Library Events: Talk on Controversial 19th Century Minister; Film Brings Women from Armenia, Turkey Together

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A still from the film "Haven't We Shared Much Salt and Bread Together?" which brings together women from Armenia and Turkey in the kitchen.

The Rev. Mark Harris will speak about the Rev. John Weiss, a controversial minister in Watertown from the 19th Century.

The Watertown Free Public Library will host a talk by the Rev. Mark Harris on a controversial 19th century minister, and a the screening of a film about women from Armenia and Turkey coming together to cook.

The Watertown Library provided the following information:

John Weiss: Watertown’s Flame of Fire An Historical Lecture by Rev. Mark W. Harris


Called a “flame of fire” for his dramatic and prophetic style, the Rev. John Weiss was a controversial figure in 19th century Watertown. As a young minister, he was an outspoken advocate for the abolition of slavery and resigned from Watertown’s First Parish Church because of his views. After a ministry in New Bedford, Weiss returned to Watertown and developed new religious philosophy of scientific naturalism. His beliefs caused a firestorm of religious and political radicalism. Always a supporter of Watertown’s schools and library, Weiss was the first chairman of WFPL’s Board of Trustees.

In celebration of Watertown Free Public Library’s 150th anniversary, Rev. Mark Harris will give a special talk on the legacy of John Weiss. Rev. Harris is retiring as minister at First Parish after 23 years. An author and historian of Unitarian Universalism, he has also served as Director of Information for the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Presented by the Historical Society of Watertown and the Watertown Free Public Library.

A still from the film “Haven’t We Shared Much Salt and Bread Together?” which brings together women from Armenia and Turkey in the kitchen.

Film Screening: Haven’t We Shared Much Salt and Bread Together?


Women from Gyumri (Armenia) and Kars (Turkey) come together to challenge the hostile narrative rooted in traumatic past and the current political stagnation between their countries by cooking the traditional recipes from the region and sharing the food with the wider communities across the closed border between Armenia and Turkey. While working side by side in the kitchen and determined to come up with a recipe for peace, they deal with the prejudices and intolerance in the society as well as question their own perceptions and beliefs. Join us for this powerful documentary, then hear the filmmakers discuss the challenges and rewards of making this film.

Ihsan Karayazi has spent most of his professional life working in different capacities for civil society, local governments as well as the United Nations. He has done extensive work with a number of NGOs in Kars – Eastern Anatolian city bordering Armenia. For the past decade, Ihsan has taken part in various rapprochement efforts between Armenia and Turkey. He is a co-founder of non-profit Kars Urban and Culture Research Association (KasKa) working for cultural and societal development in Kars region, and developing cross-border cooperation with the neighboring Caucasus.

Armine Avetisyan is a native of Armenia. She is a graduate student in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence (COEX) program at the Heller School at Brandeis University. Armine has been involved in nonviolence work creating bridges of communication between people, separated by the closed border, for over a decade. She has been working on the creation of platforms for people from Armenia and Turkey to come together and open up the possibility for dialogue through various forms of arts and culture, namely visual arts, music, cinema, and food.

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