Several months ago the members of the GKCIC agreed that they would like to experience more spiritual substance at the regular monthly business meetings. They agreed that devoting the first hour to faith sharing would set the atmosphere, expand their understanding of the various faiths, provide a forum for guest speakers, and attract the community to the programs. The idea has proven itself to accomplish these goals.
In June, Bob Bacic prepared an opening program on “The Role of Mary in the Roman Catholic Church.” He brought out that Catholics may have varying opinions about the historic Mary and her identity, but as a designated Saint, she is revered. Many pray to God through the Saints, who, as models of the faith, serve as intercessors and have virtues to be emulated. The “Hail Mary” is an important prayer for Catholics who use the Rosary as a part of their worship. There have been many apparitions of Mary, some of which have become ongoing pilgrimage sites for Catholics.
In July, Linda Boyce, Pagan, invited faith members to share their views on gay marriage. It was an enlightening session with a variety of ideas. Generally, faiths in which marriage and family play an important part in worship opposed gay marriages, while faiths in which marriage is not a part of worship accept it.
In August, Muslim member, Zifulgar Malik and friend of the Council, Shahidah Hazziez, shared how their haji/haja to Mecca deepened their faith and changed their lives. Shahidah wrote a book about her experience for her daughter and all Islamic sisters in the faith.
Baha’i guest speaker, April Campbell Jones, titled her sharing, “Black Lives Matter.” She talked about growing up in the South where prejudice was acceptable. But when she was exposed to the Baha’i faith she learned through its teachings that all are one family and that the faith expects its members to have close friendships with those other races. Interracial marriages are encouraged. Today the Baha’i congregations are among the most integrated of faith traditions. Members do not get involved in politics, but share their faith by being examples of equality, justice, forgiveness, unity, and compassion.
All agree that these programs have enriched their understanding and are fulfilling the desire to “know and be known,” appreciating all points of view, and providing a safe place for expressing various points of view.