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Unitarian-Universalist Ministers' Letter on St. Patrick's Peace Parade

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February 2012

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing now to invite you and your parishioners to join us in supporting the Second Annual Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade: the Alternative Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice. The Parade will be on Sunday, March 18, 2012, starting at 2 p.m. in South Boston (see attached flyer and parade route for details). As we approach eleven years of US war in Afghanistan and as the threat of conflict with Iran looms, we believe that a march for peace is timely—as is a march for equality, jobs, and justice!

This year, once again, the Allied War Veterans Council denied the Veterans For Peace (VFP) request to join in the “official” Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston. Last year, the Allied War Veterans Council’s reason for denying the Veterans For Peace request was that they “did not want the word ‘peace’ associated with the word ‘veteran’”. In just three weeks time in 2011, VFP pulled their own permit and had the first Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, which had 500 participants; it was a huge success, garnering front page coverage and editorial articles in all of the major newspapers as well as numerous radio and television reports. The parade included various local peace groups, a marching band, labor groups, and a modest contingent of religious groups and congregations (including some Unitarian Universalists). Perhaps most poignant, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) organization “Join the Impact” joined in the peace parade; VFP invited them specifically knowing that 17 years ago, GLBT groups were also denied the chance to march in the “official” parade by the Allied War Veterans Council. In fact, GLBT groups were the first ones that VFP reached out to and invited. (In spite of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, the Council still does not allow GLBT groups to march in its “official” parade. This year, Join the Impact requested to join the “official” parade and was also denied.)

This year, Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade organizers anticipate 2,000 people marching, including multiple marching bands; peace groups; social justice organizations; a labor contingent; an “Occupy Everywhere” contingent. Organizers hope that there will be floats. And most of all, we hope that this year there will be a large religious contingent. As last year, we will step off a mile behind the “official” parade. Though our official start time is 2 p.m., it is likely that we will step off closer to 2:30 p.m. The parade route is just short of 3 miles; last year it took about 1 ½ or 2 hours to march. There will be a Duck Boat and trolley available for those unable to walk the distance of the parade. We will start at the Broadway MBTA station and end at the Andrew MBTA station (see in the attached parade route).

All we need is for you to join us in standing on the side of love. Please join us if you are able, encouraging parishioners to participate, and bringing a banner from your congregation, Standing on the Side of Love signs, and messages of peace, inclusivity, equality, and justice. Please post the attached flyer and announce the parade in your congregation’s newsletter, bulletins, and more. If you or a group from your congregation plans to join us or if you have any questions, please let us know. Contact either Patrick Scanlon (Coordinator of the local VFP chapter and member of North Parish in North Andover) at 978-475-1776 or; or Rev. Lara Hoke (Secretary of the local VFP chapter and minister of the UU Congregation in Andover) at 508-615-1686 or

In faith and peace,

Rev. Harold Babcock
First Religious Society (Unitarian Universalist), Newburyport

Rev. Wendy L. Bell
Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church

Rev. Lee Bluemel
North Parish (Unitarian Universalist), North Andover

Rev. Terry Burke
First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist

Rev. Frank Clarkson
Universalist Unitarian Church of Haverhill

Dr. Charlie Clements
Former President and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie
Arlington Street Church (Unitarian Universalist), Boston

Rev. John Gibbons
First Parish in Bedford, Unitarian Universalist

Rev. M. Lara Hoke
Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover

Rev. Arthur Lavoie
First Parish Church in Dorchester, Unitarian Universalist

Rev. Jason Lydon
Community Church of Boston, Unitarian Universalist

Rev. Art McDonald
First Universalist (Unitarian Universalist) Church of Essex

Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz
President and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Rev. Catherine Senghas
Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry

Rev. Fred Small
First Parish in Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist

Rev. Erin Splaine
First Unitarian Society in Newton

Rev. Bruce C. Taylor
First Parish Church (Unitarian Universalist), Billerica

Rev. Steve Wilson
All Souls Church of Braintree, Unitarian Universalist