We are Peace and Nonviolence

(No audio) This past Sunday and Monday have been significant for many of us. We had a storm that dropped snow, sleet and freezing rain depending on where you lived, church was canceled, the New England Patriots are headed to the Super Bowl and we had a super blood moon eclipse. Wow that is a lot! Oh, and we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. You might have had Monday off!

I want to focus for just a minute on MLK. There was an article that caught my attention; the headline was “Don’t look for another Martin Luther King – look within.” It was written by Leah Gunning Francis, author of “Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community.” She is being interviewed by Faith and Leadership and it is coming to me through a weekly publication from Alban at Duke Divinity School.

Francis says, “None of us will ever measure up (to a superhuman image), so let’s not even set that as a goal. Instead let’s take seriously the phrase ‘power to the people’ and embody the spirit that calls us to look for the leader within, that calls us to reach out to others to join together, to form coalitions, to make change right where we are. That’s where I think this movement is calling us.” She goes on to say, “We need to call out the leader within and to look for opportunities to engage in transformative acts for justice right where we are and to align ourselves with other people that are seeking to do this kind of work.”

This coming Sunday we will begin for the sixth year of the Season of Peace and Nonviolence. We continue doing what I believe Francis is calling for, sparking leadership and awakening community. Over the last six years we have hosted many speakers who are promoting peace and nonviolence. Among them, Fr John Dear, Paul K. Chappell, Sherri Mitchell, Betsy Sweet and many more.

We have offered many classes and workshops based on nonviolence. The third Sunday of each month there will be a group from Unity Center for Spiritual Growth holding a vigil at the rotary at 202 and 302 in Windham. The first one was held recently and nine people from the community attended. They found it to be a very positive experience and are eager to keep it going. You are invited to join them. They will have signs for you to display.

In Heart Thoughts each week is a calendar with the most up-to-date events happening in the greater Portland community that are connected to peace and nonviolence. Thank you, Wendy Thomas for keeping that current for us.

I mentioned Fr John Dear and you might remember when in September we participated in the week of Campaign Nonviolence. Fr John has a project called Nonviolent Cities. These are cities that are actively exploring how to end the cycle of violence and taking steps to become communities of active nonviolence. To date there are 50 cities and counting who have completed the steps required to become a nonviolent city. The Seasons Team here at Unity is exploring with others the possibility of creating a steering committee to take this project to the next level. If you have interest in learning more about this or any of the activities related, please contact me.

Please join me on Sunday as we learn about Sadako…

You are a blessing in my life.
Rev. Patricia Bessey

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