The Words of the Rosenblum Family
Believers of many faith traditions shared bread, prayers, and words of wisdom April 4th at the InterFaith America Community Breakfast, held at the Jain Center of Northern California in Milpitas. A Jain spiritual leader welcomed all to the venue and opened the program with a meditative and contemplative musical prayer. This touch was a beautiful and relaxing start to the morning. Mr. Carl Hagen, a longtime member of the Unificationist community, did a masterful job throughout the morning as Master of Ceremonies. He kept things on schedule and helped create the warm atmosphere and respectful spirit that all of us felt. Two young adults of our Bay Area Family Church community attended this April event -- Eiko Tsukamoto and Maria Anceney.
During the delicious, healthy buffet breakfast-- served by the Jain Center staff of volunteers -- the 60 attendees were treated to inspired background music -- classical guitar, played by Mr. Mark Denni, a key organizer of this Interfaith America event.
“How to Overcome Hatred with Love” in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi (who was mentored by a Jain spiritual master) was the theme of the day. The first speaker, the regional leader of the Amadiyaan Muslim faith community, spoke convincingly. Many said they were grateful that this teacher could share how his religious convictions had helped him practice this heavenly precept.
The second speaker was the youth director of the San Francisco Bay Area’s United Religions Initiative (URI). This young lady passionately shared her testimony and heart as she expressed her joy to see people from all over the world, from so many different faiths, coming together. She recounted several experiences that gave us hope that the barriers that divide us can and will be dissolved through inter-religious dialogue and reconciliation. She was truly inspirational!
The highlight of the Interfaith meeting was the series of 20-minute table discussions wherein all participated and shared -- based on selected questions - and the brief reports from a representative from each table. In his closing remarks, Dr. Hanif Koya, cofounder of Interfaith America, proposed several options for action.
At the program finale, participants gathered in a large circle, held hands, and were treated to a moving and heartfelt closing prayer by a local Interfaith leader.
After the program, guests lingered to make new friends, check out the various displays, and sample literature from the different faiths represented. Soon afterward, our hosts graciously offered a guided tour of the worship temple upstairs. The Jain sanctuary is a palace of splendor and spirituality! Indeed, participants got a memorable introduction to the ancient Jain religion, one of the major faiths of the Indian Subcontinent.
Special thanks are due to all who attended and helped make the program a success, and particularly to Reverend and Mrs. Joshua Cotter for their excellent leadership and support of a series of interfaith events that honor the theme “One Family Under God.” The next InterFaith Community Breakfast is planned for Saturday, July 18th, at the Bay Area Family Church.
Contributed by David Rosenblum and Mark Denni
(Editor’s Note: Interfaith activities are part of the Unificationist tradition established by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Reverend Moon has led many interfaith conferences with the conviction that through proper dialogue, peoples of different religions can come to mutual understanding and respect. When people of all religions can love one another in peaceful harmony, that will set the foundation for the world to become one kingdom of peace and harmony.)