1 in 7 Billion

by anonymous on September 30, 2013
There are 7 billion people in the world.  This story is about how one person can make a difference.
Dr. Donnal Walter, and his wife Debby, have been members of St. Margaret’s for 15 years.  In that time, Donnal has been a faithful, yet soft-spoken member.  Active as an acolyte, and regular in adult Christian formation classes, Donnal is recognizable for his disarming smile, his thoughtful questions, and his calm exterior. 
In recent months, however, Donnal has taken a bold step out of his comfort zone to organize what became the “1 in 7 Billion” Film Series.  It started with a simple idea to have a showing of a documentary at St. Margaret’s to raise awareness about the climate crisis, but with the encouragement of others, it evolved into a series of four films on different topics to be shown on a theatre screen and publicized broadly in the community.
“Donnal had a great idea, and I knew his gentle but strong passion would be a good example for others,” said the Rev. Mary Vano.  “He just needed a little encouragement to see the potential.”
Over the course of four months, Donnal organized the showing of four documentary films at the Market Street Cinema.  “Two underlying themes became clear: compassion and unity” said Donnal. “My goal in the end was to show to the participants that compassion and oneness are the answers to the crises facing our planet and our society.” The films included “Do the Math” about climate crisis, “Occupy Love” about movements of love and unity around the world, “A Place at the Table” about hunger in America, and “The Day after Peace” about the International Day of Peace. 

The results were exciting.  With 106 people in attendance, the largest crowd gathered to see “A Place at the Table”, but all of the movies were well-received, and attracted people from all over the local community.  The documentaries not only raised awareness of critical issues, they also sparked discussion – both in the theatre, and in social media – and inspired some to volunteer more and to start campaigns for change.  It brought together leaders and activists from around the state and made them aware of St. Margaret’s.  This simple film series may have far-reaching results.
It all began with one faithful man, a simple idea, a little encouragement, and a lot of talking and sharing.  “For years I have taken comfort in claiming that I am not an organizer,” said Donnal. “I guess that excuse is now out the window. It still does not come naturally to me, and I will still rely on others whose true gift is organizing, but now I know that when called upon I can do better than I had long thought.”
“In the heightening crises and in the midst of hatred and fear, I believe we see signs around the world of God bringing people together in love and unity. I believe that this film series was just one small part of this movement.”
To learn more about Donnal’s passions, visit his website at http://1in7b.net/

Read more about our Celebrations:
A Renewed Vision of Love
Rally Day: Gifts of Life