“Every Child’s Life is Sacred”: A Concert for Humanity

with Yuval Ron and Diverse Faith Leaders

“Every Child’s Life is Sacred”: A Concert for Humanity with Yuval Ron and Diverse Faith Leaders

In they came, wearing scarves and robes and head coverings, representing the diverse communities of faith and spirituality throughout Southern California. Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Christians: Catholic, Protestant, Episcopal and Historic Black, Buddhist, Indigenous and interfaith leaders. They came through the rain on a stormy night to stand together, rooted in the belief that “Every child’s life is sacred.”

They had come to join Dr. Lo Sprague, President of The Guibord Center – Religion Inside Out, and over 200 guests – to reject taking sides in the war in the Middle East. Instead, they stood firmly for every child’s right to safety and well-being.

“Holding that place for everyone is tough,” shared Dr. Lo  “It weighs on our hearts and takes our energy, so The Guibord Center asked the Yuval Ron Ensemble to fill our hearts with the spiritual energy of hope. “

The Ensemble’s music stirred the soul, carrying the audience on a journey from ancient grieving and the Psalms to Sufi Master Rumi’s mystical transition from darkness to light, presented by a modern Sufi master and his son. A female dervish (derva) spun a cathedral of diverse individuals into a weave of spirituality that carried everyone through a Buddhist chant of compassion, a Christian prayer of forgiveness and a heart-breaking lament from the Armenian Tradition.

Yuval shifted to tell the centuries-old tale of Embracing the Shadow, delving into the Darkness with Love to restore hope. And then, once again, the magical dance of the derva filled the stage, weaving everyone back together again and onto their feet, clapping with the “Erev – Shalom Salam: The Jewish Muslim Prayer for Peace”. And finally, we were at the Prayer for the Creator of the Universe.

Spiritual Leaders Take the Stage

The Prayer called the Spiritual Leaders to the stage. Each stepped forward to speak their name and organization and then proclaim unequivocally: “Every child’s life is sacred.”

One after another, after another, until the affirmation rang out through the night: EVERY CHILD’S LIFE IS SACRED. It was a prayer. A proclamation. A vision of what yet might be.

The formal concert program concluded with Leonard Cohen’s  “Hallelujah” reimagined in Hebrew and Arabic by Yuval and his team. Faith leaders encircled them arm-in-arm and the audience joined on its feet singing.

The concert didn’t end with the last song. That’s when Dr. Lo stepped forward again and announced that now it was the audience’s turn. It was time for them to get involved in this task of standing up for one another.

While The Guibord Center was giving the concert as a gift that night, she invited each person to make a donation to an organization in the Middle East that was helping children there. The program had several suggestions or, she said, they could choose something special to their heart that helped kids.

Take Heart

Dr. Lo wasn’t done. The Guibord Center also had a parting gift for everyone: A small bag of carved hearts with cards included that said: “Take Heart” and on the back explained that each heart was an acknowledgement of the good heart they have. The receiver was instructed to keep one heart and share the others with the statement that “You have a good heart” or “We’re all in this together.”

The hope is that this simple act of kindness will help each of us to reach out in friendship in times of trouble to make safe space for one another and a safe world for every child anywhere.

The Yuval Ron Ensemble

 Elinor Sitrish – vocals
Khawaja Ehrari – vocals and ney flute
Banafsheh Sayyad – Liturgical dancer
Housain Ehrari – percussion
Katyanna Zoroghlian – vocals
Norik Manoukian – woodwind
Virgine Alimian – kanun (laptop zither)
Jamie Papish – percussion
Yuval Ron – Oud, backup vocals and artistic director

 With guest appearance of The Ismaili Youth Choir.

Faith and Spiritual Leaders
Their Organizations

 Pictured above from right to left

 Dr. Lois M. Sprague
The Guibord Center – Religion Inside Out

Bishop John H. Taylor
The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

LauraSa Pele Lafoia Ava-Tesimale
One Global Family Alliances

 Najeeba Syeed
The Interfaith Institute

 Ruth Brode Sharon
Southern  California Parliament of the World’s Religions

Venerable Huize
Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple

Yuval Ron
The Yuval Ron Ensemble

Tasneem Noor
Interfaith Minister, Episcopal Diocese

 Reverend Dr. Brenda Threatt
African Methodist Episcopal Church

Sherry Purcell
Immaculate Heart Community

Bikbaye Inejnema
The Kemetic Community

Mary Kirchen
The Guibord Center/Immaculate Heart Community

Samia Bano
The Muslim Community

 Rabbi Suzanne Singer
Temple Beth El Riverside

 Swami Mahayogananda
The Vedanta Society of Southern California

 Aziza Hasan
NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change

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