6/22 Diversity in Worship but Unity in Action

Salah Beltagui

On Sunday we attended some church services and visited a Buddhist “Church”.  This led me to reflect on the three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  During these three days, I attended congregational prayers in a mosque, a synagogue, a church and in open air.

These prayers have so much difference in style, sermons and actions.

They were held in buildings which were so much different from each other.  The mosque is converted small house, men were praying in the main room and some were in an adjacent room, women in another room.

The synagogue had a large hall where people sat, sang then moved and danced.

The church of St Mary has a proper church building with good space and seating for the worshippers.

The extra open air service in the Park and the distribution of food for the homeless was an enjoyable action as much as it is a real community leading piece of work.

The places of worship were an indication of the community. However, without going into more details, I would like everyone to reflect on the diversity we have been through, and think of the most distinctive features of these three actions.

The sermons in all cases were enjoyed by everyone and were all of a high quality in that they were topical, with relation to health or father’s day. There was good exchange with the audiences.

My main conclusion is that with all these variety the final spiritual effect is the same and they all should lead to making life better for those attending and those receiving help from them.

This confirmed my understanding of Inter Faith work as the motivation of people of faith into social action.

The visit to the Buddhist Church has raised a critical point in the language of the interfaith dialogue– that not all religions have God as the creator or supreme power, and the monk indicated his discomfort as he listened to this language. I hope we find a way to deal with this problem.

In contrast to this we noted the use of the word Church in naming the temple. We were told that this was done to make it more familiar and appealing to the people, especially after what happened to the American Japanese during the Second World War.

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