Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Raheem
was-salaat was-salaam ala Sayiddina Muhammadin wa ala alihi wa sahbihi wa sallam
The following are some details of the interfaith dinner we held in Berkeley, September 27th:
A pot luck dinner was held at 6pm in the home of Bajaudeen and Sharifah Sweet in Berkeley to celebrate religious unity. It was called, "a feast for friendship". Three key speakers were introduced. Sharifah met with these individuals before the event where they decided that the speaches would center around showing the guests the different "thumb prints" of each approach to God. The speakers were: Father Greg Comella, a prominant Catholic priest from the East Bay,who spends his time teaching in local religious colleges and giving retreats around the world. Shaykh Yassir, Muslim Imam of the Masjid al-Iman in Oakland, who spoke and played traditional sufi instruments, and Vicki Dello Joio, creator of "Way of Joy" Chi Kung, who spoke about and demonstrated her approach to Taoism from her 20 years experience as a Taoist practioner and educator. Other guests who also spoke to the group were Ruby Taylor, a member of the Oakland Christian community, who, after spending time in South Africa, is leading a personal crusade to collect books to carry back to Africa this October. And lastly, a closing song was led by Bob Essert, Senior Warden (chief lay officer) of St Alban's Episcopal Church in Albany. Also present was Br. Suleyman Ahmed Stephen Schwartz, of the SF Chronicle.
Bishop Swing and his Pastor, James Stickney, ae invited to attend our next event on November 15th in San Leandro. Bishop Swing is very interested in creating a spiritual "U.N." to be centered at Glide Church in San Francisco, where their parish headquarters are centered. All three key speakers have volunteered to return for more of the same in November. And a 15-year member of Transendental Meditation has asked to also attend to speak on his approach to spirituality.
About 40 others attended, a wonderful mixture of many cultures and religious beliefs. For example: three nuns who are taking classes at nearby St Alberts made a big impression on several of the younger guests. Karimah Dhul-qarnayn made incredible dessert treats. The Sweets served two legs of lamb. And all of the guests pitched in together to bring a real "feast".
The next event will take place at Dr. Gerry Down's home, in San Leandro. Ms. Downs is a local author, missionary and Catholic lay presenter, who teaches for Isaiah Ministries, a organization that sponsers guest preachers to locations accross the United States and in 23 other countries.
Sharifah Sweet be coordinating speakers, etc. It is the hope of our organizers that many more such events take place in the East Bay at volunteered homes of individuals who believe in the concept of of "Feast for Friendship".
We hope we will see you at the next event.