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Jackson WY priest is a newsmaker of the year

Jackson WY priest is a newsmaker of the year

The JH Weekly (Jackson, WY) has chosen the Rev. Mary Erickson, St. John’s Episcopal Church, as their Newsmaker of the Year 2012 for forming Jackson Hole United: “citizens of Jackson Hole standing for civility, compassion and love, united to protect our community and our children:”

Faced with a perceived threat, Reverend Mary Erickson was compelled to act. As a mother of two kids, she felt immediate maternal instincts to protect impressionable children from the graphic imagery used by anti-abortionists which included militant members of Operation Save America (OSA). Her day job as an assistant priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church had given her the experience she needed to rally others, to organize the fears and aspirations of a group and direct them for good. Her vocation taught her hate is always fought best with love.

376.jpgWhen OSA brought its repugnant revival to the town square during Elk Fest, its shock-and-awe campaign was met with civility, compassion, and love. Red-shirted proponents of fire and brimstone were calmed by the soothing ‘blue’ band of tight-knit locals who refused to let their town be hijacked. It was inconceivable that any one person or group could unite such a disparate clutch of citizens, yet here were 2,297 believers dedicated to a movement bigger than Facebook, each ready to pledge an allegiance to their kids and their community.

…Erickson acknowledged any inclusive group was going to have its own internal strife. There would be divisiveness. There had to be. JHU is made up of pro-lifers, pro-choicers, political lefts and rights, religious followers and the secular-minded. Each JHU member brought his or her own beliefs and baggage, and that was OK as long as members remembered the golden rule. When their emotions ran raw, when fear and hatred provoked rash rhetoric, they needed to be coaxed back on the path.

“I’ve had a lot of people tell me that [JHU] has continued to be a reminder for them to try to get back to that place of understanding and compassion for one another,” Erickson says. “The fact that this group has continued to grow shows the need in this world today for all of us to find a way to move back to a civil place when we are hurt or our emotions run high. If we can do that as a community then maybe we can have an effect globally.

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tgflux

TBTG for Rev’d. Mary Erickson’s work. Looking at the hate-filled comments on that site, may God protect her, also.

JC Fisher

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