The Better World Beloved Community

Our Projects
Kolkata Children's Project
Advisory Council and Friends
The Beloved Community House
Our Community Blogs
Marist Praxis Project for Public Citizenship
The Public Store
Beloved Community Call Newsletters
Socio-Spiritual Thought
Making a Difference...Being a Voice
Creating Global Consciousness
Sites of Other Better World Workers

  "We can only change things at the edges, never at the center."  Mark Twain                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Heartless Prison Policy 
by Mar Peter-Rieux
July 31, 2014      
Part One 
I met Dury at the Federal prison at Danbury, Connecticut, where I was teaching a World Views & Values course for Marist College. The evening class started before sundown which meant the two Muslem women would have to extend their fast during the month of Ramadan for another two hours. Dury came a little late to class, and as she made her way across the room to a chair, she surreptitiously dropped a snack on the desks of the women fasting.  
In conversation with her sometime later, I learned that she was a mother of six children, the last born after she came to prison. "I never had enough money for the kids," she said, "and all I had to do was go to JFK and pick up a package.  I'd get $2000.00."  Wanting so much to buy things that her kids both needed and wanted, she didn't ask too many questions.  
"The Lord told me not to do it.  The Lord told me not to do it," she repeated.  Arrested and sentenced to six years in prison, her sentence automatically included separation from her children. This sentence was not mentioned at all, nor found in Court documents, nor a spoken matter of concern by any official connected with Dury's case.  It is an automatic matter of policy for the nearly 120,000 women in prison today, 80% who have school-age children.  
The most devastating aspect of going to prison for Dury was being separtated from her six kids for the duration of her sentence.  Walking with a prison official across the prison grounds to the education building, I learned that about half of the women at the Federal facility were there on a "Conspiracy" charge, such as knowing, but not reporting, that a boyfriend was selling drugs, and might have used her phone to make a drug deal, or she might have given him a lift somewhere and that was when he was arrested, now both serving fifteen years to life.  
The consequence for the children, the trauma of being separated from their mother, is borne out in the statistics of the later incarceration rate for chlldren of a parent in prison, 60% by some counting.  Depression and attachment disorder are common to these youth, most in foster care or living with a relative.  
Good grief, what right does any government have to deny children the love of a parent by forcing their separation?  Apart from the inhumanity of a life-long Conspiracy sentence, the cell door slams shut on the whole childhood of her children of an incarcerated mother.  
It doesn't have to be this way.  There are viable, innovative, inexpensive, and far more humane alternatives for both mothers and their children.  And the outcome would be transformative - a win for the mother, a win for the children, a win for society.  A Proposal.  See next column.
Mar Peter-Rieux
September 21, 2014 
Part 2
A 'Beloved Community' for Imprisoned Mothers
The Column to the right expands on the above entry.  Rather than repeat the Proposal, I'll direct you to read it, next door, and, if you like,  comment in the  Address book (last item on left side-bar).  I repeat that not all imprisoned mothers are candidates for the "Campus."  But many are.  The damage done by prison policy, separating mothers and kids, is incalcuable.  And the misery hidden behind prison walls is invisible outside the system.   Cruel separation is simply prison as usual.  It is not the only cruelty.  While teaching at the Federal Facility at Danbury, Connecticut, I was given a poem by a woman prisoner, a mother, to include in an article I was writing on Mothers in Prison.  I've lost touch with her. so I won't use her name without her permission.  But the poem masterfully captures the raw reality of a great many women in prison.
   The labyrinth of captivity
   Has a secret Rite of Passage,
   Deflected by those well-versed
   In deception
   The senses reel from the stench
   Of shocking assault.
   Those shackled and chained
   Strip to the nightmare of
   Left vulnerable for intrusion
   And rupture.
   The regime averts its virtuous eyes
   As covert violations are forced
   On the defenseless.
   Posterior attacks,
   Frontal penetrations,
   Disclaimed and concealed
   Under the guise of superficial
   Behind cold grey towering walls,
   The tresspassed whimper silently,
   Echoing into darkness
   Severe irreperable lacerations
   To body and soul.
   Ah, the sorcery of cultic ceremonies,
   Rites of Passage, 
          into the hell of bondage.

