When I checked in at the Salt Palace for the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the gracious woman behind the desk gave me my nametag, a booklet titled “The Commitment Book,” and then said, “you’ll want a tote bag.” As I took the canvas bag, I realized what a weighty prospect lay ahead. The program book measures a full 8 1/2″ by 11″ and is 3/4″ thick. It probably weighs a couple of pounds. For navigating my way around I think I’ll rely on the app, but the program book is an impressive reminder of the richness of the next several days. There are hundreds of workshops, religious experiences, and plenary sessions offering a rich array of traditions, learning, and sharing. And all this is not to mention the conversations in the hallways or over the Langar lunch provided free by the Sikh community.
I then went in search of “Remembered Light,” the display of stained glass art repurposed from fragments of windows gathered from sacred spaces in Europe by Chaplain Fred McDonald following World War II. I was afraid it would be tucked away in a dark corner of some exhibition hall, but was delighted to find it in the main hall, right on the path to the lunch area and next to a lounge and resting space. ICP Executive Linda Crawford and stained glass artist Armelle LeRoux were both there, with both harrowing and inspiring stories of the effort it had taken to bring the windows to Salt Lake City. Already people were touring through the display, weeping at times, moved by the vision of something new and creative arising from the ashes of war.
The Windows are a valued addition to the Parliament environment, and the Interfaith Center at the Presidio is gaining recognition for its work as well. Thanks to Linda, Armelle, and board member Camilla Smith for making this happen.
Now on to the next four days!
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This is the archive for the Bay Area Interfaith Connect, the former newsletter for the Interfaith Center at the Presidio .