THE LAMP OF THE MESSAGE
A Journal for the International Community
Report from Seattle
In Seattle, we have begun offering public Universal Worship since last March at a Conservative Synagogue on Sunday afternoons. It has made a very slow start, for many reasons, but I am still optimistic. I deeply believe that the service needs to be available to the public, and that our houses do not make an accomodation for this goal. We set ourselves up as a non-profit through the SO, calling ourselves the Universal Worship Center. So we're trying to go the whole route, keep finanacial records, hold services weekly and advertise them publicly, and interact with a different faith community.
I have learned a tremendous amount through holding the service in a synagogue (I was raised Catholic), and really see the need to have Jewish scriptures separate from Christian Bibles more than ever. (I'm not commenting on anyone else's practice, but it was always "easy" to use a Bible with "Old Testament" scriptures, and I have seen it done and done it myself many times.) I am hoping that as our service grows, we will invite ministers (priests, bikhus, swamis, etc) to come and give the sermon on their own religion.
I have to say that I have not been inspired by the infrequent services I have participated in where representatives from different faiths come and read scriptures chosen by us as their participation. It diminishes, in my view, the emphasis on truly valuing diversity, and allowing expression for different religious beliefs to occur on their own terms. The Church of All may be "the" religion, as Murshid said, but this can only happen through very, very carefully presenting the service as one which honors all religions.
Well, off my soap box - glad to be part of this dialogue, and love to all, Nizam