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Trace Informal Welcome to Monday Briefing, a weekly digest from ACPE Executive Director Trace Haythorn

Each week, you will receive related articles, updates on ACPE transitions, and helpful links to keep you connected, better informed, and well-resourced for the week ahead.
Bylaws and Redesign: 
The comment period for the Bylaws has closed. In addition to comments received from members around the country at seven of the nine regional meetings, we received 35 questions or comments about the changes. They have all been posted to the Redesign Discussion on the ACPExchange (at My ACPE, My Communities; you will need your log-in information).
 
If you did not have a chance to hear my presentation at a regional meeting, Gary Sartain recorded my time with the North Central region, and it is available on YouTube.
Communities of Practice: 
For many folks, the greatest concern lies with the perceived loss of the relationships that have been fostered by the regional structure. Communities of Practice are meant to continue those relationships, but also to respond to two strong feedback pieces from the collected data: 1) the strong concern that we have lost our "grassroots" origins as we have grown and added layers of bureaucracy; and 2) the core of our identity has been and should be education. The Communities of Practice are meant to foster both while maintaining and perhaps deepening relationships. They can also provide "on ramps" to those who have not had the opportunity to participate in regional activities.
 
Barbara Bullock wrote this very helpful article about how Communities of Practice already exist within the ecology of ACPE. She also passes along this Wenger-Trayner article for those who want to learn more about the theory behind this model. We will be working with the Finance Committee in coming days to suggest to the implementation team a process for funding these groups should the vote go in favor of the redesign.
A Poem for the Season: 
Parker Palmer shared the following poem on his Facebook feed this week, for a political season such as this. I believe it needs no other comment:
"Learning" by William Stafford
 
A piccolo played then a drum.
Feet began to come-a part
of the music. Here came a horse,
clippety clop, away.
 
My mother said, "Don't run--
the army is after someone
other than us. If you stay
you'll learn our enemy."
 
Then he came, the speaker. He stood
in the square. He told us who
to hate. I watched my mother's face,
its quiet. "That's him," she said.
For Your Information:
I trust many of you are familiar with the Pew Research Center and the many studies available for review on their website. As we head into the final stretch of the U.S. elections, I offer the following as data to help ground some of those difficult decisions I imagine many of us having: Religion and U.S. Politics.
New feature: This Week on the Calendar:
Our staff noted that while you have access to the monthly interfaith calendar on our website, we can easily provide a link to the events of this week in these briefings. So, here you go!
Monday, October 24
* United Nations Day
 
* Simchat Torah - Judaism
This festival, also known as "Rejoicing with the Law," marks the end of Sukkot and the completion of the Torah reading cycle with the beginning of reading the first book again. Jews celebrate this day by singing, dancing, and marching around the synagogue or temple with Torah scrolls. This festival begins at sundown.
 
* Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji - Sikhism
This day commemorates the martyrdom of the ninth of the Ten Sikh Gurus (1621-1675 C.E.). He is remembered for defending the Sikh faith, as well as the rights of Hindus and the cause of religious liberty.
 
Friday, October 28
Atmasiddhi Rachna Divas (Creation Day) - Jainism  
On this day in 1896, the poet Shrimad Rajchandra-ji (who was a spiritual guide for Mohandas Gandhi) wrote the legendary treatise Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra, which explains the quintessence of Jainism. 
 
Sunday, October 30
* Diwali (Deepavali) - Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism
The festival of lights and Hinduism's most popular festival. It is dedicated to the Goddess Kali in Bengal and to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, in the rest of India. Diwali is also associated with stories of the destruction of evil by the god Vishnu in one of his many forms, as well as with the coronation of Sri Rama. Sweets and gifts are exchanged, and it is a time for cleaning and preparing for the future. This festival is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains, with this day bearing additional names and significance as shown immediately below.
 
Bandi Chhor Divas - Sikhism
Called "the day of the prisoner's release," this festival marks the return of the sixth guru, Sri Hargobind Ji, and 52 other princes with him to the holy city of Amritsar after being released from detention in 1619 C.E. 
 
* Mahavira Nirvana - Jainism
On this day Jains celebrate that the soul of Lord Mahavir (6th century B.C.E.), the 24th Tirthankara, attained nirvana and release from the cycle of rebirth [moksha].

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