‘Nuns on the Bus’ stop at UMC in LR

Jack Derden, age 10, of First UMC Conway, adds his signature to the side of the bus carrying a group of nuns representing NETWORK: A Catholic Social Justice Lobby. Jack’s signature represented his commitment to reach out to elected representatives with his concerns as he learns to exercise his rights in the political process. NETWORK’s “Nuns on the Bus” made stops in Fayetteville and Little Rock on Sept. 13. PHOTO BY J.J. WHITNEY

Jack Derden, age 10, of First UMC Conway, adds his signature to the side of the bus carrying a group of nuns representing NETWORK: A Catholic Social Justice Lobby. Jack’s signature represented his commitment to reach out to elected representatives with his concerns as he learns to exercise his rights in the political process. NETWORK’s “Nuns on the Bus” made stops in Fayetteville and Little Rock on Sept. 13.
PHOTO BY J.J. WHITNEY

By Amy Forbus
Editor

NETWORK’s “Nuns on the Bus” campaign on Sept. 13 made two stops in Arkansas for town hall meetings focused on identifying societal problems and finding ways to move forward for the common good.

NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, is a more than 40-year-old organization centered on justice and peace. Its first “Nuns on the Bus” tour took place in the summer of 2012, when a group of nuns made stops in nine states to protest proposed cuts to federal safety-net spending, highlighting the potential effects on individuals and families. Subsequent tours have focused on immigration reform, participation in the electoral process and, this year, with the theme “Bridge the Divides, Transform Politics,” listening to stories of everyday injustices with the hope of developing solutions.

Led by Sister Simone Campbell, the nuns planned a 33-event tour, including one town hall meeting in Fayetteville at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and another at First UMC Little Rock.

Bishop Gary E. Mueller was invited to address the Little Rock meeting, and a number of United Methodists—including some associated with Better Community Development (BCD) Inc., a non-profit that originated as a ministry of Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church—were on hand to discuss matters of injustice affecting the Little Rock area.

The nuns visited BCD’s EmPowerment Center the following day, continuing the discussion with BCD staff members, with Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and some members of the City Board of Directors present.

The nuns stopped in seven states, then made their way to Washington, D.C., to share with congressional officials some of the stories they’ve heard. Their time in the nation’s capital overlapped with Pope Francis’ first visit to the U.S.

Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, looks on as Bishop Gary Mueller greets those who attended the “Nuns on the Bus” gathering hosted by First UMC Little Rock. PHOTOS BY J.J. WHITNEY

Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, looks on as Bishop Gary Mueller greets those who attended the “Nuns on the Bus” gathering hosted by First UMC Little Rock.
PHOTOS BY J.J. WHITNEY