Update on Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares

25 December 2002

From: Bill Sulzman


Dear Everyone,
 
I had hoped to include a picture from the vigil on Sunday Dec 22 outside the Georgetown jail with this update, but will have to send that later.  There were 16 of us at the Post Office just across the street from the jail.  It was a sunny day but very cold as befits a location more than 9,000 feet above sea level.  Good energy for the service and the sharing time.  We were pleasantly surprised by the generally friendly response from passersby.  Later we found out one of the reasons for that.  Everyone present signed the solidarity pledge and several took copies home to get more signatures. 
 

Sister Barbara Huber and I waited around for a visit with Ardeth and Carol.  Jackie had had an interview the day before with Rebecca Shardy , a journalist who had done a major story on the sisters 2 years ago.  Thus she was not able to join our visit.  She popped in for a brief greeting.  Looks fine.  Carol and Ardeth were their usual upbeat selves.

 
Some information from the visit.
  • All the women were moved three times last week.  They were told that a major influx of female prisoners was coming so that they had to be moved to one of the two male wards.  They found it to be larger but very dirty, so naturally they cleaned it.  Then they were moved to the other male ward and promptly cleaned that one too.  Then it was back "home" with the explanation that the planned move was off.  After all was over jail staff dubbed them the "merry maids". 
  • Lynne Butler pastor of the local Methodist/Presbyterian church(it is a small town)  has taken up the cause and collected signatures of support from her congregation and also gone door to door in the town to collect even more!!  This is a work still in progress.  Lynne knew nothing of the 49 missiles in Colorado or of the nefarious plans of the U.S. Space Command.  She is taking the crash course and I sent her a big packet of materials.  So if all goes right Methodists and Presbyterians all over the state will be joining the ground swell demanding nuclear disarmament.  (All right it is the Christmas season so a little hyperbole is to be expected.)
  • Scott Poland has been assigned to Ardeth as advisory counsel.  He is the same lawyer who assisted Daniel Sicken during his 1999 Plowshares trial.  A conscientious lawyer but not a leftist or pacifist by any means.  Ardeth has not yet met him but I think she'll be pleased.
  • They continue to get mail from all over the country and all over the world.  Solidarity statements have gone over the 100 mark and continue to come in.  They told us to expect a big out of town contingent at the trial.  We have started to do some inquiries on places to stay. 
  • The witness of Ardeth, Carol and Jackie is hard to explain but it is very powerful.  The local parish priest and the previously mentioned minister are just two examples of persons immediately affected.  On the other hand the local Catholic Church hierarchy is totally silent at this point. 
  • It was difficult for them to endure their grieving for Phil Berrigan within the walls of the jail but they are confident that everyone understands why that had to be so. 
 
That's all for now.  As we have more information we'll pass it on.  We repeat the jail address for those who need it:

 

Clear Creek County Jail
P.O. Box 518
Georgetown, CO 80444
 

( Other reports on 3 ploughshares nuns here )



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