; charset=UTF-8" /> Ecumenical and Interfaith News – August : Connecting Voices
Free hacker tools

Ecumenical and Interfaith News – August

Submitted by the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee of the Pacific Southwest Region of the Christian Church (DOC) and the Southern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ.

World Council of Churches Convenes Meeting on Peace
The highest expression of the striving for church unity is represented by the World Council of Churches (WCC), a union of nearly 200 church bodies from most of the countries of the world.  The work of the WCC is often invisible to people in grass roots congregations, but it is a very important witness and has significant long-term effects.  Kingston, Jamaica was the host city in May for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation, whose guiding theme was Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”  This was the culmination of the World Council’s “Decade to Overcome Violence,” which has sought to support and give visibility to the peacemaking initiatives of its member churches.  The leaders of the convocation invited all its churches to “renew their commitment to nonviolence and just peace,” the latter phrase recognizing that there can be no true or full peace without justice for all.   There was worship and song in many different styles, and the prominent use of a Caribbean Christian prayer which was translated and recited in more than 20 languages.  Rev. Dr. Jayasin Peiris, general secretary of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka, described the convocation as the Church “striving to be the living Body of Christ.”  The convocation heard many stories of peace efforts which have been successful and transformative, but also took sober account of the great conflict and suffering which still exists in the world.  Christians around the world were invited to pray for the World Council and its member Protestant and Orthodox churches as they witness and work for peace.  Along with the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, it is fair to say that the WCC represents the closest humanity has come to true unity so far.
Naming God
Dr. Loletta Barrett, a member of EIRC, preached on May 29 at the University City United Church in San Diego on the variety of images of God on which  believers can and should draw.  She listed from the Bible, for instance, “Father, Mother, Creator, Spirit, Christ, Redeemer, Breath, Wisdom, Sophia, Lover, a Human Being with  eyes, ears, month, feet, hands, arms, heart, Alpha and Omega, Advocate, Author and Finisher of faith, King, Lord, Branch, Shepherd, Gate, Captain, Light, Rock, Fountain, Foundation, Glory, Rose, Lion, Savior, Consolation of Israel, Friend, Bridegroom, Bread, “I Am”, Yahweh, Star, Mother Hen, Eagle, Bear, Woman in labor.”  It’s clear that if we Christians could become more aware of the endless different ways God is imaged, our faith would become stronger and more inclusive.
In our day we are becoming enriched by knowledge of a treasury of images of the divine in the other great religions.  It is said that in the vast Hindu tradition of India there are 330 million gods, represented in extremely elaborate and loving art on thousands of temples.  In a previous era, Christians dismissed these images as “heathen” or “pagan” or even “demonic.”  Today we know better.  Hinduism has a very sophisticated strain of religious thinking which understands all the different gods of India as different expressions of the one divine energy or being.  The image of a beautiful diamond with countless facets and colors comes to mind.   The representations of Shiva, the dancing god, or the blue god Vishnu, who incarnates himself not only in human beings but in other creatures such as fish and turtle, or the monkey god Hanuman,  can increase our appreciation as Christians  for the mysterious and wonderful universality of the God we worship.  We will not change our faith in Jesus Christ as the one Lord and Savior of the cosmos, but we can see the images and names of God in the other religions as pointing to the greatness and inexhaustibility of the Creator.
An Interfaith Witness to a Sad Chapter in Our Nation’s History
Elsa Seifert of the EIRC was one of the people boarding a bus on April 30 to a spot outside of Lone Pine, in the Owens Valley, which has notoriety as an American concentration camp.  Known as Manzanar, the place became the place of forced internment, in effect a kind of prison, from 1942 until the end of World War II in 1945, for a large number of American families of Japanese origin who lived in Southern California.  None of these families had anything to do with the Japanese aggression at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere, but that didn’t stop our authorities from uprooting these people and interning them in this hot, dry, windy place.  Each year the bus Elsa took carries people of various religious faiths to pay their respects at Manzanar and to commemorate this suffering of our fellow citizens.  All participants stand for the entire interfaith worship service, which this year included adherents of the Christian, Shinto, Muslim, and Buddhist faiths.   There was glorious taiko drumming by Japanese students from UCLA.  Participants were given long-stemmed red and white carnations to place on the monument that has been erected there.   There is a small museum on the site which preserves some of the artifacts and history of life in the camp.  Else writes that the bus arrived back in Los Angeles at 9:00 p.m., and says, “This is an experience that will live forever in my heart.  I will never forget what my country did to the kind and gentle people who were Americans of Japanese origin, many of whom were willing to give their lives in military service to the United States.”
Appeal for New Members
These are lively and hopeful days for the Pacific Southwest Region (DOC) and the Southern California/Nevada Conference (UCC).   But one area which can really use some more energy is the witness to unity in which historically  both denominations  have been so strong.  If you are looking for a way to participate beyond your local congregation in an exciting area of work and witness, contact Dr. Jeff Utter, chair of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee of the Region and Conference).  626-794-1839.

