On Sunday, October 23rd the International Center Florida and the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, co-sponsored the United Faiths Walk of Peace, in Dunedin, Florida. Bay News 9, a local TV station covered the event. Here is the news story.
Two participants shared their views of this special day.
On Sunday, October 23rd, churches, mosques, temples, and other houses of faith, including the Taoist Tai Chi Society, joined the Dunedin community to walk in peace through Dunedin, learning about the teachings of peace in each faith along the way. We were invited to walk, talk, and connect in community and camaraderie as a sign of hope that the world might live in peace. The event was sponsored by the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. As we awaited our guests in the Taoist Tai Chi practice hall, we anticipated only a few participants. Boy, were we surprised when 150+ people came through our doors. We were happy we had set up the microphone just in case it would be needed. In our brief discussion, we discussed the three religions tradition that Master Moy transmitted to us, which seemed fitting on a day like this to share with many faith traditions. Taken from the book A Dual Path of Cultivation it notes our path starts and ends with compassion towards all sentient beings: «performing good deeds and rendering services to the community cultivates compassion.» We ended with a short chant from the sutra of clarity and stillness. How wonderful it was to not only warmly greet our many guests, but also to be warmly greeted by them when we visited their places of faith.
– Libby Craig
Building Bridges of Understanding and Tolerance
In our fast-paced world, we have many stress-filled days, but today was a day for peace and understanding. Pastor Becky Robbins-Penniman of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd had the vision to bring various religions together in Dunedin to promote peace and goodwill among the various congregations. Two hundred plus participants started our walk in Hammock Park after hearing a song by Rabbi Danielle Upbin of Congregation Beth Sholom on her guitar. Together we walked down the trail, talking with friends and new acquaintances about who we are and our understanding of each other deepened with each step. Our next stop was at Dunedin Masjid al Salaam, which was my first visit to a mosque. Iman Abdel Monem Dobal was most congenial and open in showing everyone the inside rooms. He dispelled many fears of Islamic life and open discussions were lively and educational for all. Our next stop was our very own Taoist Tai Chi Society of USA. Walking almost four miles is quite a challenge, and by now my hip joints where hurting a bit but my spirit was still buoyant.
Bill Sweetnam gave a brief discussion about who we are as a combined group consisting of Fung Loy Koy Institute of Taoism and Taoist Tai Chi Society and how we observe the unified teachings of the three religions of China: Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. He also described how we teach the 108 moves of Master Moy Lin-shin, with our main goal of dual cultivation of both body and mind at the center. Libby Craig gave a brief explanation of our altar, explaining many items on it, and about Guanyin (Goon Yam), and how she is the bodhisattva of compassion. Debra Farr and company gave a wonderful rendition of the heart sutra in English and in song. The heart sutra is from the wisdom of the Buddha and is a perfect teaching of non-attachment and the doctrine of emptiness. It was quite moving; my mind was at peace and centered after listening to this sutra. We wrapped up our walk at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd.
– Glen Carlin
Participating in this United Faiths Walk of Peace were:
- Dunedin Masjid – ISNP مسجد السلام, Masjid al Salaam
- Taoist Tai Chi Society of USA, Dunedin
- Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Dunedin
- Congregation Beth Shalom, Clearwater
- First United Methodist Church of Dunedin
- First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin
- St. John’s Episcopal Church, Clearwater
- Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Clearwater