July 27 - 30, 2014,  Raquette Lake Compound
Members of our community attended a small retreat with members of the World Constitution and Parliament Association.  WCPA is an organization dedicated to bringing peace and justice to the world by means of a federation of willing countries structuring together a just and humane world.  Imagine a world where we could settle our international differences in a court of law rather than on the battlefield.  For more information on this concept and the the Earth Constitution please visit:  Also read Glen T. Martin's superb The Anatomy of a Sustainable World: Our Choice Between Climate Change or System Change - How You Can make a Difference. See Review:

 This is our resident puppy here at the Beloved Community house, her name is Copper and she's a troublemaker.


Tradgedy in Gaza, Iraq, Iran, Syria and throughout the Middle-East

Events throughout the Middle East are tragic.  We urge everyone to become informed about the destruction occuring every day.  In the case of Gaza, both Israelis and Palestinians have committed atrocities, though we think it is important to address the massive inequality in military power between Israel and Palestine. Children and innocent citizens have died on both sides, but disproportionately.  Hundreds of children in Gaza have been literally slaughtered, even at a Unitred Nations "safe" site, and after Israeli officers were informed multiple times that the site was housing Palestianian citizens.  The evil perpetuated by ISIS is beyond expression.  We recall Daniel Pearle being beheaded.  And now it seems that ISIS has marked all journalists for execution. Whence cometh this Evil?  And can it be stopped?  Abraham Joshua Heschel in his iconic article, "Good and Evil,"  holds that we must do good acts, every day a mitsvah.  Each act of good increases the weight of good in the world.  There is much more that can be done, of course, through governments, religious Institutions, allies, at sites throughout the world.   But we can start with hosts of mistvahs - sent out into the world, trailing prayers for healing, justice, forgiveness, reconciliation, and, finally, transfiguration.  What do you think?  Comment in the Guest book, if interested.  Jorden Eck & Mar

For "conspiracy," non-violent charge, losing kids
Sentenced same as drug dealer, for not reporting


Our community has taken up the cause of mothers separated from their children through incarceration. A disturbing number of these women have been convicted to harsh  and lengthy sentences for the offence of not turning in a known partner or family member selling drugs.  Receiving the same sentence as the dealer, women suffer the far worse auxillary sentence of separation from their children - for a great many, for the whole of their childen's childhood.  

What right do we have as a nation to inflict such inhumanity in addition to an already stiff sentence? We believe that the children should have their mother in their lives on a regular basis.  What right do we have to inflict this loss of their mother on the children?  A more compassionate approach is needed, and certainly a radical revision of sentencing. Alternatives do not include only prison cells or freedom. Jorden


It is long past time to reconceptualize and restructure imprisonment for mothers with school aged-children.  We propose a secured Campus where mothers and their children live in a compound of 3 family cottages.  Chldren would go to public schools, and on Campus participate in art, music, play-acting, science discovery, reading in a terrific library or book exchange.  Mothers could receive counseling (most in prison have been abused), vocational training or academic programs, paranting classes with solid child psychology, and learn the ins and outs of computers.  Weekly, movies, instructive, intersting, and inspiring, would expand consciousness and open a larger world of reference.  With an approximately 3-year sentence (not a draconian 5-10, or even 15 yrs to life), both mother and children would be well prepared for work and life. their prospects greatly enhanced.    There are women with other non-violent charges who would also be candidates for the alternative of a secured Campus where they could live together with their children.  Ideally, the Campus would become a 'beloved community', one that benefits all.  One feature for the women would be a continued connection with the "campus" community and friends made there, with events, family days, rallies.

