By Evan Koslof
Sherborn — In front of a sold-out crowd at the Peace Abbey in Sherborn on Sunday, a man stepped out and put his hand up as he cleared his throat.
“I am Jimmy Tingle,” he said. “And I’m running for president of the United States of America.”
Tingle, who admitted that he has never held elective office or had any legislative accomplishments, said he is running on his “comedic record.” Tingle, far from a politician, is a stand-up comedian.
The satirical sketch, based on a fake run for the presidency, was part of a fundraiser put on by the Peace Abbey in an effort to save its organization, which has recently been threatened by foreclosure.
Tingle, who did the performance for free, said he did so because he thinks it’s important that nonviolence organizations such as the Peace Abbey stay afloat.
“This is a special place,” he said. “People come here because they have a hope and earning for peace, and they find that they’re not alone.”
The stand-up performance, which cost $75 for entry, followed a show by the T and A jazz band. The band members, most of whom were volunteers for the Peace Abbey, also performed for no charge.
Dan Dick, the bass player, said that he wanted to perform because the place means so much to him.
“This is a very special place,” he said. “It transforms people who come here.”
Lewis Randa, the director and founder of the Peace Abbey, said that the organization was forever thankful for Tingle, whom he described as a “one-man peace movement.”
Randa said that events like these are important because they help fund an organization, which he said is essential to establishing a culture of peace.
“It’s a beacon of light in a world darkened by war, greed and suffering,” he said.
Dot Walsh, the program coordinator for the group, said that the Peace Abbey prides itself on being open to all people, and urged more people in the area to attend.
“We don’t have enough Dover-Sherborn people who know about this place,” she said. “I want them to know we embrace and welcome them.”
The Peace Abbey, founded in 1988, is known for promoting nonviolence and social justice. At the Abbey’s conference center, weddings and special services are held as well as training in nonviolent civil disobedience. The center has had many distinguished visitors including Mother Teresa, Maya Angelou, Muhammad Ali and Daniel Berrigan.