Author Kate Braestrup speaks in Middlebury

Kate Braestrup, author of the New York Times best selling memoir “Here If You Need Me,” is speaking at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society (CVUUS) on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. Her talk is titled “Life in Words.”
Braestrup is a woman of diverse talents and roles. She is a writer, a minister, and the Chaplain of the Maine State Warden Service and head of their Critical Incident Response Crisis Team. Her great gift is to bridge the differences between diverse communities and constituencies. Her message is one of extraordinary range, encouraging people to “reach out beyond their ideological boundaries.”
Braestrup also works with and helps train Game Wardens in Vermont.
“She is deeply immersed in the Wildlife Law Enforcement community,” said Warden Dale Whitlock of the Central District (Middlebury area) of Braestrup. “She is widely known throughout New England for her service and expertise involving the many traumas endured by law enforcement officers and their families. She is an amazing woman; guarded and loved by ‘her wardens’ much like a queen surrounded by her loyal soldiers. . . a rare gift in a sometimes harsh world.” 
“Here If You Need Me” told the story of Braestrup holding her family together after the death of her husband, a state trooper. Eventually, she chose to pursue his dream of becoming a Unitarian-Universalist minister, ultimately finding her calling as the Chaplain to Maine Warden Service.
One reviewer wrote “(Braestrup) mingles elements of police procedural and touching love story with trenchant observations about life and death…with compassion and a concern for the big questions inescapably provoked by tragic events.” She has written a sequel to “Here If You Need Me” called “Anchors and Flares: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hope, and Service.” Her other books include “Marriage and Other Acts of Charity;” “Beginner’s Grace: Bringing Prayer to Life.”
In “Anchors and Flares,” Braestrup reflects on the decision of her eldest son to join the Marines and attempts to “reconcile her desire to protect her children with her family’s legacy of service? Can any parent balance the joy of a child’s independence with the despair of letting go?”
“Kate Braestrup is funny, reflective, and — above all — honest,” reflected author Phyllis Theroux. “In ‘Anchor and Flares’ she has proven, once again, that she is a writer upon whom nothing is lost, even when her mind is reeling.”
Braestrup is a writer and thinker for our time. Because of her multiple identities — writer, cop, preacher, mother, spouse, community activist, she bridges with compassion and understanding the divisions which define our world, the fracturing of our national community into absolutist, armed camps.
Her talk is sponsored by Champlain Valley Unitarian-Universalists, Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury Area Clergy Association, Charles Scott Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (Middlebury College), Living and Dying Partnership, Center for Community Engagement (Middlebury College).
CVUUS is located at 2 Duane Court, very near Middlebury Union High School. For more information call (802) 388-8080 or visit cvuus.org.

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