A Season for Nonviolence

A Season for Nonviolence (SNV) commenced on January 30, in cities across the globe. The annual 64 day campaign, co-founded in 1998 by Dr. Arun Gandhi and The Association for Global New Thought (AGNT), is an educational, media and grassroots awareness campaign spanning the January 30th and April 4th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The purpose of the campaign is to focus educational and media attention on the philosophy of attaining peace through nonviolent action as demonstrated by legendary leaders Mohandas K. Gandhi, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar E. Chavez, St. Oscar Romero, Malala Yousafzai, and President Nelson Mandela, as well as living legends such as His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama. Spiritually guided citizen leaders in 900 cities in 67 countries have participated since the campaign began in 1998.

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Letter

Greetings, Friend,

2019 is the 150th birthday year of Mohandas K. Gandhi (2 October 1869-30 January 1948). It presents an opportunity to bring the principles and practices of Creative Non-Violent Action back into the national conversation. Americans were privileged to experience these principles through the audacious, loving work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was inspired by Gandhi’s skillful use of non-violent means to liberate India from British colonial rule in 1948. In Nashville, the citizenry saw non-violent resistance in action, most noticeably at the "lunch counter sit-ins" in February of 1960. Here, students were trained in the principles of non-violent resistance by Rev. James Lawson of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. What we all learned by those daring young women and men is that remarkable change can happen in one’s lifetime.

As a "child of the 60’s", I am astonished to witness the absence of those principles in our current communal dialogs. I assumed, starting with the end of the Vietnam War, that our culture would continue to unfold in grace and opportunity for all. Yet we are right to be concerned about the erosion of social capital, the edginess of civil discourse, the rise of nationalism, and the entrenchment of religious fundamentalism.

During the American Civil War, President Lincoln wrote to Congress, "...We can succeed only by concert. It is not ‘Can any of us imagine better?’ but, ‘Can we all do better?’" Our answer is, Yes! We know better, we can imagine better, and, given the tools, we can all do better. It’s time to get busy.

Our Gandhi-Ji 150 program is designed to offer inspiring and educational opportunities to help you–the influencer–become skilled in the ways of Creative Non-Violent Action.

In October 2017, Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, said to me, "I want you to celebrate my grandfather’s 150th birthday in Nashville." I said, "Okay. I will." This entire program is an answer to his request. The specific activity he requested will take place on Saturday, September 14th, 2019, at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody campus. There, we will staff our "burning bowl" so all who care to may release "that which they hate" into a flame for the purpose of transformation, creating a space for each to declare how they choose to be the opposite of what they hate – to BE THE CHANGE they wish to see in the world. Volunteers will encourage all to dream of a world that works for all and to see their place in it. This activity is available to everyone present and is specifically what Mr. Gandhi asked me to offer to the city.

Our intention is that there will be lasting impact on you and on the city of Nashville. With this program, we will:

• expand networks through the connecting of communities – where our paths might not otherwise meet

• create a greater appreciation of who "we" are as Nashvillians

• take pride in Nashville’s place in the history of non-violent social justice in American history

• allow participants experience joy and power as they commit to be the change they wish to see

In February 21, 2018, USA Today ran an article headlined "Tennessee Ranked Angriest Most Hateful State In Nation". Nashville once prided itself on being the "Athens of The South". With this exploration into the ways of Creative Non-Violent Action, we can rightly claim to be making Nashville a city that works for all. We invite your enthusiastic participation and support.

Rev. John M. McLean

Unity of Nashville


FALL EVENTS

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AMY-JILL LEVINE, PHD | JESUS AND NON-VIOLENCE

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD | 10:00AM | SANCTUARY

Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies, and Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science; she is also Affiliated Professor, Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge UK. Her newest book, to be released in March 2020, will be titled Jesus is for Everyone: Not Just for Christians. Holding the B.A. from Smith College, and the M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, she has honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, Christian Theological Seminary, and Franklin College. A self-described Yankee Jewish feminist, Professor Levine is a member of Congregation Sherith Israel, an Orthodox Synagogue in Nashville, although she is often quite unorthodox.


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RABBI TED FALCON | INTERFAITH WORK AS A PATH OF PEACE

FRIDAY SHABBAT DINNER | NOV. 15TH | 6:00PM
"THE TREE OF LIFE" | NOV. 16TH | 10:00AM | SANCTUARY
SUNDAY SERVICE | NOV. 17TH | 10:00AM | SANCTUARY

Rabbi Ted Falcon, PhD, spiritual guide, author, teacher and therapist, has taught Jewish traditions of Kabbalah, meditation and spirituality since the 1970s. Ordained in 1968 at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. In 1975, he earned a doctorate in Professional Psychology and, in 1978, founded the first meditative Reform congregation. He is the author of A Journey of Awakening: Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tree of Life and co-author, with David Blatner, of Judaism For Dummies. An important part of his work since 2001 has been done in context of The Interfaith Amigos – Rabbi Ted Falcon, Imam Jamal Rahman, and Pastor Don MacKenzie, presenting a crucial message in a unique humorous style, helping participants appreciate the promise and the problems of the interfaith experience. The Interfaith Amigos have co-written: Getting to The Heart of Interfaith; Religion Gone Astray; What We Found At the Heart of Interfaith; and Finding Peace Through Spiritual Practice. All three books received Spirituality & Practice Book Awards as one of the Best Spiritual Books in the year of their publication: 2009, 2011 and 2016. Mostly recently, The Interfaith Amigos were featured presenters at the Parliament of World Religions in Toronto in 2018 and at the Chautauqua Institute’s July 2019 Interfaith Lecture Series.


PREVIOUS EVENTS

FEBRUARY 2ND-3RD – RABBI TED FALCON AND IMAM JAMAL RAHMAN (POSTPONED)
FEBRUARY 9TH –
JOHN MCCUTCHEON IN CONCERT
MARCH 6TH –
KALAI MUGALIN, PHD | "MEN AND #METOO"
MARCH 31ST –
SISTER JENNA ON MEDITATION
JUNE 23RD - VENERABLE PANNAVATI | ON PRACTICING NONVIOLENCE ~ INSIDE & OUT
AUGUST 6TH & 13TH - MICHAEL MCRAY | EMPATHY THROUGH STORIES
AUGUST 18TH - REV. DR. TERESA SMALLWOOD | PUBLIC THEOLOGY, RACIAL JUSTICE, AN THE NON-VIOLENT COLLABORATIONS THAT MATTER
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 14TH - BE THE CHANGE DAY
MEDITATION | PADMASAMBAHVA BUDDHIST CENTER | LEADING MEDITATION
YOGA | SMALL WORLD YOGA | LEADING YOGA
MR. MATTY’S WORLD | A FUN-FILLED FUNKY ROCK SHOW THAT REMINDS KIDS HOW AWESOME THEY ARE!
LOVE DRUMS | "WE PLAY DRUMS, PEOPLE DANCE" | VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY & PEABODY COLLEGE
SHAWN GALLOWAY | POSITIVE SPIRITUALITY IN MUSIC
SUNDAY, SEPT. 15TH - ARUN GANDHI IN NASHVILLE


Sister Jenna