To celebrate St. John’s Cathedral as A House of Prayer for All People faith leaders from The Guibord Center’s Advisory Council came together in gratitude. Each 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: the 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 idea of offering a book of prayer to St. John’s in gratitude for their consistently generous welcome while receiving The Book of Common Prayer in return 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 the many forms we of different traditions know of as prayer: prayer as written words read in community, as hymn, chant, poetry, as calligraphy, image, as Nature and finally as “the Word beyond all words”.
Not lost was the realization that even the music that held the presentations together was from a Native American flutist playing the sacred instruments of many indigenous peoples of this land. It, too, is prayer.
Dr. Guibord asked her Advisory Council Members to address what it meant to have the opportunity, as part of The Guibord Center, to be invited to share their tradition in such a place as St. John’s Cathedral. The responses were at once poignant and powerful.
The world that has become increasingly divisive with regard to religion. It is hard to imagine how isolated and marginalized many faith communities have become. The experience of The Guibord Center’s steadfast support and St. John’s welcome to these remarkable faith leaders and their communities is best understood in their own words.
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