2016 – Reconciliation

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Write Six Words On Religious Diversity

At the January, 2016 Celebration of Abraham we focused on Reconciliation. Using a tool developed by Michele Norris’ Race Card Project, we asked everyone to think about the idea of religious diversity and to distill their thoughts into a six-word phrase or sentence. We provided the following examples generated by the planning committee of the Celebration of Abraham:

Walk with me into the future.
Though Jewish, I too know love.
My history says to fear you.
Standing together, we can face fear.
I am Muslim, I am American.

We have compiled the answers folks gave into the following slide show:

 

“Do your little bit of good where you are: it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”

                                                          Desmond Tutu

The Community Conversations

Each year after the speakers present information on how the traditions might approach the topic, everyone participates in Table Discussions. This year we have organized the discussions in a new way. We have divided the space into four related justice topics. Two groups deal with specific justice issues facing Davis and Yolo County: homelessness and people from other countries who lack the documentation to legally reside in the United States. The other two topics focus on building an inclusive just community: restorative processes for resolving conflicts in our community and building a coalition among those individuals and groups who are working for equal justice for everyone. The five groups represented in the Interfaith Fair for Justice have worked with us on developing the table conversations. (See more below) We will invite individuals attending the Celebration to sit in the area they most would like to discuss.

The Ritual

At the first Celebration of Abraham, we shared a small ritual to emphasize that we believe this work is a sacred responsibility. The two-part ritual comprised washing each other’s hands and breaking bread together. Each action is preceded by a Christian, Jewish and Muslim prayer. We have included this hand washing and bread sharing each year. All communities have rituals and this one has brought us closer together and reminded us of how blessed we are to be able to come together to discuss our differences.

The Service Projects

From the beginning the Celebration of Abraham has closed with an act of love toward the larger community. Some years we have raised funds for local groups like the Yolo Food Pantry. Other years we have raised money to help the survivors of the Super Hurricane Haiyan. This past summer, when we chose who we would support with our donations, Israel and Gaza were at war. Hoping to help the people living through those wars we chose two educational groups working with children and youth to support.