How to Get Involved

We are sometimes asked how to get involved in the Plowshare Peace Center, or how to become a member.

First, we are not organized on a “traditional” membership basis. This was discussed early on, and it was felt that we would be spending needless effort keeping track of who is, or is not, a member, sending out reminders about dues, and etcetera. We realized our time and energy is better spent working on projects.

Instead, Plowshare is organized on a practical basis. That is, you can have a connection with Plowshare based on however you want it to be. If you want to be very active, be very active. If you want to be less active, be less active. Sometimes people are very active and at other times less so. People come and go (and sometimes come back when their lives are less hectic, or some social issue moves them).

In short, you’re automatically part of Plowshare if you want to be. And there’s never any dues for membership. If you ever want to make a contribution towards expenses (if and when you can), it’s appreciated, but it’s never expected.

Here’s Gary Sandman’s experience on this topic, paraphrased. (He’s the Director of Plowshare Peace Center):

How does one become involved in Plowshare? Here is my experience, though others may, of course, approach it differently.

To start, I usually recommend that if you might be interested in becoming involved with Plowshare, then attend a board meeting. This will give you a good overview of our projects.

You may even become interested in joining the board at some point, which we welcome! We are a volunteer organization, so we will definitely appreciate the help on whatever you feel led to work on. To join the board, you would first attend some monthly meetings to see if we are mostly in tune with each other. (We recommend you read the Plowshare mission statement at the end of this page.) As a 501(c)3 organization, Plowshare does have board members, so you will be expected to attend the board’s monthly meetings when possible, and to serve on at least one committee you are interested in (or as a coordinator for some program or initiative). Again, being on the board is on a practical basis, that is, some board members are very active, some much less so. All levels of activity are valued.

To be clear, some folks attend a board meeting, not intending to join the board, but rather to gain a better sense of Plowshare and its projects, and where they would best be able to help. Also, if you can’t or don’t want to attend a board meeting, that’s okay, too. We still want your help and can discuss your involvement with Plowshare via phone or email. (Also, many folks just show up to participate in something they’re interested in, for example, marches or vigils. Many participants prefer it that way and every event or program we’ve ever hosted was open to everyone.)

Operating Procedures

Plowshare operates on a committee or a coordinator basis. They are autonomous, that is, the board doesn’t tell them what to do. We ask them not to spend a lot of our money without asking us first, and not to make statements or do something (major) on Plowshare’s behalf without running it by the board first. So, in general, people work as they see fit on the causes they care most about.

Committees have risen up from heartfelt concerns. That is, someone sees a need, like holding peace vigils or distributing alternative newspapers; then they approach the Plowshare board to see about it being taken as a project; and then, when approved, they run with it. We are always open to new projects – or even revival of old ones. Personally, I would like to see our Truth-in-Recruitment Committee (military) going again.

Here are several of our current committees: Vigils, Programs, Death Penalty, Carpooling, Lobbying, Outreach and more… For additional information, visit: Committees and Coordinators (which itself has links to even more details about the individual groups).

How Things Are Paid For

As noted earlier, like most charitable endeavors, Plowshare depends on individuals and organizations to support us. Some contribute occasionally, others pledge monthly, quarterly, biannually, or yearly. And we also have a few other small income streams. Everything is deeply appreciated. For more details, see our finance committee link. 

Prayers and Good Thoughts

Lastly, I believe the spirit wheel moves when prayers and good thoughts are sent our way. Some people do this for us, and it’s important!

So, very personally put, there are many ways to get involved in Plowshare Peace Center. Want to do more than feel bad after you listen to the news? Check us out!

Thank you,



Plowshare Peace Center is committed to the creation of a just world peace by connecting with our local community. We are peace facilitators and social justice advocates, who nurture educational opportunities that engage and inspire actions for a culture of peace.

Gary Sandman, Director
Plowshare Peace and Justice
Office: 214 Summit Way, Roanoke, VA 24014
Mail: PO Box 4367, Roanoke VA 24015
Phone: 540-492-3582
Facebook page: Plowshare Peace & Justice Center
Facebook group: Plowshare Peace Center