“Peggy C is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting,” said a recent email to Helen Lund, member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in San Jose. The invite provided the online discussion link along with the title of the study book by Peter Kalmus, “Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution.”
After their pastor, Rev. Jennifer Goto asked them, Lund along with church librarian, Sue Dunbar, joined the San Jose State University book discussion group as an opportunity to recognize the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
“We were invited into the conversation by one of the San Jose State librarians,” said Goto whose church’s Earth Day celebration in collaboration with students from the university at O’Donnell’s Garden Park had been cancelled due to the pandemic.
“We have an ongoing student ministry. Saint Paul’s has been connected with San Jose State … always,” said Lund, noting that the church is located across the street from the University and intentionally extends ministries to the campus. “I saw this book study as another way to connect with students—to reach out; and, of being a part of my alma mater, part of a larger view…”
The discussion is hosted by Peggy Cabrera, English, Environmental Studies, Linguistics, Urban Planning & World Languages Library Liaison at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, who secured a grant for the books, guest speakers and a group environmental project. The discussion concludes May 28.
“It was a real mind opener and made me very, very acutely aware of what I’m doing,” said Dunbar who attended sessions on campus before the shelter in place restrictions and now regularly participates in bi-monthly Zoom sessions online instead. “The things I thought did not matter at all, matter hugely!”
“We started by studying personal care, meditation and mindfulness, in chapter 11, as a foundation of change,” said Lund noting that the Cabrera did not start with the first chapters. The beginning of the book covers chapters on what the author calls, “The Predicament.”
“I’ve been grieving a lot during this time…” added Lund who, typically active as UMW chair, subbing as a retired teacher and constantly engaging in mission endeavors, is at home pulling weeds, checking on neighbors and thinking about the environment and economy. “These eight weeks have taken me away from all my responsibilities…and [the book] has taken me places mentally that I’ve understood throughout these years. The bare facts—staring at them makes you emotional.”
“Coming out of my funk as we come out [of sheltering in place] things won’t be normal,” Lund said, considering restarting her organic garden by opening it to the public. She worries about the legacy we are leaving to the children of the world. “To find the willingness, after reading this book, to say: ‘We can continue to fight!’ …yeah. Yeah, we can.”