The Creation of The Abrahamic Blessing
Several years ago All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena was approached to create a film to be aired in the Middle East showing that Christians, Jews and Muslims all have peace-making and love of God and neighbor at their core. Dr. Gwynne Guibord was asked to compose the liturgy (Download PDF at left). Gwynne wrestled with the challenge of how to get people out of their heads and into the experience of the deep commonalities inherent in these three sacred traditions.
Understanding the power of sound and prayer, she brought together Fr. Ian Elliot Davies from St. Thomas The Apostle Episcopal Church in Hollywood, Cantor Mark Saltzman from Temple Kol Ami in West Hollywood, and Abdelwahab Ben Youcef of the Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation in Los Angeles and asked them to try to find a way to blend their sacred calls to prayer and blessings for peace. Working faithfully together under Gwynne’s direction to uphold the integrity of all three traditions, they created The Abrahamic Blessing as a poignant expression of the Holy.
The History of Its Presentations
The first time The Abrahamic Blessing was presented was at All Saints in Pasadena in May of 2008. It was acclaimed by many for its profound impact upon the listeners.
The Abrahamic Blessing was next performed as an interfaith greeting at The General Convention of The Episcopal Church in the United States in July of 2009 before both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. Many said it was by far the most moving and compelling moment of the Convention. This time the Christian voice was chanted by Rev. Peter Rood of Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in Westchester (Los Angeles).
The Abrahamic Blessing also helped to launch the Inaugural Event: Breaking the Barriers of The Guibord Center –Religion Inside Out in 2011.
The Nature of The Experience
The Abrahamic Blessing is an example of The Guibord Center’s continuing commitment to find ways to open liturgy in order to make the Holy accessible to all through very real, immediate, present experiences.