Expanding the Table with Buddhist-Christian and Hindu-Christian Dialogues

Expanding the Table with Buddhist-Christian and Hindu-Christian Dialogues

Hindu-Christian Dialogue
Buddhist-Christian Dialogue

The Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord worked with Dr. Tony Kireopoulos, Associate General Secretary of the National Council of Churches (NCC) and both the Buddhist and the Hindu communities to facilitate national dialogues between each and the Christian community as represented by the NCC. The 38 NCC member denominations represent 38 – 40 million Christians in the US.

Hindu-Christian Dialogues

Drs. Guibord and Kireopoulos met with The Guibord Center (TGC) Advisor, Swami Sarvadevananda and TGC Board Member, Dr. Rini Ghosh, along with colleagues at the Vedanta Society of Southern California’s Hollywood Temple. There they shared in theological conversation and both Swami and Dr. Ghosh agreed to become the co-conveners responsible for inviting various Hindu communities to the Hindu-Christian Dialogue.

Buddhist-Christian Dialogues

Drs. Guibord and Kireopoulos also met with Venerable You Heng, representing Venerable Abbot Hui Dong of Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple, to explore the Abbot and Ven. You Heng serving as co-conveners for the Buddhist community. The Abbot agreed that they would do so for the Buddhist-Christian Dialogue.

These dialogues “will focus on both theological matters (what motivates us) and justice-related issues (what concerns us). Topics discussed may be pressing issues that concern our communities both in the US and internationally. Ultimately, the aim of the dialogue is to build on what the communities find they have in common and work together for better understanding of one another and to promote social justice.”

The Guibord Center is grateful to be able to play a key role in joining with the NCC to bring these communities together to challenge assumptions, unleash the Holy within their traditions, and together affirm the faith that all people of faith share that inspires them to make the world a more caring and compassionate place.

Love A Muslim Day

Love A Muslim Day

Love A Muslim Day

Love a Muslim
Love a Muslim
Love a Muslim
Love a Muslim

“Get to know a Muslim” is our Response to the “Hate a Muslim Day” Campaign

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has reported that a flier originated outside the U.S entitled Hate a Muslim Day – April 3rd, is being circulated across the U.S. and other countries. The flier incites hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims, or anyone suspected of being Arab or Muslim.

For every act of violence against Arabs and Muslim the perpetrator receives points. In other words, any act of violence is rewarded.

There can be no room for violence incited by hate groups against any group of people. It is antithetical to the mandate of every religion to love God and express that love through loving all of God’s creation including all people. All are made in the image of God. Further, our duty to our neighbors is to love them as ourselves.

Since its inception The Guibord Center has stood unflinchingly with and for our Muslim brothers and sisters and any community targeted by hatred. On this day and every day we decry violence of any kind against our Muslim friends and neighbors.

On this day specifically, when hatred is in the air, we ask everyone to do something to change it. Fill the air with a kind and loving act toward a Muslim. Speak up for a Muslim. Call, visit or write a note of support to your local mosque or Islamic Center. Call a Muslim friend. Pray for the perpetrators that they may be healed from the ignorance and hatred in their hearts.

And if you don’t know anything about Muslims, please watch: “Decoding Signs and Symbols of Islam” or “Islam 101” or one of the other programs on Islam.

How Episcopal Christians See Animals

How Episcopal Christians See Animals

“How Episcopal Christians See Animals”

The Very Rev. Canon Daniel Ade

“If we take The Scriptures seriously, we have to take these relationships (with animals and the earth) seriously because the relationship with God does not begin and end in ourselves. It begins with God and you and me and the whole created order.”

God bound the animals and human beings and God into an unbreakable and sacred relationship with one another, a covenant. A covenant is a profound relationship that one cannot take lightly. We are in a covenant with God and all the animals and creation.

The Scriptures tell us that God gave humans “dominion” over the animals and all the earth but that’s been warped and taken out of context. If we take a deeper look at what the word “dominion” means, it means nurture, care, love, be a steward of something,.. nursing it to fulfillment.”

Christians understand that “God’s dominion” is one of loving-kindness. The rule of the Lord is one of mercy and compassion and generosity. That has to reflect on how we treat the created order.”

“God’s heart breaks when God’s creation is abused.”

“Christianity’s idea of compassion flows from God’s compassion. God has loved us so completely, so profoundly that God has entered in the human condition so that God knows everything of what it means to be a human being personally. God knows sorrow. God knows grief. God knows pain. God knows suffering. And so God knows compassion.”

The Very Rev. Canon Mark Kowalewski

“Human beings are to be the regents of God, God’s representatives, to care for creatures and bring them to their highest potential. That’s what we’re supposed to do, not to “dominate” them but to be with them and to be their caretakers and lead them to be all that they were created to be, as we should be all that we were created to be as well.”

“God’s dream for the world was that we were in perfect relationship with God, with one another, and with the planet and with all living things.”

“Animals, Faith and Compassion” The Journey Begins

“Animals, Faith and Compassion” The Journey Begins

The Guibord Center’s Advisors were wildly enthusiastic and began an unexpectedly earnest conversation about what our various faiths’ teachings have to offer to the full spectrum of concerns for the well-being of animals. Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips, the force behind ADI, met with us and they too had a lots of ideas. Our initial image of a 1-2 minute public service announcement (PSA) quickly began to morph into an exquisite full feature documentary film. Fortunately the constraints of reality brought us quickly back to what we could actually do within our limited time and budget and the faith leaders who could make themselves available.

After many conversations Jennifer Jessum, our award-winning film maker, devised a plan. We could rent all of the necessary equipment for two week period. Given union rules, that would give us 12 days of shooting with the mandated hours and days off. While Jennifer gathered the team, I got on the phone with our advisors to begin blocking them in to the schedule – trying to make sure that each of our faiths had a representative speaking for them.

The thing that has humbled me time and time again throughout this project is how enthusiastic and generous everyone has been. Incredibly busy people have altered their schedules for us, made room in their sacred sites and ceremonies, fed us, and stayed long past their planned times to deepen the conversation or add in an important piece of scripture. They have allowed us to spend hours setting up, blocking out their windows, bringing equipment into their private spaces, and interrupting the flow of their communities all for the sake of sharing their faith’s love and respect for animals as an integral part of God’s Creation.

Phase One: The Filming – The Project Begins in Earnest

Phase One: The Filming – The Project Begins in Earnest

In the last 14 days of February a tiny, five-person film crew representing The Guibord Center traveled to 12 different sacred sites within 15 locations in and around Los Angeles where we loaded and unloaded hundreds of pounds of equipment in order to interview 26 people and 4 dogs to get enough film for three interrelated projects for The Guibord Center’s Initiative about Animals, Faith and Compassion.

We dealt with the challenges of:
noisy sand blasting (literally) across the street
a Chinese New Year’s Celebration in the parking lot next door,
a freezing windstorm that threatened to knock us, the Indigenous Elders we were trying to film, and all our gear off a steep hillside in the Angeles Crest Forest
a concrete staircase on the outside of a two story building, as our only means of getting the gear up and down
the specter of being locked out at a temple over a holiday weekend
the police being called on us
and the cancellation of the full day’s filming due to a glitch in protocol an hour before we were set to arrive

We were met with a nearly unbelievable abundance of kindness and generosity.

In these two weeks, I gathered hundreds of photos, dozens of bruises, and countless memories.

We on the crew have been humbled, inspired, challenged, and changed by this project. We think you will be too.

Stay tuned…

Read the whole story as it unfolds at Making “Animals, Faith and Compassion”