Editor’s note: In 2011, for the fourth time in a row (and running), the Library Journal Index of Public Library Services, a public library rating system, designated Telluride’s Library a five-star institution. The Wilkinson Public Library ranked fifth in the nation among public libraries with annual budgets of $1 – 5 million, hence the name of library director Barb Brattin’s semi-regular column. This very special installment of Barb’s semi-regular series focuses on an upcoming event. In this political season full of so much hate-mongering, a film and discussion about forgiveness might feel like a breath of fresh mountain air.

Forgiveness is perhaps both the most difficult and the most powerful act we can imagine. Even the little things at work or at home, the slightest bruises to our egos or the smallest misunderstandings can fester into lifelong hatred. Imagine, then, how victims of genocide, racism, or violence can possibly come to forgive dark acts against them.

In the new PBS film, “Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate,” acclaimed writer, producer and director Helen Whitney explores a compelling range of stories, from personal betrayal to global reconciliation after genocide. The Wilkinson Public Library, with support from the Fetzer Institute, is proud to bring this film to the Telluride community.

On Tuesday July 17, our Library continues its “Building Common Ground: Discussion of Community, Civility and Compassion” program series by hosting this three-hour film, with ringmaster Ehren Borg from the Telluride Institute’s  Compassion Festival.

We plan to begin the evening at 5 p.m. with  h’oeuvres. The screening starts at 5:30 p.m. Following the film at 8:30 p.m. a panel of local leaders whose work is deeply mired in the theme of compassion will speak.

Panelists will include Michael Saftler, Jewish Community Leader; Keri Yoder, District Attorney; Nancy Anderson, co-director San Miguel Resource Center; Pat Bailey, Pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church; Tree Cooper, Alpine Chapel Pastor; Deacon Mike, St. Patrick’s Church, and Jonathan Barfield, Buddhist Scholar.

The program was originally to be hosted by Judge Sharon Shuteran in April. In honor of Sharon, who died suddenly in May, and the compassion she brought to her work and her community, we will serve her famous carrot cake recipe, prepared by The Butcher and the Baker.

Please join us in this important discussion as we explore our capacity to bring more compassion and forgiveness into our homes, into our community, and into our hearts.

Special thanks to our panelists, the Telluride Compassion Festival, and to the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute for providing support for this program.

Watch the following video for a preview of “Forgiveness.”

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