Saturday, December 3, 2016

RESULTS & Compassionate Cheyenne

There are two exciting local movements that have quietly come together in our community. They have the potential to greatly impact public policy and community life in Cheyenne. Both provide opportunities for people, regardless of political or religious affiliation or non-affiliation, to engage in dialogues and actions that make a difference.

The two groups of Cheyenne citizens have been meeting separately for months. The hard work of both has borne fruit. First is the opening of Wyoming’s first RESULTS Chapter in Cheyenne. Second is the formation of Compassionate Cheyenne, aligned with the international Charter for Compassion.

Wyoming was previously one of the few states without a RESULTS Chapter. RESULTS is a grassroots movement of citizens using their voices to influence political decisions aimed at ending poverty and addressing other social issues.

RESULTS volunteers are trained to be skilled advocates. They learn to effectively advise policymakers, urging them to make choices improving access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities.

Is it possible for a small group of advocates to improve the lives of children planet-wide? Consider the support RESULTS volunteers gave the “Reach Every Mother and Child Act.” A quarter of a century ago, the number of under-five child deaths exceeded 12 million annually. They were dying in the world’s poorest countries of preventable and treatable diseases.

In part because of RESULTS advocacy for cost-effective programs including vaccination, the number of children dying before celebrating a fifth birthday has been halved.  The data show that number can be reduced to zero by 2035.

The Cheyenne RESULTS chapter will also work on local and state social justice issues.

If you’re looking to make a difference, join the Cheyenne RESULTS effort. See or contact coordinator Ann Erdman at

The second development of interest to those looking for way to become engaged is Compassionate Cheyenne. This movement grew out of an interfaith meeting 18 months ago. A group of clergy and others representing a number of Cheyenne’s faith communities gathered for the purpose of talking, not about what divides us, but what unites us. At the table were a variety of Christians including Episcopalians, Methodists, Catholics, Lutherans, Mormons, and Presbyterians, as well as Unitarian Universalists, Jews, and Muslims.

Among the list of that which unites us is love of neighbor, hospitality for strangers, and doing unto others as we’d have them do unto us. They found that all of our commonalities, compassion is the common denominator.

This group decided to act. They arrived at an agreement to study the possibility of being a part of the international Charter for Compassion.

Following months of study and dialogue, they drafted at a set of values and mission goals.

Common ground was found with the way Henri Nouwen spoke of compassion. “Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”

The Compassionate Cheyenne charter and mission has been endorsed by the Cheyenne Interfaith Council, several faith communities and non-profits, as well as dozens of individual Cheyenne citizens. It is a charter of encouragement and support for the significant amount of compassionate work happening every day in Cheyenne.

Fellow Cheyenne-ites in government and non-government agencies are already “doing compassion.” Some are serving churches and other houses of worship. Compassionate work is being done by many different civic organizations. Compassionate Cheyenne has no intention of duplicating or interfering with that work but to support it by focusing on the needs of others from a perspective of compassion. For more information, see or contact coordinator Ed Boenisch at

These are two exciting new opportunities each of us has to work for the common good of all the people of the community.

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