On the weekend of January 14 and 15 Grace Congregational Church, UCC located at 6 Court Street in Rutland will host a two day Nonviolence Training Session to which the general public is invited. Co-facilitators of the event are former State Legislator the Rev. Dr. Steve Berry and Activist Glenn Cratty, both of whom are associates of Campaign Nonviolence, a national organization founded by author and activist Fr. John Dear who will be coming to Rutland in March. “ It’s either nonviolence of extinction,” said Fr. Dear from New Mexico, “ Steve and Glenn are committed to training for action in Vermont. My friend Bill McKibben has been kind enough to write a beautiful endorsement for my new book on saving the earth and I am hoping to be speaking at Grace Church on March 20th on my national book tour- so Tracy Weatherhogg of Grace Church suggested that Steve and Glenn offer the training before I visit Grace on March 20th. I think it’s appropriate that we launch Campaign Nonviolence in Vermont 2018 with this Nonviolence Training Weekend during the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. So thanks to the pastors, to Rev’s Tracy and John Weatherhogg of Grace Church and all the others both clergy and laity and the unchurched. All of us are in this together! I am excited. 2018 is an extraordinarily important time. We either work together to eliminate poverty,war, racism and environmental degradation or we end up destroying ourselves and all the beautiful creatures and life forms on our planet. Furthermore, I am really pleased to hear that the Lt. Governor of Vermont and other legislators are joining in to be part of the action at Grace Church this coming weekend. It will be great!” ( Fr. Dear has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu.)
As part of that program Rep. Kiah Morris will deliver a message following the Sunday afternoon teaching session and dinner. The message will focus on carrying on the Nonviolent Action in the spirit of Dr. King. Rep. Morris will be joined by local interfaith clergy and members of the wider Rutland area. Rep.Morris will also share her viewpoints on diversity, equity and Vermont’s future at a session on Monday morning. Lt. Governor David Zuckerman (P) and Senator Carolyn Branagan (R) will join other guests on Monday afternoon when they will be interviewed.
Guest speaker at the MLK service Ms. Morris is originally from Chicago. She lives in Bennington, Vermont with her husband James and their young son Jamal. She serves in the general assembly as a State Representative and is the first African-American and person of color elected from Bennington County and the second African-American woman to be elected to the legislature in Vermont history. In that capacity, she serves on the House Judiciary Committee and Vermont Judicial Nominating Board and is co-chair of the tripartisan Legislative Women’s Caucus.
This training in Nonviolent Action is part of a year long national sponsored by Campaign Nonviolence and Pace e Bene, the Southwest Association of the Vermont Conference within the United Church of Christ, Americans Take Action and SolarFest. For information or to register for the event click here.