World Council of Churches Convenes Meeting on Peace      The highest expression of the striving for church unity is represented by the World Council of Churches (WCC), a union of nearly 200 church bodies from most of the countries of the world.  The work of the WCC is often invisible to people in grass roots congregations, but it is a very important witness and has significant long-term effects.  Kingston, Jamaica was the host city in May for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation, whose guiding theme was Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”  This was the culmination of the World Council’s “Decade to Overcome Violence,” which has sought to support and give visibility to the peacemaking initiatives of its member churches.  The leaders of the convocation invited all its churches to “renew their commitment to nonviolence and just peace,” the latter phrase recognizing that there can be no true or full peace without justice for all.   There was worship and song in many different styles, and the prominent use of a Caribbean Christian prayer which was translated and recited in more than 20 languages.  Rev. Dr. Jayasin Peiris, general secretary of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka, described the convocation as the Church “striving to be the living Body of Christ.”  The convocation heard many stories of peace efforts which have been successful and transformative, but also took sober account of the great conflict and suffering which still exists in the world.  Christians around the world were invited to pray for the World Council and its member Protestant and Orthodox churches as they witness and work for peace.  Along with the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, it is fair to say that the WCC represents the closest humanity has come to true unity so far.   Naming God        Dr. Loletta Barrett, a member of EIRC, preached on May 29 at the University City United Church in San Diego on the variety of images of God on which  believers can and should draw.  She listed from the Bible, for instance, “Father, Mother, Creator, Spirit, Christ, Redeemer, Breath, Wisdom, Sophia, Lover, a Human Being with  eyes, ears, month, feet, hands, arms, heart, Alpha and Omega, Advocate, Author and Finisher of faith, King, Lord, Branch, Shepherd, Gate, Captain, Light, Rock, Fountain, Foundation, Glory, Rose, Lion, Savior, Consolation of Israel, Friend, Bridegroom, Bread, “I Am”, Yahweh, Star, Mother Hen, Eagle, Bear, Woman in labor.”  It’s clear that if we Christians could become more aware of the endless different ways God is imaged, our faith would become stronger and more inclusive.       In our day we are becoming enriched by knowledge of a treasury of images of the divine in the other great religions.  It is said that in the vast Hindu tradition of India there are 330 million gods, represented in extremely elaborate and loving art on thousands of temples.  In a previous era, Christians dismissed these images as “heathen” or “pagan” or even “demonic.”  Today we know better.  Hinduism has a very sophisticated strain of religious thinking which understands all the different gods of India as different expressions of the one divine energy or being.  The image of a beautiful diamond with countless facets and colors comes to mind.   The representations of Shiva, the dancing god, or the blue god Vishnu, who incarnates himself not only in human beings but in other creatures such as fish and turtle, or the monkey god Hanuman,  can increase our appreciation as Christians  for the mysterious and wonderful universality of the God we worship.  We will not change our faith in Jesus Christ as the one Lord and Savior of the cosmos, but we can see the images and names of God in the other religions as pointing to the greatness and inexhaustibility of the Creator.An Interfaith Witness to a Sad Chapter in Our Nation’s History    Elsa Seifert of the EIRC was one of the people boarding a bus on April 30 to a spot outside of Lone Pine, in the Owens Valley, which has notoriety as an American concentration camp.  Known as Manzanar, the place became the place of forced internment, in effect a kind of prison, from 1942 until the end of World War II in 1945, for a large number of American families of Japanese origin who lived in Southern California.  None of these families had anything to do with the Japanese aggression at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere, but that didn’t stop our authorities from uprooting these people and interning them in this hot, dry, windy place.  Each year the bus Elsa took carries people of various religious faiths to pay their respects at Manzanar and to commemorate this suffering of our fellow citizens.  All participants stand for the entire interfaith worship service, which this year included adherents of the Christian, Shinto, Muslim, and Buddhist faiths.   There was glorious taiko drumming by Japanese students from UCLA.  Participants were given long-stemmed red and white carnations to place on the monument that has been erected there.   There is a small museum on the site which preserves some of the artifacts and history of life in the camp.  Else writes that the bus arrived back in Los Angeles at 9:00 p.m., and says, “This is an experience that will live forever in my heart.  I will never forget what my country did to the kind and gentle people who were Americans of Japanese origin, many of whom were willing to give their lives in military service to the United States.”Appeal for New Members    These are lively and hopeful days for the Pacific Southwest Region (DOC) and the Southern California/Nevada Conference (UCC).   But one area which can really use some more energy is the witness to unity in which historically  both denominations  have been so strong.  If you are looking for a way to participate beyond your local congregation in an exciting area of work and witness, contact Dr. Jeff Utter, chair of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee of the Region and Conference).  626-794-1839.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free