Let’s Meet at the Intersection!
by Holly Hallman
Two years ago, at PEC’s Montreat conference, J. Herbert Nelson told us to get out of the room and into the streets. It sounded fabulous when he said it but I had no idea what that might look like. On the streets of Seattle, my husband and I “got it.” We walked in, and shared in, the energy of the Women’s March. It was a magical day of warm sunshine, eagles soaring over us, fresh ideas swirling around us, and a feeling of inclusion like none I’ve had before.
Hundreds of thousands of us, worldwide, were lifted to a new place by our realization that non-violent activism has power and I was furious when the pundits said it was a feel-good moment that would come to little or nothing because there were too many issues and too many voices. On January 28, on the streets of Seattle, there was no competition among issues—we were drinking in the connections we had with each other. And that is the where the power is!! ALL, every one of our issues, intersect! The intersections are the places on J. Herbert’s streets where the future waits. Intersectionality. My new favorite word.
Now, in September, PEC is meeting in the Columbia River Gorge, both in the room, by the river and by the train tracks that carry this nation’s oil to the West Coast ports. We will be with the tribes whose lives depend on that river, its fish and its waters. We will stare into the facts of the Doctrine of Discovery, walk the labyrinth, hike the trails, hear Dr. Barbara Rossing explicate Revelation and its messages about our care for the earth. Paul Galbreath and the worship team are using the intersections of 2+ cultures to create worship that is about this place and time in Oregon. The Strathdees, our musicians, are legendary for respecting and learning from the music they have heard and learned from the tribes. Oregon’s 8th Poet Laureate, Elizabeth Woody, will be at Celilo Falls to tell us hard things with beautiful words. Her very life intersects the indigenous and European cultures.
If you come, and you must come, we will work with you (if you will allow us to do so) to prepare you in advance for this experience. We want you to bring your own watershed stories and to know something of the tribal culture that lives under the foundation of your home, business and church. We who live in this country, indigenous or otherwise are part of this story.
I’ll meet you at the intersection of Sacred Stories and Reconciliation!
Rev. Holly Hallman, retired hospice chaplain, hopes she will not have to be a hospice chaplain for all the critters, watersheds and people who live in and love the Northwest. She and her husband, Fred, are waiting to meet you at Menucha!
 Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson was then Director of the Office of Public Witness. He is now the Stated Clerk of the PC(USA) General Assembly.
 Rev. Dr. Paul Galbreath is a professor of theology at Union Presbyterian Seminary.