Later on Thursday, May 10th, we attended a “Teatime for Peace” at Trinity Cathedral.
We have written about “Teatime for Peace” several times in this blog. Counting this occasion, we have actually attended four of the sixteen sessions that have taken place in various Houses of Worship in the Cleveland/Northeast Ohio area.
As Ms. April Stoltz, the key founder of the program, explained to us, “Teatime for Peace” was initiated due to the anti-Muslim rhetoric that took place during the 2016 U.S. Presidential primaries. Its purpose is to bring people of different faiths together so that they can converse and establish common ground; quite often participants discover that they have more in common than what they initially thought and were able to build bridges between religious cultures.
This was accomplished through the process of small-group discussions in which we were encouraged to ask each other such questions as:
***When did our families first immigrate to the United States and what has been our history here?
***How does our faith traditions or life philosophies inspire us to better our community?
***Do our faith traditions/life philosophies promote acceptance of those who are different?
***in this current political climate, how can we work to value and promote respect of diversity in race, religion, and ethnicity?
Of course much of the program was wisely aimed at making people more familiar with the Islamic faith. Accordingly, in addition to the discussions, we were addressed by our friends Amir El Hajj Khalid Samad about the history of Muslims in the U.S. and by Mr. Isam Zaiem about the challenges faced by Muslims at this time.
Along the way, Ms. Raja Samad spoke of the “Arts4Peace” program for young people and Sister Ivana gave a moving personal testimony about what wearing the hijab meant for her.
The greeting and closing words were offered by Dr. Paul Gaston, Acting Dean at Trinity Cathedral. Dr. Gaston said that it was great that we were all coming together as a result of a shared commitment to learning and understanding as well as the pursuance of peace through friendship and partnership.
At the end of the evening, we came together to sing the a hymn appropriately titled “All are Welcome” that contained the words, “Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live…”
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC