Alert 1 – Welcome

Hello, Delegates to Soulforce’s Return to Lynchburg! This is Diana Westbrook, co-chair for the Return, with the first in a series of Alerts, containing updates, advice and (I hope) spiritual encouragement. I plan to send these Alerts at least weekly, some of them written by other members of the planning team and Mel White himself.

You may be interested to know that you’re among 123 delegates who’ve already registered — and we’re still seven weeks from October 25-27. Of those 123, 50 participated in the initial Journey to Lynchburg in 1999. For 24 of you, the Return to Lynchburg will be your first Soulforce event. Welcome, everyone!

If you visit the Soulforce website regularly, then you may have noticed that the hotel information has recently changed. We’ve now reserved a block of rooms for Soulforce at the Best Western on Candler’s Mountain Road. Bill Carpenter and I visited the Best Western a few weeks ago; it’s the same price as the Ramada (and close to an Arby’s and TCBY). Try to make your reservations soon, and e-mail Kara ( if you need help finding a roommate.

We’re also providing limited housing with hosts in the community if getting a hotel room isn’t within your budget. Sandy Knodel, our Lynchburg local co-chair, has agreed to coordinate that effort, so look soon for information on the Soulforce website on how to request housing with a local host.

Sandy’s name will be familiar to those of you who were among the original Lynchburg 200 or who participated in the Habitat for Humanity build in October 2000. She’s a member of First Christian Church, which again has generously agreed to be our Soulforce Central.

The Return to Lynchburg team is hard at work coordinating the plan and activities for the weekend. The Soulforce website and the Alerts will contain information as it develops, so stay tuned.

In closing, I encourage you to meditate or pray daily for success in our Return to Lynchburg. If you’re looking for an inspirational book to guide your thoughts, I highly recommend The Sacrament of Civil Disobedience by John Dear, S.J. Of all the reading on nonviolence I’ve done over the past three years, this little book with big ideas has quickly become one of my favorites.

Soulforce is continuing to make a difference, not only in the communities we visit but to the nation. Thank you for your commitment to truth and nonviolence and, perhaps most important, to taking the time to act upon your commitment.

God Bless,
Diana G. Westbrook
Co-chair, the Return to Lynchburg