The Brunswick United Methodist Church in Maine recently dedicated a peace pole in honor of Christine DeTroy, who received the 2016 John Bryan Award for Excellence in Social Justice Action.
This award is presented for excellence in social justice actions as a way of lifting up the commitment of United Methodism to such endeavors.
Growing up in Nazi Germany, DeTroy learned in a painful way that if you do not speak up about injustices right away, there would come a time when you could not speak out against them.
Arriving in the U.S. as a young war bride in the late 1940s, she determined that never again would she remain silent in the face of injustice. She became an outspoken advocate for peace and justice because she believes the saying, "No peace without justice, no justice without peace."
DeTroy has been very active in the Women's international League for Peace and Freedom for over 60 years; she’s participated in civil rights demonstrations in Chicago and anti-war demonstrations in Washington, D.C.
She joined a local group in Brunswick, ME, Peace Works, and through them founded an annual Peace Fair in Brunswick that started in 2005 and continues today.
When asked why she has devoted her life to these causes, Christine said, "I am amazed at the opportunities I've had and thankful to share my vision of peace."
The Bryan Award honors those who, regardless of religious affiliation, seek to change systemic injustice in order to ensure this vision. The award honors persons who embody the Judeo-Christian vision of justice as interpreted by the United Methodist Social Principles.
To have an award that lifts up social justice presupposes that there are injustices in the world. Social justice, therefore, is defined as those efforts that ensure and/or create the quality of community life envisioned in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament.
There was not time to present the Bryan Award during the Annual Conference session. Here are the remarks that DeTroy had planned to share at that time. Read them.