By now many of you have likely heard on the news of Ron Chew’s death this past Tuesday. At the time of his passing, Ron was 78, and while hampered by myriad health issues, he was a passionate advocate of many peace and social justice causes. Trained as an economist, he turned against a type and worked against “laissez-faire” capitalism, arguing instead for a more humane and just economic system than we what we live in at the moment. Active in Veterans for Peace, both on the local and national levels, he was also a near-constant figure at protests across the city during the height of the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I could count on seeing him-in even extreme weather–waving his anti-war placards as I drove off the Austin Boulevard exit ramp at the Eisenhower Expressway. Ron and his friends at TUC and elsewhere seemed then like lonely sentinels against increasing militarism throughout the course of the Bush Administration. But public opinion, witnessed in part through the election of Barack Obama, turned in their direction by the end of the decade. At TUC, he was active in the Social Action, Forums and Austin Scholarship Committees, playing pivotal roles in each for many years. This is a great loss for Third, for his family, and for the progressive community in the Midwest, and what we know at the moment is that we’ll hold a memorial service at TUC by the end of June. In the meantime, send Karla and her family all the love you can generate…
Meanwhile, it’s RE Sunday at Third this weekend, and RE Director Kate Wilford will lead a ceremony recognizing our many RE volunteers in the middle of the service. We’ll also be graced by the presence of Dr. Victoria Holland, an operatic soprano and member of the music faculty of Loyola University here in the city, as she offers three pieces during the program. If you haven’t heard Dr. Williams sing, you’re in for a treat!
The pictures below are of Connie Toebe, our Office Administrator, as she sits on the stump of what used to be the large mulberry tree right outside the Sanctuary windows. The tree was removed to allow for landscaping improvements on the south grounds of the campus, and more work on this area will continue next week. The other two pictures from First Unitarian Church in New Orleans are from Dr. Dan Covell as he works with students from Massachusetts this week on continuing clean-up efforts in the aftermath–some six years later–of Hurricane Katrina.
See you in church!