Local & National Grail Projects
Members of the Grail in the United States collaborate on a number of projects that reflect our interests in spiritual search, social transformation, ecological sustainability and the release of women's energy throughout the world. Here are some of our current efforts:
Grail members nationwide are stepping up a focus on the dangers of GMO foods and the benefit of small-scale agriculture as they explore the topic of Food Security and Food Sovereignty. The Food Justice group support each member’s work on different facets of food issues, from soup kitchens to advocacy for farm workers, from participating in CSAs (community supported agriculture) to educating ourselves about the difference between food security and food sovereignty, from gardening to petitioning our legislators. They also produce a monthly news article and a weekly update on Food Justice issues.
In the Bronx, a group of teens is working with Grail leaders to cultivate a community garden lot and learning about through the challenges they face. Lucy Jones, the convener of the Food Justice group, took the teens on a tour of the vegetable garden at the Cornwall Grail that she maintains with the help of occasional volunteers. Grail member Sharon Joslyn reports that the Bronx group sees the garden as an important step on the road to food justice.
In Washington State, Grail member Cherie Holman is fighting to require labeling of all foods with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), despite a defeat of a bill calling for just that in 2013.
In New Jersey, Trina Paulus represents the Grail in a local Cornucopia Network that works to educate the public about food security issues, particularly a move to require labeling of GMO food.
Mobilizing for People’s Climate March
Grail members took part in the People's Climate Mobilization that brought 400,000 people to the streets of mid-town Manhattan to call attention to the disasterous effects of global carbon emissions on the ecological balance of planet earth. The March was intended to send a message to world leaders gathering at the United Nations to address the climate change crisis.
Organizers say that the march was the biggest climate march in history, with organizers reaching out far beyond the environmental community, to unions, faith-based organizations, youth groups, and educational institutions.
Several Grail members, including Carol Skyrm and Joy Garland, added their voices to calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking across the state. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has been banned in several towns in New York and opponents want that made statewide.
The empowerment of girls worldwide is the focus of a new effort in Cornwall, where 13-year-old Ilona Gulak Velasquez, the daughter of Grail member Natasha Velasquez, is working to present a schoolwide presentation and a library program on the topic.
Ilona, who attended workshops during the 2014 UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York, says that she wants to help give girls a voice. Grail member Lucy Jones is working with the teen, her mother Natasha and Cindy Cheyne to present the program.
Grail members from around the world will be meeting in Portugal this October to take part in a month-long gathering to build and experience community amid the diversity of the Grail, which has a presence in more than 18 countries. The participants will build this community to share the many forms of spiritual expression that strengthen and support Grail women in their lives and in their transformative work in the world.
Lucy Jones, staff member of the Grail Center in Cornwall, is on the leadership team planning and facilitating the program, along with Kay Hunt and Mary Nelson of Australian and Silvani dos Santos Valentim of Brazil. Other participants will be coming from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Kenya, Mozambique, The Netherlands, Paraguay, Portugal, Philippines, South Africa and the USA
Solstice, Equinox – A Time to Reflect
When the sun enters into its new phase four times a year, Grail members and friends in the community gather at the Labyrinth in the woods at the Cornwall Grail Center. Led by a member of the community we mark the passage into a new season with poetry, chants, prayers, music and song. In silence we walk the labyrintn contemplating the earth, the heavens and the forces at work in our world. A community potluck meal follows as we accompany each other into the next season of the year.