Compassion in Action
September 11, 2012
On September 11, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. the Interfaith Center hosted “Compassion in Action,” an interfaith event held on the grounds of the Arkansas House of Prayer. Over 130 people from many different religious backgrounds gathered to pray for peace and to bless the people doing interfaith work in the community. The Multi-Faith Youth Group processed into the event carrying a new interfaith prayer box to be permanently stationed at the House of Prayer. Leslie Singer of B’Nai Israel and board member of the House of Prayer welcomed the community to the event and introduced the speakers.
Siva Soora offered a Hindu prayer for Universal Peace and was followed by the Rev. Susan Sims Smith, Director of the Interfaith Center, who gave an address on the meaning of Compassion in Action and encouraged participants to continue to both deepen their commitment to their respective faiths and to engage in interfaith work as an outgrowth of that commitment (the full text of the speech can be found below). Anna Cox of the Ecumenical Buddhist Society and Compassion Works for All then called leaders in the Arkansas interfaith community to come forward for a blessing of their work.
Sarah Catherine Gutierrez, House of Prayer board member and Program Administrator for the Interfaith Center, explained the gift a new prayer box for the Arkansas House of Prayer and delivered the vision for an interfaith prayer wall where all can leave prayers and intentions to be prayed for by people in the interfaith community. The Rev. Dr. Anika Whitﬁeld followed with a prayer of blessing over the prayer box.
The keynote address was delivered by P. Allen Smith, garden designer and author, who talked about the garden as a place for the opening of the heart and was followed by the dedication of a new maple tree by Sophia Said of the Islamic Center of Arkansas and the introduction of student representatives of the Multi-Faith Youth Group who delivered individual prayers by the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths. All participants then processed to the tree and said in unison an original prayer written by the Multi-Faith Youth Group for the event (the text of the prayer can be found below).
A reception followed offering attendees a chance to enjoy delicious food and to meet each other.
Many thanks to the Rev. Susan Sims Smith, John Willis, Terry Hornbeck, Susan Bauman, Sophia Said, Leslie Singer, the Rev. Cindy Fribourg, the Rev. Dr. Chris Keller, Rick Smith, Sarah Catherine Gutierrez, P. Allen Smith and members of the Arkansas House of Prayer Board for their help supporting, planning, and organizing the event.
“Just returned from an interfaith gathering at the Arkansas House of Prayer. Prayers for peace were offered up by Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians, including about a dozen teenagers from various traditions. I’m grateful to my friends John Willis, Sarah-Catherine Phillips Gutierrez, Susan Sims Smith and everyone who made the event possible. That it happened is even more signiﬁcant than what happened, lovely as it was.”
The Rev. Scott Walters
The Interfaith Center and the Arkansas House of Prayer invite you to “Compassion in Action.” The event will be held on September 11, 2012 from 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm at the Arkansas House of Prayer and will bring together the Multi Faith Youth Group, local interfaith leaders, and representatives from each of the major world religions in a commitment to universal peace.
We will plant a large maple tree for the garden of the House of Prayer, dedicate a new prayer box, and offer prayers for our local community’s interfaith leaders.
The keynote speaker for the event will be P. Allen Smith, garden designer and author.
The Multi Faith Youth Group will offer prayers from each of their respective faith traditions as well as an original interfaith prayer.
A reception in the gardens will follow. The Arkansas House of Prayer will be open to visitors. All are welcome.
Join us for a landmark event, as representatives of the Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Buddhist faiths teach how their respective religions engage in silent, contemplative prayer.
The workshop will be held from 1:00 p.m.—5:00 p.m. and is designed for people of all stages of experience in meditative prayer. The cost is $25. Specific contemplative prayer techniques will be taught, and there will be two opportunities to practice contemplative prayer in the Arkansas House of Prayer.
For people further in their meditation journey, the Rev. Susan Sims Smith will offer a dinner and new teaching to deepen the journey from 6:30 p.m.— 8:30 p.m. The cost is $20 for dinner and the evening class, or $15 for participants in the Interfaith Prayer Workshop.
- Workshop and Dinner is held on Sunday, January 15, 2012
- 1:00 pm—5:00 pm
- Workshop cost – $25
- Dinner and Deepening work for Experienced Meditators
- 6:30 pm—8:30 pm
- Dinner cost – $20
- Both are held at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church
- 20900 Chenal Parkway
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Call 602-570-4226 or email Sarah Catherine Phillips.
Sponsored by Arkansas House of Prayer, the Interfaith Center of the Institute for Theological Studies at St. Margaret’s (ITSSM) and St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church.
Rabbi Eugene Levy, Ret., “Preparing to Pray from the Jewish tradition” Rabbi Levy recently retired in October after serving as Rabbi of Congregation B’Nai Israel since 1987. He has had a dedicated career in interfaith efforts, including serving as Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Arkansas Interfaith Conference in 1989 and co-founding the Arkansas Interfaith Alliance.
Sophia Said, Senior Policy Analyst of Ingenuity Outcomes, “Dhikr—a Sufi Muslim’s way to meditate” Sophia Said is a native of Pakistan and moved to the United States where she received a degree in development economics from the University of Utah and a graduate degree from the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock Arkansas. Mrs. Said works with the Little Rock Muslim community in their outreach efforts and is deeply committed to promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding among various faith groups in Arkansas.
Anna Cox, Coordinator, Compassion Works For All, “Meditation from the Buddhist Perspective.” After being a psychotherapist and student of Buddhism since the early 1970s, she is now very focused on the work of Compassion Works for All which teaches compassion to everyone, everywhere, but most particularly to those in prison. She also leads Buddhist prayers and practices at the Ecumenical Buddhist Society in Little Rock.
The Rev. Susan Sims Smith, Director, Interfaith Center, “Centering Prayer” The Rev. Susan Sims Smith was a Jungian oriented psychotherapist for 25 years. She has been an Episcopal priest for 11 years. She started Seedwork (www.seedwork.org), a project to teach people how to listen to wisdom from their dreams and from meditation. She spearheaded the foundation of the Arkansas House of Prayer, an interfaith center for prayer and meditation.