Dig­ging in for a week of prayer

The Leader (Tasman) - - OUT & ABOUT - TIM O'CON­NELL

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 lisas­uthers93@gmail.com 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.

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