Leona Evans holds a master of arts in religious studies. She is an ordained unity minister, a spiritual counselor, and a former chair of the metaphysics department at Unity School for Religious Studies. She is the coauthor, with Carol Keefer, of two books: Nothing Is Too Good to Be True!, which was also translated and published in Russia, and Spirituality and Self-Esteem. In addition, she coauthored and narrated a two-CD set, Meditations for Transformation: Awakening the Soul through the Enneagram.
Ordained in 1985, Evans has been the minister at Unity of San Luis Obispo, California, for the past twenty-two years, during which time she has taught numerous classes on the power of the mind to shape our destiny. Leona is an accomplished speaker and teacher, and her positive messages have been heard on radio and television stations throughout the world.
Evans is a former Broadway actress, recording artist, and cabaret performer, whose theatrical career of more than thirty years began when she was a small child. Eventually she was guided to study world religions and chose the ministry as a way of helping people understand that nonviolence among religions begins with the realization that the same God of love dwells in all people.
Evans is the proud mother of musician, filmmaker, and actor Matthew J. Evans, whose rich contributions to this volume have added author to his considerable list of accomplishments.
Leona is available to present her workshops and seminars at business conferences, spiritual centers, and educational venues.
An accomplished actor, musician, and award-winning young filmmaker, Matthew J. Evans was born in 1996 and is a native of San Luis Obispo, California. He played a feature role in Columbia Pictures’s comedy Bad Teacher, for which he received a 2012 Young Artist Award in Los Angeles.
A frequent guest star on a number of network television shows, Matthew appeared on the Disney XD series Lab Rats in 2014, for which he won another Young Artist Award. In 2015, he played a dramatic role in the feature film Dismissed.
A professional musician, Matthew sings and plays double bass, acoustic guitar, and bass guitar. He is also a documentary filmmaker, whose mission is to produce movies and videos that entertain, educate, and inspire audiences to find value and meaning in their lives and in the world.
In 2010, Matthew produced and directed a short film called A War Story, A Love Story, which won Best Documentary and Best in Festival at Interlochen Future of Cinema International Film Festival.
In 2011, Matthew produced and directed a documentary short film called Poetic Justice Project, which won Best Student Documentary at the Spirit Quest Film Festival in Pennsylvania, Best Young Filmmaker Documentary Short at the Red Rock Film Festival in Utah, and, in 2014, the Gold Jury Prize at the Social Justice Film Festival, Youth Visions Competition in Seattle.
In 2012, Matthew produced and directed a documentary short film called A Quest For Peace: Nonviolence Among Religions, featuring interviews with Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. During 2013–14, the film won awards at nineteen film festivals throughout the country.
A highlight of Matthew’s filmmaking career was receiving the first Teen Art of Making Peace Award in September 2014 from the Peace in the Streets Global Film Festival, presented to him at the United Nations third High Level Forum on a Culture of Peace by Former Under-Secretary-General Anwarul Chowdhury.
Author, speaker, humanitarian, and renowned peace activist Arun Gandhi has devoted his life to the philosophy of nonviolence as taught to him by his legendary grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi.
Arun says he’s frequently asked if Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings are relevant today. “His philosophies are based on love, respect, and understanding. If we question whether his philosophies are relevant, we question whether love, respect, and understanding are relevant.”
Arun calls himself a peace farmer. “Just as a farmer goes out into the fields and plants seeds and hopes and prays that he gets a good crop, I just go out and plant seeds and pray that those seeds will germinate.”