A Moment of Reflection and Intention at the End of the Year
by Dr. Lo Sprague, President of The Guibord Center
As I sit here at year’s end, I find myself grappling with how to describe this past year at The Guibord Center. You know us for our commitment to bringing people together through events — from stunning, large public gatherings with diverse spiritual leaders to smaller programs set within the intimate heart of temples and synagogues, gurdwaras and mosques, churches, and ashrams. You have experienced our concerts of joyous, sacred music, the building of the Mandala of Compassion, and conversations where colleagues share how their faith provides tools for meeting some of today’s most complex challenges.
What you’ve never seen is our inward-facing work. In 2023, we spent most of our time and energy listening deeply and productively, making friends, making plans, building trust, coalitions, stamina, and strategies to use in the coming days. These spaces have become an intimate refuge and think tank for colleagues of different backgrounds. In these conversations, they can dream and plan or vent and rage and have their unspoken heartfelt concerns heard — and valued.
Weeks ago, a number of us began to meet following the horror of the October 7th massacre. Everyone was shaken to their core. We listened and wept and gradually began to create a program so that communities could grieve together. A lot of time and work had gone into this when one of the participants said quietly: “It’s too soon.” We all stopped. We thought about what she’d said. She was right. It was a great program, and it was too early. The deaths kept coming. Everything had to focus there. We had to postpone.
This is the heart and soul of interfaith work, activism, and standing with and for one another in times like these. We have to hear each other. The Guibord Center has always looked through a spiritual lens that sees situations and individuals as part of something sacred and larger than just ourselves. That’s the essence of our mission.
We have much planned for 2024. Bringing people together to challenge assumptions, embrace the sacred (in one another), and live out of the Spirituality that transforms the world is the most important thing we can do. We are rolling out programs that will lift your spirits and heal your heart. Our very special “Take Heart” program, which will be launched shortly, is part of that healing.
We end the year giving thanks for each of you, for those who serve on our board of directors and our advisory council, our strategic advisors, and our team of dedicated staff and volunteers, as well as our many friends and colleagues here in southern California and across the country – and this year, thanks to ANIMA – around the globe. Thank you for your support in so many forms. You have given not only your funds but also your time, tools and talent, your wisdom and valuable guidance, your perspectives, encouragement, and prayers that keep us going.