Friday, March 4, 2016

Two day workshop promotes peace and nonviolence - By Elizabeth Richards

Unity Church in Windham is offering area residents an opportunity to come together to discuss peace and nonviolence in the world. On March 11 and 12, area residents are invited to attend a workshop titled “Peace Leadership in Difficult Times,” featuring prominent author and speaker, Paul K. Chappell.
This workshop is offered as part of Unity’s Season of Nonviolence, a program started by the Association for New Global Thought approximately 15 years ago. This is the second year that Unity has held a Season of Nonviolence, which began on January 30 and extends to April 4th. “It’s the bookends of the assassination of Ghandi and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, both individuals whose mission in this world was to promote nonviolence,” said Reverend Patricia Bessey of Unity Church.

The premise of the season, Bessey said, is to educate people around nonviolence. “We take that very seriously. One of the goals and objectives at our ministry right now is to promote a culture of compassion and nonviolence, so entering into the season is a way for us to really bring it to people’s attention,” she said.

In addition to the upcoming workshop, the church has hosted two other speakers, sends a daily email message with a quote around nonviolence along with a reflection question, and hosted a class on compassion and nonviolence. “Our whole emphasis is seeing that nonviolence is a way to peace in our world,” said Bessey.

Chappell is a West Point graduate, Iraq War veteran, and former Army captain. He currently serves as the Peace Leadership Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Chappell has authored five books to date in his seven book Road to Peace series. 

Chappell said the work he does allows people to talk about how to solve world issues. “We have all these serious problems that people don’t know how to fix,” he said. These include problems on a personal level all the way up to a global level. “The world is not really doing a good job solving these issues,” he said.

After leaving the Army, Chappell said he realized there is a better way to solve our national and global problems, as well as realizing that there are inaccuracies in the way people understand how these problems came about. “One reason we have so many problems and trouble in coming up with solutions is because we don’t understand the real underlying causes,” he said.

His workshop is open to people from all backgrounds. “As long as they show up willing to dialogue and learn it turns out to be a good thing,” he said. All people need to attend is a willingness to learn and discuss the issues. 

Throughout the two days, Chappell said he talks about how to end war, and how to solve national and global issues. “I really do it by focusing on a different perspective on the human condition,” he said. He added that he tries to stay away from easy answers and quick fixes often presented that don’t really have long term impact. 

 The 2-day Peace Leadership in Difficult Times will be held at Unity Church on March 11 and 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Lunch is included on both days. Preregistration is required, and admission is by donation. 

“We wanted to make it available to everybody, so we did not want to put a dollar amount on it,” said Bessey. “We feel strongly that people will give according to what they receive, and we did not want to limit anybody from being able to come.” 

Chappell will also be giving a talk titled “Why World Peace is Possible,” on Sunday, March 13th from 12:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Admission for this event is also on a donation basis.

To preregister for the 2-day workshop, call 207-893-1233 ext. 5. For more information about Unity Church, visit their website at

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