Pathway to Peace: to be Continued

Pathway to Peace Interfaith symposium held at First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth leads the way for the power of peace to influence culture.

Pathway to Peace 8.16 DSC_0109If the standing-room-only crowd gathered in Wesley Hall Sunday night was any indication, the potential for faith communities to influence peace in our global interfaith community is not only a dream, but a rapidly growing reality. “Pathway to Peace,” an interfaith symposium hosted by FUMCFW, brought together speakers and members of three major faith communities to talk about similarities, differences, and a way forward together.

“Our topic is creating peace, understanding, and unity rather than divisiveness through presentations and dialogue as leaders share the beliefs and teachings of our Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faith traditions based on scriptures and traditions,” said Rev. Chuck Graff, Associate Pastor of Adult Ministries, who organized the event along with Najm Saqib, Director of Faith Outreach, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Fort Worth.

Pathway to Peace 8.16 DSC_0151After a welcome by Dr. Jim Riddlesperger, TCU Professor of Political Science, and Rev. Chuck Graff, the dialogue began, moderated by Dr. Rebekah Miles, Professor of Ethics and Practical Theology at Perkins School of Theology and Director of the Graduate Program in Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University.

By sharing their faith traditions and perspectives on “How we together can establish peace in our society today” this panel of speakers then opened the floor for discussion, comments, and questions that allowed the capacity crowd gathered to interact with the speakers and with one another in this wonderful opportunity for three faith communities to hear and share new information on the true teachings of peace from these major faith perspectives.

“Our goal for this evening was simple,” event organizers agreed. “It was to invite many voices to a common table to engage in healthy, uplifting, constructive conversation centered around the topic of peace.”

Pathway to Peace 8.16 DSC_0235“This is not a debate,” they continued, “but rather is a dialogue that must be approached from presenter and audience member alike with open hearts and open minds. Unlike a debate, in a dialogue there is no winner. We will not crown someone the ‘Peace Champion’ at the end of the event. However, we will all walk away winners if we come away with a deeper understanding of our neighbors, celebrating our differences that make us unique and committing ourselves to collectively work towards a more unified (and less terrified) community.”

FUMCFW is a large downtown United Methodist church with vibrant ministries for all ages, robust outreach programs, and a heart for community and interfaith leadership fostered by Senior Pastor Dr. Tim Bruster, who also serves in numerous leadership roles with the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.

“While the Peace Symposium concluded at 5:00 pm last Sunday night, our hope is that the conversation will continue within our congregations and become embodied in future generations,” organizers said. “Peace on earth. May it be so.” Click here to view photos from this event.

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