Digging in for a week of prayer
This time last year Pope Francis sent a letter to the 30th Prayer Meeting on Mount Hiei in Kyoto, Japan, inviting all religions to ‘‘pray and work together for peace.’’
In October throughout the Nelson region, that is exactly what took place.
The Interfaith Council of Nelson-Tasman worked collaboratively with many different religions to bring about ‘A Week of Prayer for World Peace.’
The week began on October 15 with an opening service led by the Baha’i Faith at the Queens Gardens, and ended with the bicentenary birth of Baha’u’llah on the following Sunday.
It was attended by members of other faiths who paid witness to the incredible commitment that the Baha´’ı´ faith have towards their ruling principles of justice, harmony and equality.
Ruth Halsey reflected that ‘‘Baha´’ı´s do not view these principles as mere statements of vague aspiration—they are understood as matters of immediate and practical concern for individuals, communities, and institutions alike.’’
Inspiring messages such as these set the tone for the week.
A Nichiren Buddhist event followed on the Thursday, with IFC secretary Lisa Suthers admitting the group was ‘‘deeply touched by the level of support and warmth flowing from those of other faiths.’’
On Friday, The Methodist Minister, David Poultney from St John’s in the City compiled a service for ‘peace’ which included stories, prayers, poems and scriptures from different faiths and cultures around the world. On Saturday, Dean Mike Hawke led an interfaith service at Nelson Cathedral along with Archdeacon Andy Joseph from the Anglican Maori Mission Diocese and a performance from Te Waiaro o Pikimai kapa haka group
The culmination of a week of prayer ended last Sunday with a multi-faith celebration that included the planting of a Kowhai ‘Tree of Peace,’ by Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne on the playground garden next to the Richmond Town Hall. A Prayer Tree was also created so that people could write prayers or inspirational verse to hang on the tree.
A ‘graffiti cloth’ supplied by a visiting American Baha’i, Claudia Gold, encouraged attendees to write their thoughts and reflections of the day so that she may unite the Interfaith Council of Nelson-Tasman with the Interfaith Council of the USA.
‘‘I saw the flowers of the garden of humanity take place in the spirit of dialogue, from the openness of its participants and the friendships made that day,’’ Interfaith Council
Soheil Ighani said.
The next IFC meeting is on November 10 at St John’s in the City, reflecting on the The Book of Joy, written by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.
Those interested in the Interfaith Council can contact Lisa Suthers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 188 7886. chairman
Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne planted a tree with members of the Nelson Tasman Interfaith Council as part of Prayer Week.