As I waffled over whether to go to the peace vigil in downtown Oshkosh last Sunday night, a voice in my head said, “What would Catie do?”
I knew the answer — Catie would be there. Perhaps the prodding in my head was coming from Catie herself. 
Catie, a friend of just three years, died Aug. 1 of advanced lung cancer in a St. Louis hospice center. We met at a spiritual assembly in 2014 and discovered we shared many of the same values. I last visited her in late June at the hospice center.
Catie, who had looked forward to retiring this August, served 11 years in the U.S. Army as a Captain. But Catie, post-military, was a member of Veterans for Peace and participated every Sunday at 7 p.m. in a peace vigil outside St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis. Catie was arrested while participating “in a peaceful protest” in 2002. 
She also was a volunteer in prison ministry for 28 years, an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and she served the poor through the Missouri Department of Social Services. 
So I went to the sundial in Opera House Square for the 8 p.m. start of the one-hour vigil for the victims of the hate and bigotry demonstrated in Charlottesville, Virginia, and to mourn the lives that were lost and stand in solidarity with those who were attacked. We wanted to show that we stood together against hatred in our community and beyond. 
I’m not the greatest at “guesstimating” the size of a crowd, but if I picture it in groups of 10 I would say there were 200 or more at the sundial — all ages, faiths, cultural backgrounds, color and lifestyles. One by one, then in small groups, they slowly began to arrive.
They came with flashlights, LED candles, real candles, battery-operated lanterns, cellphones and Glow Sticks to light the way to peace in our community as we later lined the sidewalks along North Main Street and Algoma Boulevard. There were songs, prayers and a few brief statements to motivate us.    
I heard about the vigil via an email posting copied to me after being sent out by Brock Doemel, of Oshkosh, of Unite Wisconsin. The vigil, according to Doemel, was co-sponsored by Unite Wisconsin and Fit Oshkosh Inc. 
Tracey Robertson, co-founder and executive director of Fit Oshkosh, was one of the speakers. She challenged us to decide right then what we would do first to turn our words into a specific action (as a starter) toward achieving race equity, social justice, inclusivity and tolerance in our community. 
So bless you, Catie, for the nudge!
To find out about future peace vigils and other events to promote tolerance and peace-building, contact Brock Doemel at contact@unitewi.org.          
•The Lutheran Ceili Orchestra will perform twice today, Aug. 20, at Peace Lutheran Church, 440 Lake St., Green Lake. The orchestra will play sacred music during the 9 a.m. worship service. At noon the group will give a concert of sacred and secular Celtic music.
Founded in Milwaukee in the early 1990s, the orchestra has toured the country, playing and sharing the story of Celtic Christianity on Sunday mornings. Samples of their music may be found at joeyschumann.com/.
The public is welcome to today’s music events, and to a church picnic at 11 a.m. (bring a dish to pass). 
•The Calvarymen, called “a driving force in southern gospel music”, are performing twice today, Aug. 20, at Markesan United Methodist Church, 74 E. Catherine St., Markesan.
The quartet, which sings classic southern gospel as well as progressive gospel, will lead worship at 9:30 a.m. and will host a special performance at 1 p.m. These events are open to the public, free of charge.
For 27 years the Calvarymen have represented Michigan on the main stage at the National Quartet Convention for southern gospel music. Featured regularly on Gospel Music Television, the quartet includes Barry Maust, lead; Chuck Robbins, baritone; Phil Parkins, tenor; and Jim Glasco, bass.
Questions? Call 920-398-3254, or email office@markesanumc.org. 
•Historic Peniel Chapel will host its own Peniel Men’s Quartet in a public performance at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26. The one-hour presentation will include anthems, gospel songs, hymns, and nostalgic and contemporary music.
The quartet consists of Joshua Giese, Devin Scherck, Christopher Guy and Tom White. Sarah Conrad is the accompanist. A freewill offering will be taken.
Peniel Chapel is on County Highway FF between Oshkosh and Rosendale. Questions? Call 920-922-9424. 
•Faith Christian Center of Oshkosh is having a fundraiser at Pizza Ranch in Oshkosh from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28. Money raised will go to support the church’s Fall Family Harvest Party, a free community event, on Oct. 31.
•The 95th annual English/Welsh Hymn Sing (Gymanfa Ganu) will begin at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, in Peniel Chapel, between Oshkosh and Rosendale on County Highway FF.
The director will be Trefor Williams, a native of Wales. The reed organist will be Thomas White of North Fond du Lac. The Peniel Men’s Quartet also will perform. The pianist will be Sarah Conrad of Eldorado.
The festival also will feature congregation singing in four-part harmony. Hymn books will be provided. A freewill offering will be taken. Questions? Call 920-922-9424 or email to tjwhite65@charter.net.
•For its next sponsored mission trip to the Dominican Republic, St. Raphael Parish of Oshkosh is in need of a dentist and a physical therapist to complete the mission team. The travel dates are Jan. 13 to 21, 2018. If interested, contact Dr. Matt Kraemer at 920-420-7051, or email to kraemermatt344@gmail.com. 
•A REMINDER: On your way to or from the downtown Oshkosh Farmer’s Market next Saturday, Aug. 26, stop in for the free Community Breakfast at First Presbyterian Church, 110 Church Ave. Serving of a varied menu will be from 8 to 10 a.m. 
•Thought for the Day: We gain peace by finding or becoming a friend willing to walk in the dark with someone in need.

Judy Russell of Oshkosh writes about happenings at area centers of worship. To submit news for her consideration, email her courtesy of oshkoshsubmit@thenorthwestern.com with the subject “Church news.” Deadline is 5 p.m., Mondays.

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