Unity of Greater Portland will usher in their Interfaith Intercultural Season with a series of films, multi-media talks and forums with Connie Baxter Marlow and Andrew Cameron Bailey, authors, filmmakers and futurists.
The weekend’s events are centered on the theme, “Become the promise America made to the World.” Central to this theme is the connection to the Indigenous values embodied by Marlow’s great, great grandfather, James Phinney Baxter and his son, Percival Baxter, both prominent Maine politicians.
Native American cosmology, their way of life and belief systems are connected to the heart, spirit and oneness of all life, honoring the animals, the earth, and the water, said Marlow. “This is what James Phinney Baxter and Percy Baxter did in their public and private lives; they honored the women, the animals, the earth and the water,” she added. These values inspired action: The Baxters gave the people of Maine, Baxter State Park, Baxter Woods, and Mackworth Island. James Phinney Baxter, six-time Mayor of Portland, formed the Portland city park system. All of these acts were designed to allow people to get close to nature and access those aspects of themselves, Marlow said.
Understanding these indigenous values that were so important to her ancestors is of critical importance, Marlow said, to finding a new perspective that can move us from old ways of being into new realities. “Without that, we’re stuck,” she said, “separated from the true nature of the universe.”
On Friday, September 22, the pair will screen their film, “SEEDS OF FREEDOM: A Vision for America,” which highlights the belief held by James Phinney Baxter that America must embody the high ideals of New England’s original settlers. The film also includes a link that is often missing: the role of the American Indian in the evolution of democracy and the American mind and spirit.
The screening will be followed by a multi-media talk and discussion titled, “Thoreau, the Pope and the Indian: A Shared Vision.”
On Sunday, September 24, the two will present their message, “The Baxter Legacy – Alignment with Indigenous Values,” at the 10 a.m. service. This will be followed by a multi-media presentation and discussion at noon, titled, “Civil Disobedience, Spiritual Activism and Higher Law: A Vision of the Individual’s Role in Creating a Just World.”
The intent of these presentations is, “giving people hope and courage for what to do right here, right now, given the current situation in this country and in the world around our birthrights of liberty, justice, equality and abundance,” said Marlow.
On Sunday, they will track the evolution of social activism, from civil disobedience and non-violent non-cooperation through to spiritual activism; which is aligned with higher law, Marlow said. “As we’ve unfolded our understanding of the nature of the universe and humanity’s place in it, quantum science has shown us that our thinking actually affects the collective,” she said. “What we’re showing is this evolution of consciousness and our ability to affect change through supporting something positive.” The hope is that people will come away with an idea of their own personal power, along with some tools for understanding their place in a conscious, loving, abundant universe, she said.
Bailey added that asking questions about core beliefs isn’t something typically done in today’s society, but it’s critical to do so. Bringing these beliefs to the surface, he said often allow for change, allowing people to see their circumstances from a different perspective. “It changes perspective. It gives people a more accepting attitude toward existence. It’s literally the difference between a fear based existence and a trust based existence,” he said.