The practical fact is that this alternative arrangement would not only greatly benefit sentenced mothers and their children, but it would save considerable money now spent for foster care, the whole prison and guards apparatus, and other costs.  Women's post-prison prospects are almost always quite difficult, but given life skills, education, inspiration, continued belonging in the community, and a continued relationship with their children, women would be able to actually contribute to the society (again realizing considerable savings).  The statistics for children of incarcerated parents becoming incarcerated themselves, by some estimates, are between 50-60%.  With their enriched lives and continued relationship with their mothers, it is almost certain that the incidence of incarceration would be significantly lessened.  A win for the mothers, a win for the childten, a win for the state's economy, a win for humanity.  Let's make this alternative happen!   Mar Peter-Rieux

Today a number of people of conscience are speaking out on behalf of those being persecuted because of ethnicity or religion, those with bombs dropping on their crowded spaces, those traumtized with drones circling overhead that unpredictably blast fire into a family's quarters targeting one suspected terrorist.  
One of those with both conscience and courage, Chris Hedges, a public intellectual par excellence, a TruthDig columnist, is speaking, writing, & standing with Occupiers and others in denouncing U.S. Drones as they terrorize civilians in sovereighn nations, murdering children and whole families.  With a level of detachment, drones are killing civilians, including over 200 children, in not only Afghanistan and Iraq, but Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia as well. Deaths have included an entire wedding party, children walking along the road, others tending cattle, a mother and her five children, targeted U.S. citizens in Yemen.   Jorden
The Better World Beloved Community with Hedges and other resisters call our government to account, and to an immediate end to its acting throughout the Middle East as judge, jury, and executioner.

"The purpose of the civil rights movement is healing... reconciliation... redemption... the creation of The Beloved Community."  ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Bradley Manning, now chelsia manning, who Leaked to the Media Video Footage of U.S. War Crimes in Afghanistan, was Judged guilty of 20 charges and sentenced to 35 years in prison.  Her case, being appealed, is expected to go all the way to the u.s. supreme court. the beloved community house Stands with Manning as with one Beleaguered and Humiliated-in-custody.                          Check out - for more information.  

Prisoners at Guantanamo bay prison are still being held without charge or hearing.  they have been imprisoned for 4-5 years AFTER being cleared for release.  Their long fast achieved the release of a few prionsers, but most are still imprisoned. One prisoner, looking for work in Pakistan was picked up in a sweep.  without charge or trial, he has been at Gitmo 11 1/2 years.  he is desperate to get back home to his wife and four children.  With the signing by President Barack Obama of the "indefinite detension" segment of the National Defense Authorization Act, the prisoners have lost hope of ever being released.  80 of them were cleared for release years ago, and are in despair.  There is no movement in their cases.  the department responsible for arranging their release has been closed.  Even contact with their lawyer is limited and controlled.  they continue to suffer humiliation, rough treatment, separation from their families, and not even given knowledge of their cases.  

Thank you! Calcutta Corner Dump Project.

July 2014

Our 5th annual yardsale for the children of the  Calcutta Corner dump was very worthwhile.  The children and their families are being given essential opportunities for schooling, vocational training, emergency medical care, heightened nutrition for babies and small children, and an occasional outing celebrating a holiday, a marriage, and other events.  We greatly appreciate the contributions made by friends, yard sale junkies, Karen, Jory, Tom, Cameron, Jorden, Caleb, Julianna, Sarah, Heather, Jamie, Michelle, Carl, Mary Joe, Josiah, Jacob, and Judith and George.  You are the spirit of the Beloved Community House.  Thank you.  We also greatly appreciate our Project Keeper in Kolkata - Christopher Ratan Das.  He visits the dump frequently as well as the people's ancestral village (also poor).  He serves indefatigably.  45 Riverside Drive Binghamton NY.   If you wish to contribute, for a tax deduction, make out check to Marist College, write Calcutta Project on subject line, and send to Dr. Mar Peter-Raoul, 45 Riverside Drive, Binghamton 13905.  To have a tax receipt sent to you, please include your name and address.  Include your e-mail if you wish to be notified of events and the work of the Community.   Jorden Eck, House Coordinator, the Better World Beloved Community
Postscript on the subject of drones: Members of the Beloved Community recently had the honor of meeting with Medea Benjamin, Co-founder of Code Pink and  Global Exchange.  We join Code Pink in protesting our country's raining down fire on people in Pakistan and other Middle Eastern countries.  Hundreds of civilians have been killed including nearly 200 children - children walking along a road, tending cattle, riding in a mistaken car, attending a funereal, celebrating a wedding.   U.S. drones continuously circle overhead, stike homes with families to target a suspeted terrorist, often strike the wrong target, continuously terrorize the whole  area.   PROTEST TO THE PRESIDENT AND PRAY!        Jorden Eck

Convening Scripture of
The Better World
Beloved Community

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good tidings to the afflicted;

He has sent me to bind up
the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and the opening of the prison
to those who are bound;

To proclaim the year of our Lord's favor
and the day of rescue of our God;

To comfort all who mourn."

