It’s a hard journey for las mariposas monarcas.
They begin their annual Spring migration of 1,800 miles to the United States and Canada from the Oyamel forest of Michoacán, Mexico. They make their instinctive return to Mexico in November to spend the winter through March.
Monarch butterflies begin their life cycle as eggs to become striped caterpillars feeding on milkweed, who eventually encase themselves in a chrysalis, only to emerge two weeks later as the beautiful butterflies. Lifespan for adults is four to five weeks. It takes three to five generations to make the northern migration, similarly for the return for the southern wintering, but the last generation can live almost six months.
They originate in my ancestral home where my maternal side is filled with names like Mosqueda, Sanchez, Perez and Ramirez. Families who also migrated back and forth since the turn of the last century, and eventually settled in the United States.
As I complete my call and tenure with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO), I acknowledge anew how intention and essential values to create and sustain life and community can be passed from one generation to the next, along with a shared ethos that brings distinct and unique communities together.
We are so fortunate that the people who comprise EMO’s intergenerational and increasingly diverse staff represent so many places of origin on this blue planet – multiple cultures, ethnicities, languages, approaches, perspectives, and most importantly, ways of being and doing together.
Similarly, the EMO board of directors and standing committees offer a range of life experiences, faith understandings, common values, and social principles to guide the organization in assuring the public trust and the common good of EMO’s mission.
And then there are the countless volunteers who are the heart and face of EMO to so many people in the numerous communities served by our programs, activities and events.
Lastly, the individual donors, grant makers, foundations, businesses, plus federal, state, county and municipal agencies are the ones who believe that what we do together is important and valued and deserves their support.
For the last 13 months, I have experienced this prismatic organization in its myriad cadences of activity, its engagement of so many different people, churches and partner organizations. This in the wake of the COVID pandemic, emergency reception of refugees and asylees, an unsettling political and economic climate, more people on the streets, and devastating gun violence. But I take a small lesson from la mariposa, who pollinates for good, for life.
On this last day as Interim President, my hope is that this organization will flourish as it continues its journey, invites others to join in special ways, and especially welcomes you – as God's grace guides your travels to new and exciting destinations.