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Cherith Brook Catholic Worker receives Cheatum Award

Jodi Garbison, left, and Eric Garbison thank PeaceWorks for the award for Cherith Brook Catholic Worker.–Photo by Jim Hannah

PeaceWorks’ annual Kris and Lynn Cheatum Community Peace Award went this year to Cherith Brook Catholic Worker, a center of community and compassion in KC MO. During the PeaceWorks Annual Meeting, Joseph Wun, of the PeaceWorks Board and of Jerusalem Farm in KC, paid this tribute to CBCW and its founders and community members, Jodi and Eric Garbison.

The Cherith Brook Catholic Worker is a community of humans who seek to recover relationship, to live and struggle, in mutual recognition, the works of mercy. Its members are crafters of new creation, of beloved community. As they express at a morning orientation and training for new volunteers, it is not a philanthropic organization. It is not a charity. It is the work of resistance, the work of obedience to the Gospel that calls for radical—root-level, rooted, down in the dirt—hospitality. Three times a week, CBCW hosts friends, many of whom experience that vicious condition of American poverty we term homelessness. At CBCW, guests may shower, find a clean pair of clothes, and share at table a meal, a sit-down meal, a place to rest and to be served. It is a place to see, to know, to believe, as Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, noted, that we know God by the breaking of bread, and we know each other by the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore. Which is to say, we know mercy, we know compassion, we know peace, by the breaking of bread, and know each other by the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore.

So believe and be the community we recognize here today for their ardent example of peace works. Awards can be tricky, recognition risky; Dorothy Day knew this, resisted the notion that she could be termed a saint for her life’s work. For she did not want to be dismissed. Know, then, that today, this moment is not a dismissal. It is, at once, an affirmation and a charge to continued growth and instruction. So here, now, and ever more, may we commend your devotion to the works of mercy, and may you continue to proceed, with humility and humor, in faith, hope, and love.

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