As I child I was reared in the Christian faith, the United Methodist Church to be specific. This time of the year as Easter approaches was always a time for reflection, prayer, and preparation to celebrate the triumph of Christ over the power of death. For many Christians the Lenten season and Easter holds special meaning, and many express their faith in a series of ways during March and April. For me, the time is an opportunity to contemplate the meaning of death and life.
I, like many of you I suspect, have been deeply troubled by current world events highlighting the struggles of human life.The earthquake in Japan, the conflict in many Middle Eastern countries, and continued reports of strife in many parts of our world. It truly does make me consider questions like, "Why do we have to fight one another?" "What does my faith teach me about conflict and unrest?" "What is my responsibility to those who are suffering while I enjoy such freedom and prosperity?" The questions are many, and in my humble opinion the answers are complex, if they can be answered at all.
So, as I reflect upon this Easter season, my daily work, and the mission of Interfaith Ministries I find myself coming to the following conclusions. Each one of our acts of getting to know someone different from ourselves contributes to the salvation of our world. Each time we extend compassion, mercy, or a helping hand to anyone in need we answer a higher calling. Each time we make a choice to learn about our neighbor rather than make a judgment because of the way he or she prays or the clothes he or she wears, we become ambassadors of peace.
I encourage you to not become too comfortable, but to make an effort to really understand someone from another faith tradition or another culture. I encourage you to be a living testament to those around you that people of various backgrounds and faiths can live in harmony. This month I invite you to join me in celebrating that death is not the end of the story, redemption and life are always waiting to break into our reality.
Join us for our upcoming events and make a new friend who can teach you about his or her faith tradition. Give us a call if you want to visit a Hindu temple or a Baptist church but you don't know where to go. Let us know how you and your community will make a positive difference in Houston this month. Reach out and be a forceful presence of life, joy, and compassion in our city! To all my brothers and sisters from every faith tradition who are celebrating sacred holidays this month, I send you and your communities my heartfelt blessings. I wish for us a world where we experience life more than we experience death.
Don't forget to scroll all the way down the page.
Director of Interfaith Relations
Women's Spiritual Gathering
April 28, 2011
Zoroastrian Centerof Houston
878 West Airport Blvd
Houston, TX 77071
Members of Houston's Zoroastrian community will share a brief 30 to 45 minute educational presentation on their beliefs and practices. Following the presentation attendees will engage in a question and answer session.
To Register click here.
Religions of the Silk Road
May 1st & May 8th
International Kids Stage
Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston and The High School for performing and Visual Arts will collaborate to bring to the International Festival a play enititled Religions of the Silk Road.
The production will be an exciting tale of a young merchant traveler who must complete an important mission to secure his family's future. Along the journey the young man will encounter difficult situations, learn from wise religious teachers, learn how to be both a successful merchant and a compassionate man. The play will have exciting elements for people of all ages, and will be the first of this production for the international Festival and Interfaith Ministries! Don't miss it!
CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS
Groups of 20 or more recieve discount
Participating communities include Chung-Tai Zen Center, Friends of Confucius in Herman Park, Hindus of Greater Houston, Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism, Jain Society of Houston, Lakewood United Methodist Church, Rain Drop Turkish House, Zoroastrian Association of Houston
A special thank you to our many friends who are helping to make this event possible!
Upcoming iFaith Events:
May 15, 2011
iFaith DiversiTea: Coffee or Tea? One lump or two? Fear people or meet them?
Meet new people at our totally new take on interfaith events! The iFaith DiversiTEA is based in the concept of quick Duo logues* where: 2 students meet for 5 minutes over refreshments and then move on to each meet a new person.
All are welcome on May 15, 2011
*Duologue see: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/duologue
June 21-23, 2011
9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Join with other student leaders from across Houston for 3 days of fun, interfaith service and exploration. This letter's featured activity: Interfaith Forensic: Use CSI techniques to solve the mystery!
| Dinner Dialogue in a Box|
Questions for Dinner Dialogue Groups Many of you have let us know that you are continuing to meet with your Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogue groups and we are thrilled to hear that great news! Each month you will find in this section a few discussion questions that you can use for your follow up meetings!
We would love to hear about how your groups are doing and any activities that you all choose to do together!
1. "The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances."
Is there a story or tradition in your faith that teaches you about starting over after a chapter in your life has closed? If you are from the Christian tradition, share with your group what the resurrection means to you.
2. "Passover affirms the great truth that liberty is the inalienable right of every human being."
What do you consider true liberty? What does your faith tradition teach you about how to address situations where an individual or a group does not have liberty and/or freedom?