A House of Prayer for All People: A Celebration of St. John’s Cathedral
To celebrate St. John’s Cathedral in Los Angeles as A House of Prayer for All People, faith leaders from The Guibord Center’s Advisory Council came together in gratitude. All brought a prayer book or symbol from their faith tradition to exchange for the Episcopal Church Book of Common Prayer.
In the hands of the Reverend Dr. Gwynne Guibord the simple act of gathering at St. John’s Cathedral in “a house of prayer for all people” to share reflections of gratitude and offer the gift of a book of prayer became something quite touching and transformational. A glimpse into a world filled with real peace and community, rooted deeply in mutual respect for the Holy – viable and present in one another.
The Dean, the Very Reverend Dan Ade, touched on it in his welcome. He addressed The Guibord Center’s uniqueness in bringing diverse faiths together. Instead of trying to paper over their many profound differences, The Guibord Center upholds them as a testament to the expansiveness of the Holy, always believing that we have the opportunity to enrich our own personal spiritual lives through discovering how others of sincere faithfulness engage the Holy.
The act of offering a token of gratitude to St. John’s for their consistently generous welcome and receiving The Book of Common Prayer opened up the fascinating question “How do others pray?”
Many Forms of Prayer
One at a time each faith leader stepped forward to expand on what we know as prayer, in many different forms. Prayer as written words read in community, as hymn, chant, poetry, calligraphy. As image, nature and finally as “the Word beyond all words.”
Not lost was the realization that even the music weaving the presentations together was prayer: A Native American flutist playing the sacred instruments of many indigenous peoples of this land.
Dr. Guibord asked Advisory Council members to address what it meant to have the opportunity to share their tradition in such a place as St. John’s Cathedral. Their responses were at once poignant and powerful.
With the world increasingly divisive over religion, many faith communities have felt isolated and marginalized. The experience of St. John’s welcome and The Guibord Center’s support and to these remarkable faith leaders and their communities is best understood in their own words.