Home  l Current NEWSLETTER l Regular Events l  From the Editor Resources  l Event Reports l

l Columnists l Essays l Contact l Mission l Peace Poetry l  

  Interfaith Unity 

is a free publication of Interfaith and Inter-Spiritual activities, news, and resources, 

in Toronto, Southern Ontario, Nationally and Internationally

Event listings are run free of charge. Please submit by the deadline date shown on the current newsletter.

Contact us at:  info@interfaithunity.ca

 

TO SUBSCRIBE: Send name, e-mail address and phone number to: info@interfaithunity.com

VOLUNTEER PUBLISHING 

TEAM:

 

Rev. Terry Weller

Publsher/Editor, Layout

Webmaster

416-801-5597  

 

Rev. Leslie Gabriel Mezei

Founding

Publisher

416-226-2869  

Additional

volunteers

are welcome

to do some

research,

reorganize

& expand the Resources

Section, start

a Directory

of Interfaith Organizations,

help maintain

the subscriber list, etc.

info@

interfaithunity .ca

 

 
 

 

 

Columnists:

 

 

Leslie Gabriel Mezei

 

Interspiritual Experiences

 

Leslie Gabriel Mezei, April 23, 2009

 

When we meditate and pray together, it is not our faith and our beliefs that join, but our spirits resonate on the plane of Unity. I have had a number of such occasions recently I would like to share with you.

Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough

On Saturday, March 14th, a group of us presented a Sufi afternoon retreat to the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough www.peterboroughunitarian.ca in the building they share with the Beth Israel Jewish Congregation. The theme of this experiential event was Attunement to the Divine. After a brief introduction to a universal interfaith path to spiritual growth introduced by Hazrat Inayat Khan almost 100 years ago, www.soitoronto.org , we experienced various meditation practices. In the Universal Worship service we concentrated on sacred chants of the various religious and spiritual traditions as a way of attuning to the many Messengers of all times, in the presence of the candles lit symbolically to represent each, with their sacred books peacefully existing alongside each other. With the simple Dances of Universal Peace we fully engaged our bodies, hearts and souls.

I was particularly moved by the constant deep attention over a three-and-a-half hour period, and open, meditative attitude of the two-dozen people attending, with no previous experience. Afterwards we got to know each other as individuals at a potluck dinner.

Pathways of Markham

Pathways www.pathwayschurch.ca is sponsored by the United Church, and calls itself a 21st Century Christian Community, meeting at the Heritage Centre in Unionville. As Rev. Mary Joseph, their pioneering Spiritual Director, wrote: "For those who are seeking... Pathways offers a safe, creative and inspiring space to share and explore with others the possibilities, purpose and peace that comes from exploring not only the teachings of Jesus but other faith and wisdom traditions as well."

On Sunday, March 15th, Raheel Raza taught them Islamic prayer, the following week Cantor David Rosen of the Beth Radom Congregation conducted a mock Passover Seder ceremony, preparing the Pathways congregation for their annual Seder dinner. And on March 29th, I conducted a complete Universal Worship service there. Since I like to lead the chants of various traditions with the ney, a Turkish bamboo flute, it was a pleasure to have the help of a drummer (their President) and a lead singer (their Music Director.) I also enjoyed their advanced technology: All the prayers, readings and music were projected on a large screen from a computer, so that everyone could follow without poring over sheets of paper. They are also pod-casting the services on the web, currently in audio format. Our service can be found at: www.pathwayschurch.ca/service

The whole community was encouraged to share their reflections on the theme, Unity, and to ask questions. I again rejoiced at how people resonate to the basic message of all spiritual paths: our fundamental Unity, and the confidence and hope we can gain from realization of the sacred nature of every one of us.

Terry Weller’s pictures of the event are at http://picasaweb.google.com/Interfaith.Unity/UniversalWorshipServicePathwaysChurchMarkhamMarch2909?feat=email#

 

 

Milaad un Nabi, Zikr and Jerusalem slides in a Christian Church

Eternal Spring United Church in Hamilton hosted a three-pronged special event on Friday, April 11th. We saw slides of the life-changing trip the Muslim Raheel Raza and her husband took with a United Church minister and his wife to Jerusalem, which she has described for us at

www.interfaithunity.ca/essays/Raheel%20in%20Holy%20Land.htm They did not let their adventures to gain admittance to some of the holy sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam dampen their awe in the presence of the source of so much of the faith of the Abrahamic religions. Some of their slides are reproduced in my pictures of this evening’s events at

http://picasaweb.google.com/LeslieMezei/Sufi090411#5327251469973207954

Then we celebrated Milaad un Nabi, the birth of the prophet Mohammed, Peace Be Upon Him, with readings, chanting, prayers, and a song by a small women’s choir.

All this in a room filled to overflowing with Christians in their own habitat, Jews, Muslims and others. The colourful costumes and head coverings of the Naqshbandi Sufis of Toronto, of all races and shades of colour, especially stood out. Their North American Shaikh, Imam Abdul Haqq (Peter) Sazonoff

www.naqshbandi.org/about/speakers/sah_long-bio.htm (Building Bridges Towards Justice, Peace and Understanding) was with us from Chicago—a Westerner with a striking long beard, piercing eyes and a warm smile. He talked about our lifelong search for who we are, and who our Creator is, quoting a Qudsi Hadith, considered to be a saying from a divine source, explaining our creation: "I was a hidden treasure and wanted to be known."

SoulTV called it "an interfaith embrace of powerful magnitude." Their video at http://soultv.net:80/index.php?program=873 brings to life the fervour of the music and movements of the zikr (Remembrance of God) ceremony. For an hour we stood shoulder to shoulder in a circle, all who wanted to join, swaying side to side, forward and back, to the beat of the drums and music of the instruments, the chanting growing louder and louder, and the piercing ululations of the women. Something opens my heart on such occasions; I forget my self-consciousness and enter into another state of relaxed concentration, unfocused awareness, floating on a sea of spiritual feeling—very different and more long-lasting than the usual emotions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rev. Leslie Gabriel Mezei (leslie@barberry.ca ) is a Minister of the Universal Worship and Founding Publisher (2002) of the Interfaith Unity e-mail newsletter and on-line Resource Centre (www.interfaithunity.ca)