Your old keys can help honor priest

Neighbors

September 01, 1998|By Natalie Harvey | Natalie Harvey,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ALMOST EVERYONE has a bunch of unidentified keys lying around whose use has long since disappeared into the mists of memory: old car keys, an apartment key from college housing, an office key from three jobs ago, etc.

The Rev. William Hayman, pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Living Word, can put those keys to good use.

Hayman recently returned from a trip to Las Esperanza, Guatemala, where he visited Dick and Barbara Fenske, who work with UPAVIM -- the Spanish acronym for a group called United for a Better Life.

Dick Fenske is a former pastor of Lutheran Church of the Living Word, and Barbara is a registered nurse.

Their work with residents at the UPAVIM supports a health clinic, child care center and craft center where the women create crafts reflecting their culture that are sold to supplement their limited incomes and in turn help support the community.

Hayman's trip was in his words, "a continuing education journey to learn more about Third World culture. But, I learned far more. I saw poverty that can not be imagined. I saw people struggling to survive. I saw hope."

He is asking his parishioners and the public to collect those unused keys and bring them to Oakland Mills Interfaith Center. They will be sent to Guatemala to be melted down for metal to construct a monument to the martyred Monsignor Juan Jose Gerardi.

Gerardi, a native of Guatemala, was known for his work with the native people. While bishop of El Quiche, he was outspoken about human rights violations suffered by the population. Political and military pressure forced him to close the diocese in 1980. He also survived an attempt on his life that year.

Two years later, threats forced him to flee the country, a departure that turned into exile when Guatemalan authorities refused him entry into his native country.

He returned in 1984 as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Guatemala. He eventually became head of the Guatemala City Archdiocese's human rights office.

On April 24, he presented his report, "Guatemala: Nunca Mas" -- Never Again -- to the Guatemalan Episcopal Conference at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Guatemala City. It blamed the army and its paramilitaries for nearly 80 percent of the 150,000 deaths and 50,000 disappearances the report tallied over three decades of civil war.

It was supposed to be a message of reconciliation since, in late 1996, the government and revolutionary guerrilla forces had signed a peace accord.

But two days later, the Monsignor was attacked and killed. Though the motive remains unclear -- a fellow priest is under arrest -- Gerardi's assassination was the highest level murder in the history of the Catholic Church in Guatemala and struck a blow to the peace process.

His death affected Guatemalans of every religion. Funds are being sought to build a monument to this very special man who cared so much for his people.

Your keys can be a means for his countrymen and the churches to honor his memory. Deposit them in the "key" box in the lobby of Oakland Mills Interfaith Center. Information: 410-730-1970.

Organizations or individuals interested in assisting the Guatemalan women by selling their crafts may call 301-515-5911.

Scout sign-up

Parents of boys interested in becoming Cub Scouts or Webelos may bring their sons to the following elementary schools to register and meet den leaders.

Boy Scouts of America District Coordinators Pat Monihan, Drew Mrenna and Jim Dooley will be at the schools to answer questions and discuss BSA programs and goals for the boys. Meeting times vary. Call for times and information.

Sept. 8, Randy Miller, Talbott Springs, 410-381-3260; Sept. 8, Carlton Haywood, Stevens Forest, 410-964-0825; Sept. 10, Joann Allen, Dasher Green, 410-381-0856; Sept. 10, Jeff Jordan, Thunder Hill, 410-730-7378; Sept. 15, Thomas Kincaid, Columbia Academy, 410-799-0645.

Three opportunities for information and registration will be available Sept. 17: Charles Franklin, Phelps Luck, 410-997-9138; Kem White, Waterloo, 410-796-4427, and Paul Cohen, Jeffers Hill, 410-964-3627.

Boys and their parents may attend any of the meetings; they will then be assigned to a group convenient for them.

Cheer camp

Oakland Mills High's Cheer Coach Robin Page reports that the summer cheer camp was especially memorable for her team members.

Seniors Naomi Sandler and Nicole Thomas received applications from the National Cheerleaders Association staff to try out for next summer's camp staff.

This is second only to being a part of the NCA All-American Team and is the highest individual honor a camper can receive.

Three hundred cheerleaders participated in last month's camp. So, it is a credit to the team that they won many awards.

NCA All-American Team winners were: Varsity seniors Sandler and Keisha Shepherd, juniors Kaija Lammons and Emily Pieplow, sophomore Gayna Holcomb, and junior varsity freshman Cortnie Hutchinson.

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