2019 Barstow-Driver Award Celebration

Saturday, October 26

Join us in celebrating Merilie Robertson, the 2019 recipient of the Ann Barstow and Tom Driver Award for Excellence in Nonviolent Direct Action in Retirement.

Barstow-Driver award recipient Merilie Robertson during a visit to Adelanto Detention Center.

Saturday, October 26

First Presbyterian Church – 4963 Balboa Blvd, Encino CA 91316

  • 5:00 p.m.- Registration & Gathering
  • 6:00 – Dinner & Program
  • RSVP by October 15 — tickets available here.
  • Featuring keynote speaker, Rick Ufford-Chase

“Merilie models what it means to be a global citizen. Her witness profoundly changed the course of my life and I know I am not alone.”
-Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness, Director of Compassion, Peace, and Justice of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Read more of her reflection here.

Merilie Robertson’s retirement years challenge the idea of “retire” in every sense of the word. After decades working as a missionary teacher in Puerto Rico, Pakistan and Iran, Merilie returned to the United States only to become deeply engaged in the struggle for peace with the people of Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Colombia, and now with the human rights struggle of immigrants in the United States.

Merilie lived in Nicaragua for a year working with the Presbyterian Reconciliation and Mission program and served as an accompanier to a Guatemalan pastor who was receiving death threats. She returned to the U.S. and volunteered with “No More Deaths” in Tucson, assisting migrants in the desert until  — at age 78 — sleeping on the ground and carrying heavy water containers became too physically demanding. But that didn’t stop her activism. She continues her work for peace by regularly visiting people who have been detained in the immigration system.

To honor her action and activism, Activist Council member Tamara Razzano spoke with Merilie — read more about Merilie here!

Keynote Speaker Rick Ufford-Chase, moderator of the 216th General Assembly of the PC(USA), is a lifelong activist and advocate for social justice. He is a cofounder of  BorderLinks, Samaritans and No More Deaths ministries in Tucson, and a former co-director of the PPF. Since 2008 he and his wife Kitty have served as directors of Stony Point Retreat Center in NY. He is the author and editor of Faithful Resistance: Gospel Visions for the Church in Time of Empire. 

The Ann Barstow and Tom Driver Award for Excellence in Nonviolent Direct Action in Retirement was created in 2014 by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship in order to specifically honor those who have taking significant risks in their retirement for  the cause of nonviolent peacemaking. It is our desire to honor these leaders of our movement and to honor them in their local hometown or location where their primary peacemaking work took place.  In our inaugural year, the award was named the Anne Barstow and Tom Driver to commemorate two of our key leaders in nonviolent peacemaking and the ceremony of dedication was held near New York City which was their primary place of peacemaking activities for decades.