Long-time peace advocate to speak in Alpena

Alpena Peace Coalition hopes to address the emotionally-charged divide among people with opposing political views through a discussion planned Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at Alpena County Library.

Rev. Peter Dougherty, a Catholic priest with the Diocese of Lansing who has devoted the last 35 years to the cause of peace, will speak on “We Are Good People Divided – What to Do?”

Rev. Bob Case, who serves on the Alpena Peace Coalition team, said a divide already existed within the country but that last year’s presidential election served to exacerbate it even further.

“Even within our own families, we sometimes have heated disagreements,” Case said. “We need to know how we can talk to each other when we don’t share the same beliefs.”

Fellow Peace Coalition team member Carol Skiba agrees that civility needs to be brought back into the picture.

“We need each other,” she said. “You don’t start out a conversation with ‘I’m right, you’re wrong.'”

Both Case and Skiba believe that Dougherty is a good choice to address those concerns since he has made it his life’s mission to encourage peace and unification. He is the founder of the Michigan Peace Team, now called the Meta Peace Team, that advocates for nonviolence, including in the Middle East.

Dougherty was honored in Mumbai, India in November 2009 with the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values Outside India. Since then he has been invited to speak locally, nationally and internationally to audiences of all ages, creeds and races.

This is Dougherty’s fourth visit to Alpena on behalf of the Peace Coalition.

Other Peace Coalition events scheduled during the upcoming week as part of the annual 30 Days of Peace effort, is the showing the DVD, “Rethinking Capitalism,” and a discussion afterwards. The program will be held Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church.

Skiba said the DVD traces the economic picture of the country from its beginning to what capitalism has done to negatively impact it. Case will lead the discussion following the DVD screening.

Also planned is a showing of the movie, “Freedom Song,” starring Danny Glover. The movie is the compelling saga of the Civil Rights movement and chronicles unsung small town citizens – a father, a son and a movement that would change America forever.

“Freedom Song” will be shown Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church.

Each week during the 30 Days of Peace, a peace liturgy also is given by Rev. Bill McClure on Wednesdays at noon at Trinity Episcopal Church. All are welcome to attend.

Below are the scheduled events for the week of Sept. 17-23.

∫ Sept. 17 – Guest speaker, Rev. Peter Dougherty, 2-4 p.m., Alpena County Library, “We Are a Good People Divided – What to Do?”

∫ Sept. 18 – Showing of DVD and discussion, “Rethinking Capitalism,” 3 p.m., Grace Lutheran Church

∫ Sept. 20 – Peace liturgy, noon, Trinity Episcopal Church

∫ Sept. 22 – Showing of movie, “Freedom Song,” 6:30 p.m., Grace Lutheran Church