Isaiah 61:1-2

India and America crossing over to each other
Artist: Julianna Eck, when 13

Children lay baby in Calcutta shrine, picture by Sree Durga youth

*The Better World Beloved Community site is not directly associated with the Better World sites linked above, but share ethos and vision. 
 We are providing the links to support all efforts towards creating "A Better World"! Click here to discover some other great sites we've found.



Our Purpose

Kids Peace Mural

The Better World Beloved Community believes itself convened by the Lord for spiritual reconciliation, witness, community, and participation in humanitiarian/praxis projects.  We advocate social, racial, and economic justice throughout the world. 

Though an intentional Christian community, we welcome all people of good will to work with us to alleviate suffering, gain layered knowledge, seek socio-political truth, inspire compassion, and advance global justice, peace and human rights.  

For these purposes we hold Chapel at the Beloved Community House, gather communally, and have initiated projects locally and globally (see
Projects).  We invite those who share our spiritual vision of socio-economic justice and human dignity to become a participating friend of the Community. 

For a fuller sense of the concept of "The Beloved Community" see

Our Intentions

*  to embed the community in the socio-spiritual message of Isaiah 61:1-2;

*  to inspire public/global citizenship;

*  to translate compassion into
concerted action;

*  to reflect on our relationship with others, especially the marginalized of the world,
and on our socio-spiritual, active
participation in the vision and praxis of
the Better World Beloved Community;

*  to enjoy gathering together - locally or with partners abroad - for Chapel, communal meals, music, shared humanitarian work and discourse;

* to mentor participation in the Community of associates' children, teens, and a racially and geographically diversity of kids during our summer Beloved Community Week. 



Cams BWBC Logo
This Better World Beloved Community logo was created as a gift to us by Cameron Larnerd (13)




"We can work together for
a better world with
men and women of goodwill,
those who radiate
intrinsic goodness
of humanity."

~ Wangari Maathai

"Bring About a Better
and More Just World!"

~Cesar Chavez

Dorothy Day Quote


Margaret Mead Quote

Let Peace Begin With Me!
There for those who promote peace. Prov. 12:20b





Below are sample photos of some of our past
& ongoing projects, including ~

Beloved Community Week projects & participants:
* Serving Soldiers Project;   * CHOW Collection Project;
* Intergenerational Outreach Project;

As well as many of our on-going Beloved Community House activities:

* Chapel services;  
* Hurricane Katrina Respite Project;   *Promoting
Citizenship through weekly Peaceful Protesting and Community Service;

And also our Global Outreach Projects in Calcutta, Nairobi, and Mexico.

37.  ..."Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 
38. When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?   39. When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40. "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25:37-40 (NIV)

What is it that God requires of us?

8."Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; for the rights of all who are destitute.

9. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the
poor and needy."
Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV)

Micah 6:8

Peace Love Mercy





Take time to review this!
Click on picture above to review the full document

Peace for the Children of Iraq
Peace for the Children of Iraq


This site  The Web 

Back to Top

Next Page (Our Projects)


Web Master: Heather Larnerd-Eck 
Web Site Creator: Colin-Pierre Turner Larnerd
The Beloved Community House 
P.O. Box 883
Binghamton, NY  13902
e-mail contact:

* Homepage slide show background music: "Bounty of the Lord Reprise" by Claire Holley off her Sanctuary album;
* Calcutta Project 2007 video clip background music: "Imagine" by John Lennon
* All unidentified pictures/clipart used throughout website: Artists Unknown.  If you recognize your work on this site please notify us so we can give you credit and link to your page.  We are using all artwork unaware of any specific copyright infringements and ask the artist's permission to continue using their work to promote our mutual commitment to global peace and social justice for all. 
Thank you!