skelton

John Skelton spends a few minutes of silent meditation in Schouler Park in North Conway on Friday. Skelton is helping organize a "peace walk" to the park next Monday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Guidance or instruction on meditation will be offered. Masks are required. (JAMIE GEMMITI PHOTO)

CONWAY — In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a group has scheduled a Peace Walk for Monday, Jan. 18.

The walk, being sponsored by Being Peace Mount Washington Valley, will depart from the base of Eagles Way near Kennett High at noon and head north to North Conway Village’s Schouler Park. It will take place along the sidewalk on Route 16. Participants will wear masks and be socially distanced to stay safe from COVID-19.

John Skelton, a member of the group, said the walk is to “honor the legacy and message” of King, the civil rights leader who was slain on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn.

Others involved in the walk include Andy Davis, co-director of the World Fellowship Center of Albany; Heather Macleod of Brownfield, Maine; and Candy Chaplin of Intervale.

The group is creating a website, beingpeacemwv.org, and is posting news of the walk on Davis’ Facebook page.

Once in the park, Skelton said there will be events starting at approximately 1:30 p.m., lasting about 30 minutes and centering on a theme of peace. A "peace tree" — described by Skelton as a cutout with space for messages of peace to be written on it — will be set up in the park.

He said the group welcomes “all to come in a reflective spirit of nonviolence and respect."

Skelton added: “Signs of non-divisive messages are encouraged for walkers to carry. Make your own, or signs will be provided. Activities at Schouler Park will center on the theme of being peace in the context of Martin Luther King, Jr., with emphasis on his non-violent approach. Closing remarks and practice circle will occur at approximately 2:30 p.m.”

That evening, the World Fellowship Center will also co-present with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Eastern Slopes of Tamworth a Zoom meeting program beginning at 6 p.m. It will feature Arnold Farr of the University of Kentucky and Rhode Island-based storyteller Valerie Tutson as well as Shana Aisenberg, musical director of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. For more information, call Davis at (603) 452-4446 or for the link to attend the event, email him at andy@worldfellowship.org.

Skelton said Being Peace Mount Washington Valley is also planning a peace vigil in Schouler Park to coincide with Inauguration Day next Wednesday, Jan. 20, beginning at 10 a.m. and winding up around 11:45 a.m. ahead of the televised inauguration of President Joe Biden in Washington.

It will include sitting meditation and walking meditation, with meditation instruction given. Like Monday’s gathering, a peace tree will be set up.

“We ask people to attend for whatever time their schedule allows,” said Skelton.

Asked to comment on last week’s attack on the Capitol by followers of President Donald Trump to try and stop the certification of the results of the Nov. 3 general election, Skelton said he hopes that people will turn to peace, not violence.

Both of next week's planned events are intended to encourage that peaceful goal and awareness, he said.

For more information, email Skelton at shinjo0227@yahoo.com or go to beingpeacemwv.org.

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