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Interfaith coalition promoting peace

January 23, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com

Leaders of a local interfaith group hope to get people thinking about the power of nonviolence in the coming months as part of an international campaign called “A Season for Peace and Nonviolence.”

During the 64-day campaign, which runs Jan. 30 through April 1, the Interfaith Coalition of Washington County will host peace-related events and submit a series of columns to run in The Herald-Mail about modern-day peacekeepers and practical tips for keeping the peace, coalition coordinator Ed Poling said.

The dates of the campaign mark the anniversaries of the assassinations of nonviolent activists Mahatma Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., 63 and 43 years ago respectively, Poling said.

Sandy Boyer, a minister at the Unity church of Hagerstown, suggested that the Interfaith Coalition promote the campaign locally, Poling said.

Boyer said she thought the campaign presented a good opportunity to promote nonviolent conflict resolution and living a life of peace.

“Most of us repeat the way our parents dealt with conflict, unless we consciously learn another way,” she wrote in an e-mail.

The grass-roots movement is nondenominational and focuses on the principles of Gandhi and King, which Boyer said can be applied effectively today in individual lives, and in family and community situations.

Columns by Interfaith Coalition members will run every other Tuesday, beginning Jan. 25 and continuing throughout the season, Herald-Mail Executive Editor Jake Womer said.

Some of the columns will tie in with the topics of monthly meetings of the Interfaith Coalition, Poling said.

The Feb. 9 meeting will include a presentation on the life and teachings of Gandhi by the Rev. Toni Fish of Unity in Frederick, Md., and the March 9 meeting will include a discussion about women’s rights in Islam coordinated by Salih V. Yumlu, a member of the Islamic Society of Western Maryland. Both meetings are at 7 p.m. at Hagerstown Church of the Brethren.

This is the 14th year for A Season for Peace Nonviolence, which was co-founded in 1998 by Arun Gandhi of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and the leadership council of The Association for Global New Thought.

Launched each year at the United Nations, annual Season of Peace and Nonviolence events have been hosted in more than 400 cities in 18 countries, according to The Association for Global New Thought website, www.agnt.org.

If you go ...

What: Interfaith Coalition meeting and presentation on the life of Mahatma Gandhi

When: Feb. 9, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Hagerstown Church of the Brethren, 15 S. Mulberry St. in Hagerstown

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