The first meeting of the newly formed Thomas Merton Society Interfaith Chapter of Southern Delaware will be held Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 6:30 p.m., hosted at Epworth United Methodist Church, 19285 Holland Glade Road, Rehoboth Beach.
"Soul Searching, The Journey of Thomas Merton," a documentary film by Morgan Atkinson, will be shown and guest speaker, David Golembowski will set the theme for the chapter’s 2013-14 program year, “Why Merton is Relevant for Us Today.”
Aired on PBS in 2008, Morgan’s film examines the life of a modern American monk considered one of the great spiritual thinkers of the 20th century. It was a remarkably rich life and has prompted the millions who read Merton to characterize him as part Augustine, part Emerson and part Gandhi. Merton's writing took on many of the struggles of the 20th and 21st centuries. His thinking brought him praise, censure and the reputation as one of the most influential writers of his time.
Award-winning producer Morgan Atkinson spent years researching Merton's work, as well as interviewing Merton's friends, scholars and authorities on the spiritual life. Atkinson's cameras reveal life at the Merton's home at the Abbey of Gethsemani, as well as his path through New York City, the Redwoods Monastery in California and New Mexico's Christ in the Desert Monastery.
Speaker for the evening, Golemboski, is a doctoral student in the department of government at Georgetown University, where he studies political theory, focusing on the liberal tradition, religion in public life, and Catholic social thought. Prior to studies at Georgetown, David worked as a lobbyist for NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, sponsor of the “Nuns on the Bus” campaign, where he lobbied on healthcare reform, nuclear arms reduction, and global trade policy.
He graduated from the University of Louisville and Harvard Divinity School. His writing has appeared in America, Commonweal, The Merton Annual, The Merton Seasonal, and other publications. In Louisville, Golembowski was active with both the organization Interfaith Paths to Peace and the Center for Interfaith Relations. He has served on the International Thomas Merton Society board of directors and is currently co-chair of the ITMS Retreats Committee. David is also chair of the board of directors for Witness for Peace, a grassroots organization working for peace, justice, and sustainable economies in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This newly-formed chapter, organized and moderated by Mary Helms and George Beckerman, is an interfaith group. Beckerman commented, “During this past year, we found many other residents in our Southern Delaware communities with strong interest in Thomas Merton’s writing and his views on social justice, the environment, and war and peace. His spiritual journey is a compelling story that has relevance for all ages. This chapter is a way to bring this community of interest together in meetings and conversations, to learn about the endlessly fascinating Merton and to consider the merits of his values and ideas for ourselves and for our communities.”