Spreading random acts of kindness
West Linn's UNITY Center celebrates its 'Season of Non-Violence' with 40 days of simple gestures
When the UNITY Center first brought 40 Days of Kindness to Lake Oswego, the Rev. Victoria Etchemendy says, there were lots of surprises.
Young people from the center delivered cocoa and cookies to Lake Oswego police officers and firefighters, delivered plants and did many other little big things. On one occasion, a member of the UNITY congregation saw a homeless person in McDonalds and proceeded to buy the man a hamburger, talk to him about his interests and then bring him several books to read.
There are so many ways we can reach out, Etchemendy says. Now were excited about doing this in West Linn. Weve got our sights set on things we can do.
Starting Jan. 31 and continuing through March 6, UNITY Center members are once again putting into practice the principles of kindness that begin with simple acts in our daily lives, says Etchemendy, who brought the UNITY ministry to the area in 1990. Its a kindness revolution.
The local congregation originally met at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, later moved to downtown Lake Oswego as the Unity World Healing Center and was renamed the UNITY Center when it moved to West Linn eight years ago.
UNITY itself was founded in Missouri in 1889 and has since spread around the world, practicing a progressive approach to spirituality that honors the universal truths in all religions and respects each individuals right to choose a spiritual path. Among its key tenets are harmony, empowerment, love and world healing.
Those same values may have been on Anne Herberts mind more than 30 years ago when she scribbled the words Practice random acts of kindness and perform senseless acts of beauty on a coffee shop napkin and then posted the note on the shops bulletin board. Herberts napkin provided a jolt of inspiration that led to a best-selling book and a worldwide movement dedicated to performing selfless acts.
And that led to 40 Days of Kindness at the UNITY Center, where Etchemendy says she enjoys all of the surprises that come from finding large and small ways to impact the community and inspire others to action.
Were going to keep track of all of our acts of kindness and share ideas, Etchemendy says. I like what the Dalai Lama said. I think kindness should be everyones religion.
The UNITY Center is located at 20255 Willamette Drive in West Linn. For more information, visit www.worldhealing.org.