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Ufford-Chase Presents A World Out Of Whack

“We live as a people of privilege in a world that is incredibly out of whack,” said Rick Ufford-Chase, executive director of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship during convocation on March 22.

Rick Ufford-Chase prepares to speak to the BC audience.

Ufford-Chase, a long time mission worker on the Mexican/U.S. border, shared his thoughts on peace and social justice with more than 1,000 students gathered at Phelps Stokes chapel on Thursday afternoon.

Starting out with a description of a dream he had where all the maps of the world were turned upside down and the US was no longer “on the top,” he described how the world would operate differently.

He explained that we might be working in sweatshops making radios for the Chinese. He described a child in Calcutta crying because she wasn’t allowed to buy anymore video games before her birthday, and a woman in Houston baking bread in a clay oven not knowing where her next meal would come from or how she would feed her children.

“It was a bad dream,” he said, “But then I woke up and realized it’s alright, I’m still on top.”

Ufford-Chase told students that they had a unique decision to make - to determine whether or not they would place themselves squarely with those who are the most unseen of all people, those who are the servants of the empire.

Living out his words, Ufford-Chase has spent his life with these “unseen” people and described evenings he spent in their homes huddled together with them under sleeping bags trying to stay warm. He is an advocate for the humane treatment of those migrants whose monthly salary is often less then ten dollars.

Ufford-Chase spoke of other countries in dire need of peace and social justice, including the western bank of Israel where people were under a constant curfew and not allowed to go out to buy food. He spoke of churches in third world countries whose congregations had their lives turned upside down by the devastating effects of Aids and HIV.

Ufford-Chase is a servant to those people he says are afraid to come out of the shadows. He along with his wife, Kitty, is a member of Christian Peace Makers. He also founded and currently directs BorderLinks, which is committed to the education of people on both sides of the US/Mexico border.

Ufford-Chase encouraged students to choose to lead the way to a global community by giving them a five-step outline for how to do so.
1. Find a passion and develop it.
2. Connect your passion to a purpose that is bigger than you are. Passion that is aimless is worthless.
3. Locate yourself in a place where that passion can work itself out. Meaning comes when we stick to a particular place.
4. Express your passion positively. Being for something gives energy, but being against something burns people out.
5. Start with what is possible, but aim for that which is impossible.

Students were encouraged to be more mindful about their lives, the foods they chose to eat and the clothes they chose to buy. Buying locally grown foods, Ufford-Chase said, encourages a sustainable economy; he also claimed it is also our responsibly to be sure that the clothes we wear are made by people who are paid a fair wage.

More information on Rick Ufford-Chase and his work with BorderLinks and Christian Peace Makers can be found on his blog and also at cpt.org.

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