by Executive Director LaDonna Hoy
James J Hill Days and a glorious weekend brought people from far and near to a beautiful celebration of our community. An inspiring add this year was an Interfaith Prayer Service held on Sunday morning on the corner of Minnetonka Avenue and Lake Street in Wayzata.
Participating faith communities included the Northwest Islamic Community Center, St. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community, St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, Wayzata Community Church, and Interfaith Outreach. Celebration of the holy days of Rosh Hashanah precluded participation of the Adath Jeshurun and Bet Shalom congregations, but they were with us in spirit.
The service began with a bagpipe procession followed by a call to unity by Dr. Kathi Tunnheim of Trinity Lutheran Church; a welcome by Rev Dr John Ross of Wayzata Community Church; a litany of peace led by Pastor Valerie Strand of St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church; a message of love shared by Sadia Tarannum of the Northwest Islamic Community Center; and a prayer for peace offered by Rev Ruston Comer of Wayzata Community Church. It concluded with a message of hope shared by Rev John Ross and a sending forth and blessing shared by Deacon Rick Witucki of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church. All this supported by Wayzata Community combined choirs and symphony orchestra.
It welcomed and left a flash crowd of people of all faiths, and no particular faith tradition, inspired by its message of peace, love and hope.
It left me with the realization that sometimes…with all good intentions…we speak about and strive to build the community we long to be. And that is always good. But sometimes we approach this worthy aspiration with such a particular idea of what community should look like, or should feel like, that we miss what community really is.
Real community, it seems to me, is first of all a gift to be discovered and received. But, learning to receive the gift of community – to find the peace, love and hope we long for – requires inner work. Work in the recesses of our hearts. Work to recognize and cherish the gift we have already been given and to build our capacity for connectedness with who is us. Work to build our capacity for resisting the forces of disconnection, to remove the illusion of our separateness. What a lovely prayerful encouragement this gathering offered to begin and continue that important work. Today. Together.
Heartfelt thanks to Wayzata Community Church, participating faith communities, and the Wayzata Chamber of Commerce for setting us on this path.