 of us, with new people joining and others moving on from time to time. Only my wife, Alice, and I have been there from the beginning. The discussion focuses (mostly) on something we are all reading, but like the participants, the texts under discussion have varied a great deal through the years.

In the beginning we started as a Bible study group. We read and discussed various books of the Bible with the professional help of the Rev. David Searfoss, a retired pastor. David, his wife Murial and often their daughter met with us for over 10 years.

When David decided it was time to “retire again,” we were happy to welcome as leader our neighbor Dale Tucker. Dale, a Southern Baptist Seminary graduate with deep family roots in Bible study, helped us stay focused on Scripture for another three years or so.

When the Tuckers moved to Chicago in 2013, several of us decided to continue meeting each week, but as we had no leader trained in Scripture, we would shift our study to American literature. (Maybe because I had been a literature teacher in a previous life.)

We started with American fiction from the early 20th century and tried to stick with “classic” American novels, proceeding from decade to decade until the 1970s.

A year or so ago, we began expanding our focus — reading and discussing other sorts of books, as well as American, Russian, Brazilian, Colombian, Nigerian fiction plus non fiction, poems, plays, whatever seemed to inspire one of us at a particular time.

Our more recent book choices would give you a good idea of where we are at this point.
In 2017, our reading has included Samuel Beckett’s play “Endgame,” followed by Christopher Lasch’s analysis of “progress” in a book called “The True and Only Heaven.” From there, we took up Douglas Hofsteader’s “Gödel, Escher, Bach.”

Hofsteaer’s book was, frankly, pretty overwhelming — 750 pages and mostly very esoteric. Most of us didn’t finish it; we were, however, inspired by the parts that focused on J.S. Bach, so we decided to go onto Paul Elie’s recent book, “Reinventing Bach.”

We’ll probably be finishing up with this book about the time this issue of the Chapel News gets to you.
We would love to have two or three more people join us. We know ours is not a typical book group, but we hope some might want to give our Tuesday nights a try.
Keep the Chapel Weird!

Called to Create art show planned

“Called to Create,” a group of Kentucky and Ohio visual artists, will mount an exhibition of their work in the Chapel in early October.

The opening reception will be Friday, Oct. 6, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Chapel will be open and artists will be present from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 7.

Based on the writings of St. John Paul II on beauty in culture, the artists chose “Divine Spark” as the theme for their show. Participating artists include Laura Kline, Pam Hamilton, Jan Halsmer, Aileen Delgado, Lea Ann Luce, Kim Catalina, Wendy Fleury, Lucille Smith and Debbie Bird.

The group also hopes to include an artist’s competition for students as part of their show.
For more information, call the Chapel at 635-7073. If no one answers, please leave a message.