“In today’s America, we are very far away from living in true community. Everywhere we look, we see injustice. Anger, hatred, pettiness, disregard for life, greed, selfishness, prejudice, and denial abound,” says peace educator Harry Pickens. October 8 – 10, Pickens will be in residence at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary for a series of free lectures and workshops on “Sowing Seeds of the ‘Beloved Community."
The term “beloved community,” borrowed from Martin Luther King Jr., describes “a society, a world where the highest human expression of love in action, 'agape,' is a living reality,” says Pickens. The beloved community recognizes that “each aspect of creation is holy, sacred, and blessed,” one that is “permeated with love, compassion, wisdom, and justice…a society whose members act and live as though they are, indeed, made in the image and likeness of a loving Creator.”
Pickens, known worldwide as a jazz pianist, is seeking to get this message across to all who will listen. He believes that in order to halt humankind’s “race towards collective self-destruction” people need to learn to live together differently, with respect and in “co-creative, love-infused relationships.”
As the guest presenter for Louisville Seminary’s 2005-06 Edwards Lecture event, Pickens will lead three sessions on building the Beloved Community using story and dialogue. He will also lead two contemplative experiences that will incorporate the transforming effects of music and prayer.
By the end of the weekend event, Pickens hopes to lead participants in helping to address several questions: In these times of crisis, chaos, and catastrophe, how do we heed the call to create the Beloved Community? How do we find an inner place of deep communion with God in the midst of such turbulence? How do we learn to love ourselves without succumbing to the ever-present temptation towards narcissistic self-gratification that a consumer culture so powerfully encourages? And how can we create and sustain a Beloved Community that moves from "us and them" to "we/I and thou?"
Louisville Seminary is able to offer this extraordinary experience with this deeply committed artist, teacher, and visionary free of charge through the endowed Edwards Lectureship. This annual event honors local activist and former Seminary professor George Edwards and his wife, Jean Edwards. Each year, experts are invited to address issues of social justice and peacemaking.
Harry Pickens is a consummate teacher, professional speaker, and skilled facilitator, who employs the magic and mystery of jazz to help people live more fulfilling, joyful and productive lives. His career as a jazz pianist began more than 25 years ago, taking him all over the world and onto stages with Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, and Art Blakely, to name a few.
However, Pickens is also sought after for his leadership in social activism, particularly in peace education among congregations. With professional success in leadership training and marketing and advertising consultation, Pickens knows how to share his message.
“Sowing Seeds of the Beloved Community” will be held at Lousiville Seminary, and the event is free and open to the public. However, reservations are requested for planning purposes. Contact the Office of Lifelong Learning and Advanced Degrees at Louisville Seminary, 502.895.3411, or register online Schedule of Events