Staff Report

NORTH PORT — A North Port church will join about 30,000 people across the nation for an event of guided meditation this week.

America Meditates is set to take place from 6-7 p.m. Wednesday at the North Port Unity Church of Peace, 1250 Rutledge Street, North Port.

The church has a meditation session every Wednesday already — but this is joining a national effort. More than 100 churches are taking part in the U.S. along with others in Canada and Mexico.

“This is the first time this has happened to put this together,” said Miriam McCarron, a Port Charlotte resident.

The session is being connected to a summit currently underway in Denver. It is also looking at the years of stress and “in memory of Columbine” after the 1999 Colorado school massacre.

“It’s about mental health and not only are we having these same programs with the same focus across the country, it’s associated with the summit on mental health going on in Denver,” McCarron said.

McCarron said the team working with the effort are trying to help people learn the mental benefits of meditation.

“The focus on American Meditates is to look at the stress and violence in America — which everyone is aware of ... with the practice we have done ... we have spent years mediating and we come to a place of calm and clarity,” McCarron said.

In an email, McCarron said there is a benefit to being together in sessions.

“The America Meditates event is one such opportunity to make a difference. Studies have shown that when people gather in large groups to meditate or pray, there is a significant decrease in the surrounding environment,” she wrote.

The free event hopes to be the biggest meditation in U.S. history and will include music.

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