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May 09, 2017

Experiencing Interfaith Music on the Labyrinth

Participants reflecting Houston’s diverse cultures and faith traditions came together April 26 to walk the Tree of Life Labyrinth at Grace Episcopal Church, as part of the 2017 Compassionate Houston Week. The evening was co-sponsored by Grace, Congregation Brith Shalom and Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston (IMGH). 

After a warm welcome, the group was called together in the tradition of the Islamic call to prayer by Ameer Abuhalimeh from the Islamic Da’wah Center and led to walk the labyrinth as music and chants from Jewish, Buddhist and Christian traditions provided a meditative backdrop.

Participants moved from inward contemplations of self and the sacred to an outward response to others, as joyous music from the Hare Krishna Temple and Cultural Center filled the sacred labyrinth space. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hare Khrishna devotees and those from additional faith backgrounds joined hands in the labyrinth and danced.  Sister Deborah Ann Fuchs, CDP, a Catholic nun, said: "I liked that people felt so free and engaged that they danced together. This is another way of praying together." 

Judy Myers, who is Jewish, said, "The Hare Krishna dance was so like our hora, joining together hands and dancing in a circle to music. We are more the same than different as people." Likewise, Fatih Ozlan, a Muslim from the Dialog Institute, said the dancing reminded him of the Whirling Dervishes in the Sufi tradition. Many people left the event echoing Phyllis Gingiss's final remarks: "Reaching out from ourselves and our faiths to others in and beyond our community in support, acceptance and harmony through ‘common paths,’ as expressed in the Labyrinth, allows us to achieve a more peaceful, compassionate, and sustainable world.”