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Antelope Valley Interfaith Council | United in support, study, dialogue and action

Antelope Valley Interfaith Council Invites You To Our:

Twenty- fourth Annual Community Thanksgiving Service

“What Does Gratitude Do For You?”

A Joyful Celebration of Gratitude through Music and the Performing Arts followed by
a Thanksgiving Traditional Community Meal

7 PM Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lancaster United Methodist Church
918 West Avenue J, Lancaster

Our Love Offering will benefit the AVCOA Meals on Wheels Program for Seniors

Bring your favorite traditional Thanksgiving dish to share (No Pork Items, Please).

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The photo above is from today’s (May 3, 2013) Antelope Valley Press article about our National Day of Prayer Service last night at the Center for Spiritual Living.

Imam Omeira was a wonderful keynote speaker and Rev. Ron Sparks a terrific master of ceremonies.

Heartfelt prayers were given by Sanah Burhan (Muslim), Sarge Chavez (Buddhist), Lisa Cowley Morgenstern (Asatru), and Bishop Rich Heredia (Orthodox Catholic).

Joe Noone sang a rousing rendition of “I’m Proud to Be An American,” which received a standing ovation.

After the service, we had refreshments and fellowship.

Thanks all for coming and hope to see you again at our Thanksgiving Service in November!

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“I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make other less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I loved long enough to find it out.”

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Michele Chavez, Nichiren Shu Buddhism

I love interfaith because when I listen to others speak about their faith traditions, there is always something beautiful that I find within each of them. I know that many people like to believe that they have the one and only way, the Truth, and that nothing else is worth listening to or learning from.

How do we decide what religious teachings have value and which do not?

Back in the time of the Buddha, there were many ascetics and roving preachers who declared they had the Truth. In the area of Kesaputta, the native Kalamas found this plethora of different philosophies and doctrines to be quite confusing. Having heard something about the Buddha, when he arrived in Kesaputta, the Kalamas decided to ask him how they could tell what was true and who to follow:

“There are, Lord, some ascetics and brahmins who come to Kesaputta. They explain and elucidate their own doctrines, but disparage, debunk, revile and vilify the doctrines of others. But then some other ascetics and brahmins come to Kesaputta, and they too explain and elucidate their own doctrines, but disparage, debunk, revile and vilify the doctrines of others. For us, Lord, there is perplexity and doubt as to which of these good ascetics speak truth and which speak falsehood?”

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Deborah Shelton, AVIC President

“Shine from Within,” see your true self and needs and begin to live a life of joy and happiness! You will find these words in the publication which is an introduction to the Konko Faith. Sunday, July 29th I and many others were invited to attend a Tenchi Kane no Kami Grand Ceremony and Opening Ceremony of the Konko Church of Lancaster. The event was held at the Hellenic Center in Lancaster. The ceremony was full of prayers of mediation, purification, and adoration to Kami. Offerings were made, a key note speaker Rev. Rod Hashimoto delivered a congratulatory message, a sermon was given on, “What is Konko Kyo,” by Rev. Kyoji Muta, a Hymn, “Shinjin No Eiko,” by the Konko High School Band was done, a closing prayer, solemn greeting, and recessional ended the service. Then a group picture was taken including one of everyone present. The local church is located on West Ave. K-7 in Lancaster with Revs. Yoshiko and Toskhio Ota as the leaders.

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In this world hostilities are never
appeased by hostility.
But by the absence of hostility
are they appeased.
This is an interminable truth.

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Richard Chavez, Nichiren Shu Buddhism

I am a link in Lord Buddha’s golden chain of love
that stretches around the world.
I must keep my link bright and strong.
I will try to be kind and gentle to every
Living thing, and protect all who are weaker
Than myself.
I will try to think pure and beautiful thoughts,
To say pure and beautiful words, and to do
Pure and beautiful deeds, knowing that on
What I do now depends my happiness and misery.
May every link in Lord Buddha’s golden
Chain of love become bright and strong, and
May we all attain perfect peace.

–Nichiren Shu Service Book, p. 68

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Joanna DiGiovanna, Baha’i Faith

O Thou kind Lord!
This gathering is turning to Thee.
These hearts are radiant with Thy love.
These minds and spirits are exhilarated
by the message of Thy glad-tidings.
O God! Let this American democracy
become glorious in spiritual degrees
even as it has aspired to material degrees,
and render this just government victorious.
Confirm this revered nation to upraise
the standard of the oneness of humanity,
to promulgate the Most Great Peace,
to become thereby most glorious and praise-
worthy among all the nations of the world.
O God! This American nation is worthy of
Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy.
Make it precious and near to Thee
through Thy bounty and bestowal.

–Abdu’l-Baha

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Farivar Roshanian, Baha’i Faith

At this season we reflect on the spiritual significance of thanksgiving with the following words of Abdu’l-Baha, son of Baha’u’llah, Founder of the Baha’i Faith. Abdu’l-Baha shared these thoughts when he visited the United States in 1912:

“Thankfulness is of various kinds. There is a verbal thanksgiving which is confined to a mere utterance of gratitude. This is of no importance because perchance the tongue may give thanks while the heart is unaware of it.

“Many who offer thanks to God are of this type, their spirits and hearts unconscious of thanksgiving. This is mere usage, just as when we meet, receive a gift and say thank you, speaking the words without significance. One may say thank you a thousand times while the heart remains thankless, ungrateful.

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Rev. Maxine Schiltz, Revealing Truth

When Gabby Giffords and others were shot in Arizona, 1/8/11, President Obama stressed the importance for American people to develop and use CIVILITY.

What is civility?? In the words of former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates it means “treating everybody with dignity and respect.”

Civility also means more than polite courtesies. It is derived from the Old French and Latin term for “good citizen.” It is an essential component to survive. There is greatness in treating others with respect, compassion, kindness and generosity, so that we can make a difference in the lives of many. This certainly replicates the Golden Rule, a tenet of all religions.

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