Starting April 18 at 6 pm, Dave and Sue Oakes of Hope, co-founders of the Center for Ecological Living and Learning (CELL) will lead the first of four sessions of “Healing Democracy Circles” at the John Street United Methodist Church, 98 John Street, Camden. The series is inspired by Parker Palmer’s “Five Habits of the Heart” in which Palmer outlines behaviors we can develop that will permit “We the People” to reclaim our voice in democracy.
Dave Oakes and his wife, Sue, live in Hope, Maine, and have three college-aged children. They are the co-founders of the Center for Ecological Living and Learning (CELL), a non-profit organization promoting sustainability education. Sue is a graduate of Goddard College’s Sustainable Businesses and Communities program and Dave has a doctorate in Educational Administration with a research focus on teacher training in environmental education as well as a master’s degree in Science Education with a focus on environmental education
The Healing Democracy Circles series was inspired by Parker Palmer’s “Five Habits of the Heart” in which Palmer outlines behaviors we can develop that will permit “We the People . . .” to reclaim our voice in democracy. Many individuals feel disconnected, frustrated and disempowered by the increasingly rancorous, divisive partisan politics that has emerged recently. The purpose of the “Healing Democracy Circles” is to provide a safe, hospitable, yet charged, space for community members to come together and explore Palmer’s theories.
The sessions will teach that people from all walks of life to understand that (1) “we are all in this together,” The economists, ethicists, engineers and teachers are entwined with people of all other walks of life. Our togetherness should not exclude other points of view; instead we should (2) “embrace the value of otherness.” Most everyone in today’s world experiences tension that saps energy, but (3) “opening one’s mind to new understandings of other points of view can enhance one’s life.” That understanding can lead to an (4) “awakened sense of personal voice and actions, “so that one may discover the (5)confidence to speak out and make a difference. Ultimately, one may gain the capacity to create community around democratic ideas.
In the words of Terry Tempest Williams, “The human heart is the first home of democracy . . . Can we listen with our whole beings and offer our attention rather than our opinions?” The essence of Palmer’s message is that we must “all become gardeners of community if we want democracy to flourish.”
The Oakes’ Action Circles will focus on building our inner capacity to listen deeply to ourselves and one another. Sessions will meet 6 – 8:30 pm April 18, 25, and May 2 and 9. The cost of the four sessions is $15 per person to cover the costs of materials.
For further information, please call Dave Oakes at 230-4025 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.