Gloucester Meetinghouse UU symposium- Finding Common Ground: American Culture, Gun Violence, 2nd Amendment

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press release shared with GMG:

Upcoming symposium hosted by Gloucester Meetinghouse foundation at historic Gloucester UU  Church (Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church) May 19, 2018 FINDING COMMON GROUND: A SYMPOSIUM ON AMERICAN CULTURE, GUN VIOLENCE AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT

SATURDAY, MAY 19, FROM 2 TO 6 P.M., AT THE GLOUCESTER MEETINGHOUSE

Spurred by national concern about mass shootings, a symposium in Gloucester on Saturday, May 19, will put a fresh focus on gun violence, examining both the intent and application of the Second Amendment and the differences among us that led to an impasse in addressing the problem. The afternoon program, at the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church, is sponsored by the Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation. It will include:

  • Students from Gloucester High School speaking about the growing youth movement against gun violence;
  • A presentation by former Essex County District Attorney Kevin Burke on issues surrounding the intent of the Second Amendment’s language on the right to bear arms and its application today;
  • Remarks by Mark Nestor, a Vietnam veteran who as commander of Gloucester’s American Legion Post 3 oversaw a unanimous vote by Post members favoring tighter regulation of firearms;
  • Discussion by Cape Ann clergy on the moral imperative for action with diverse approaches;
  • A panel discussion that will include John Rosenthal, a Boston businessman and Gloucester resident whose national organization, Stop Handgun Violence, campaigns to reduce firearms deaths.

The keynote speaker is Colin Woodard, author of “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America.” The Washington Post described this book as “a compelling and informative attempt to make sense of the regional divides in North America in general and this country in particular.” MaineBusiness.com said it “explodes the red state-blue state myth” and describes how conflicts between cultures “have shaped our country’s past and mold its future.”

This symposium is occurring as our country experiences outrage over the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting and a powerful new youth movement is taking shape with the intent to make sure it never happens again. Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation vice president Sandra Ronan describes it as “an event to help restore civic dialogue by seeking common ground on an emotional and difficult subject.” Richard Prouty, a lifelong educator and former director of Project Adventure in Beverly, will be moderator.

The program begins at 2 p.m., is separated into four segments with 15-minute breaks, and will conclude at 6 p.m. with a ceremonial ringing of the church’s Paul Revere bell, for freedom. The community is welcome to attend all, or only some, of the segments. Written questions will be welcomed and reviewed for replies from the panel in the final segment.

The program is free with voluntary donations invited. Refreshments will be available. The event is part of the Meetinghouse Foundation’s 2017-18 Concert & Lecture Series. The nonprofit, IRS-recognized Foundation was founded to help preserve and increase public use of the 212-year-old Meetinghouse. The structure is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the church founders are recognized for their role in establishing religious freedom in Massachusetts, well before that guarantee was made in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

            The Meetinghouse is located at the corner of Middle and Church Streets in downtown Gloucester and has easy access for persons with disabilities at the side entrance at 10 Church Street. Parking is available on the Meetinghouse Green, in lots nearby in the Central Gloucester Historic District, and at St. Peter’s Square.

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INSPIRING CITY OF GLOUCESTER INAUGURATION CEREMONY 2018

One couldn’t help but be inspired by the good words and deeds of our city’s finest leaders at today’s inauguration ceremony. Cape Ann Museum director Rhonda Faloon gave a warm welcome followed by Gordon Baird’s pitch perfect rendition of “God Bless America.” Young community members were represented by the GHS Docksiders, the Presentation of Colors by GHS Junior ROTC, and the Mayor’s grandchildren and niece AJ, Bianca, and Lia led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Alexandra Grace sang a beautiful rendition of the “National Anthem.”

Rabbi Steven Lewis and Reverend Rona Tyndall gave an interfaith invocation. Alexandra Grace and Josh Cominelli sang James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” because, as Alexandra pointed out, Mayor Sefatia is a friend to all.

Poet Laureate John Ronan read his Gloucester-themed poem “We, Helmsman.”

PAARI/ Stop Handgun Violence Founder John Rosenthal gave a tremendous speech, congratulating the Mayor and the community on the success of the Angel program.

Senator Bruce Tarr gave a moving introduction highlighting the very personable ways in which Mayor Sefatia brings the community together.
Musical interludes performed by Charlee Bianchini, Jack Tomaiolo, Fly Amero and Allen Estes were performed in between swearing in ceremonies.

School Committee members Kathleen Clancy, Tony Gross, Jonathan Pope, Michelle Sweet, and Melissa Teixeira took the oath of office. Jonathan Pope was elected head of the School Committee.

We have a fantastic newly elected City Council comprised of Melissa Cox, Valerie Gilman, Ken Hecht, Steve LeBlanc, Jenn Holmgren, Paul Lundberg, Scott Memhard, Sean Nolan, and Jamie O’Hara.  Paul Lundberg was elected president of the City Council, with Steven LeBlanc elected vice-president. We are going to see great leadership and initiatives from this fine group!

Your new City Council President and Vice President Paul Lundberg and Steven LeBlanc.

Mayor Sefatia gave an inspiring address, touching on a wide range of subjects, ranging from the tremendous ability of our community to work together to new initiatives and plans to help prepare our coastal community for global climate change. Congratulations and best wishes for a successful 2018 to all our city officials!