June 16, 2019
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Orland Couple to Present Standing Rock Event at Unitarian Universalist Society of Bangor

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(contributed photo) | BDN
(contributed photo) | BDN
Shawn and Molly Mercer of Orland (left and right, foreground) last fall visited the Standing Rock Indian Reservation encampment in North Dakota, site of massive protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. They will present a multimedia meditation on their transformative experience on March 3 at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Bangor.

“A Line in the Sand: Reflections on Standing Rock, Our Hearts, and Healing the World,” a multimedia meditation featuring music, story and prose as an experience of the heart, presented by Molly and Shawn Mercer, Orland, Maine; 6 p.m., Friday, March 3, Unitarian Universalist Society of Bangor, 120 Park St., Bangor; donations accepted.

The Mercers operate a small family business, the Nancy Place Homestead & Hostel, in Orland, that sells local produce and also hosts visitors. The couple traveled to the Standing Rock reservation and lived from Nov. 27 to Dec. 6 in a small camper parked at what was known as the Rosebud Camp. They brought their own food and supplies to avoid being a burden to the camps.

Arriving during the first snow and enduring several other storms, the couple said they experienced no violence or confrontation during their time there. They were present when the well-documented group of military veterans arrived to support the protest, as well as when the initial Army Corps of Engineers made its announcement that temporarily stopped the pipeline construction from proceeding to the drilling phase.

After returning in early December, “we were compelled to share a message that we gleaned from our time at Standing Rock,” said Shawn Mercer, who also is a singer and songwriter who performs locally. “What we saw and learned was incredibly valuable to the times we are living through, and we felt that we had a responsibility to bring that forward into wider circles.”

“We would like to spread a message of hope and a calling to connect to our hearts,” Molly Mercer continued. “With open hearts, we can cultivate better human and planetary relationships, we can be better connected to ourselves, others, and our planet. Our open hearts are very much needed now, in this time, when both our humanity and our environment are critically at risk.”

The meditation covers specific reflections on the Mercer’s experience, including thoughts on such varied topics as carpentry, ceremony and conversations. It recently was presented at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth, where it was very well received, and it also is being presented in Portland.