|Temple Beth Shalom in Hickory, NC|
Last night members of the Hickory Humanist Alliance attended the first public interfaith service hosted by the Catawba Valley Interfaith Council to celebrate Human Rights Day. We were invited to do a secular reading at the service, but due to some communication issues we were not on the program. However, the organizers of the event were very welcoming to us and apologetic about the mix up. We look forward to participating constructively in some of their future meetings or events.
The service was held at Temple Beth Shalom in Hickory and began with the blowing of a shofar followed by a prayer to the "Creator and Giver of Life." After a short Christian hymn members of the different faiths represented read all thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR reading was followed with "sacred readings" by a Muslim, a Mormon, a Jew, a Protestant Christian, and a Unitarian minister who read from the Bhagavad Gita. These "sacred readings" were followed by thanksgiving and intercessional group readings led by ministers and a closing prayer by the rabbi. Finally, everyone sang "Let There Be Peace on Earth" (except some of us skipped the "God" verse).
For Hickory, this is certainly progress. I hope to see more diverse interfaith dialogue and events like this in Catawba County in the future...