Remembering Poet and Peaceseeker Ann Weems
Ann Weems was a prolific Presbyterian poet, the recipient of the 2005 Peaceseeker Award given by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, and honorary co-chair of the PPF Endowment Campaign for the last ten years. She was a long-time supporter of PPF and was a member of the Activist Council. Marilyn White nominated her for the 2005 Peaceseeker Award for "her eloquent words [that] have opened a way for peace in the often-surprised hearts and minds of Presbyterians and beyond." Her family seeks to remember and honor her now by asking that donations be made to PPF in lieu of flowers for her memorial service. We give thanks for Ann's witness, poetry, and peacemaking and the ways that she continues to give to PPF even after her life. She has inspired many, and her poetry and legacy will continue to do so for many years to come.
Barrie Shepherd remembers her with these words:
Ann Weems was an inspired poet, and a true friend. Her gracious ways with words endowed her with that rare and magical ability to speak directly and movingly to the average Presbyterian in the pew and at the same time to reach toward the transcendent and the sublime. Her several books of poetry and meditation have touched and illuminated countless lives; enriching the daily round of the faithful believer, as well as bringing rich new insights to the traditional seasons and festivals of Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter Ann’s writing was deep rooted in the Scriptures, and in the daily lives, both joys and sorrows, of the people of God.
In addition to all this, Ann was simply fun to be around. Signing books together at GA – her lines were always far longer than mine – sipping a friendly scotch afterwards, sharing a meal, or a podium, or a classroom Ann, with her wry, dry Southern wit, her genuine interest in, and concern for others, and her authentic commitment to the great causes of the church, peace and justice, brought joy to all she did, everyone she met. The Presbyterian Church (USA), indeed the entire Christian family, is poorer, and much duller today without her.
Among many of the poems that Ann wrote, "Another Day, Another War" is one that we come back to time and time again at PPF and one that seems especially relevant during this Holy Week that we remember and celebrate the life of Ann Barr Weems:
Another Day, Another War
and so it goes, day after day, year after year,
all over this world.
To solve his problem , Cain killed Abel.
so easy......to solve a problem, kill
and the audience will clap.
clap, clap, clap for killing.
There was a man who said, No killing.
He was killed, of course,
and the audience clapped loudly!
He was killed,
but not before he said,
Love one another.
In fact, he told the crowd a story
about The Good Samaritan,
an example of how to love.
And he healed the daughter of a Canaanite woman,
whom he called a woman of great faith.
He talked to Greeks and Romans,
men and women, wealthy and poor,
and he called the children to him.
In fact, he called the world
to follow the example
of the woman at the well
who gave him a cup of cold water
and called her town to come and hear.
And yet, he was killed.
Another day, another war,.....
Is there no one to clap for Peace?
to bring cups of cold water?
to call others to come and hear?
to join together in love?
All those who believe,
not in war, but in peace, stand,
and join the thunderous clapping
of the angels.
No more killing!
Clap for peace until this world says:
Another day, Another Peace,