In a land far, far away and a time long, long ago, there was a village named Nederland, inhabited by mostly gentle folk from all walks of life.
A few of these folks were gathering for coffee around the table one morning, when there arose the idea of organizing into a coherent group of peaceful warriors, hell bent on bringing sanity to an increasingly crazy world. It was 1985.
Ronald Reagan was sworn in for a second term, with you know whom as his vice. Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. Both countries were well on their way to testing over 1500 nuclear bombs. This translates to 438 megatons of plutonium in our atmosphere, equaling in the 36 years between 1947 and 1980, a Hiroshima size bomb being dropped every 11 hours.
Arlene Strand, Ellen Moore, Barbara Farwell, Liz Caile, Jean Gardener, Phillys Wright, and Lori Sawyer (with Sally Grahn soon to join) gathered, hoping to make a difference. To quote Liz Caile, “A group of women met to discuss possible actions that would involve the mountain community in promoting peace and removing the threat of nuclear annihilation”. The first meetings brought people together to study and discuss socially pertinent matters, and plan actions against nuclear proliferation.
The group participated in the antinuclear demonstrations at Rocky Flats, and some journeyed to the Nevada Test sight bearing witness and committing civil disobedience in support of disarmament.
The idea of a yard sale was initiated to raise funds for promoting peace education and projects. The first sale was held at Barbara Farwell’s yard, and MFP’s main fundraiser was born. It continues to be, after all these years, not only our bread and butter, but also a community event providing a space for repurposing everything under the sun.
In 1993, Phyllis and Stan Wright had the idea of creating a garden outside their Donut Shop on Highway 119, to make for an inviting entrance into Nederland. Around the same time, Ellen Moore and her husband Scott Harrison, were visiting many cities and towns to gather ideas for Scott’s carousel dream. Ellen realized the importance of creating a “potent presence” in the garden scheme. It is general consensus that Ellen provided the concept and design aspect of the Peace Garden, and Phillys the force that pulled people together to make it happen.
And so an opportunity was presenting itself, not only to create the Peace Sculpture Garden, but also for members to study problem solving and conflict resolution within the Mountain Forum and Nederland community itself. Raising the sculpture funds, choosing an artist, involving the Native American community, and justifying the money spent, all became part of the project.
After months of discussion and debate, Dave Current’s model of the Native American girl and young settler toddler was agreed upon. Dave researched intently the correct dress for both characters, and labored long and hard to create the “potent presence” that Ellen was looking for. Phillys rallied the MFP members for planting and gardening help. All of the above listed women and many more people worked to raise the funds and complete the project.
The group carried on with it’s mission of bringing peace into our personal lives, supporting others in living lives of non-violence, and encouraging awareness of the many diverse ways of living. This was accomplished through guest speaker forums, financially supporting young adults in their travels to learn from those in developing countries, and supporting peace projects locally, nationally and internationally.
Three decades later, Mountain Forum for Peace continues to enrich the lives of all those touched by the generosity of members who donate hundreds of hours, dollars, and expertise to make life on our planet a more peaceful place for all.
We continue to bring compelling speakers to our mountain community, vigil against war at the Peace Sculpture Garden, offer contemplative films on current issues, financially support students from our neighborhood and in foreign counties, provide relief through sister organizations when disaster strikes, maintain two peace gardens …
and much, much more.
In these uncertain times, we are an organization that maintains that each individual can and does make a difference.
Please join us in creating a just and peaceful world by becoming a member today!