The Abrahamic Reunion, in connection with Unity of Sarasota, organized a Multi-Faith Prayer Vigil and Service. Reverend Elizabeth Thompson of Unity invited the Abrahamic Reunion from 7:20 – 8:20pm, Wednesday June 15th, for a beautiful prayer service.
After some touching music of remembrance, Rev. Elizabeth welcomed everyone in prayer and reminded the congregations of many faiths that this is a moment to remember and to embody the love, positivity, and faith that are the opposite of what happened in Orlando, and to exemplify that “Love Wins.”
Rev. Chris Miller and Sheikh Ghassan Manasra offered prayers for the deceased and a call for solidarity amongst the faiths to exemplify the core teachings. Rev. Miller then read the Abrahamic Reunion’s response piece to the Orlando Shooting.
Jewish, Christian, and the Muslim scriptures all affirm the sacredness of life and condemn murder in all its forms: “…if any one killed a person, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind; and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole of mankind.” (Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 37a, Quran 5:32); “Thou shalt not murder” (Exodus 20:13); “…and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully.” (Quran 6:151), “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.” (Matthew 5:21).
– Selection from AR Orlando Response
“Author of life, man has turned violent, crushing lives, upending dreams, attacking the heart of a city and nation with vitriol and hatred, in an act of calculated terror. Source and Creator, grant eternal rest under your tabernacle of peace to the victims of this violence whose lives were cut off by witless aggression,” prayed Rabbi Werbow of Temple Beth Sholom.
Deacon Dave Hawkins of Unity read a statement for affirming the positive values of religion: “Unity stands for peace in the presence of conflict, for love in the presence of hatred, for forgiveness in the presence of injury. Unity honors the many names of god, the many paths to God, and the many ways to worship God.”
The Interim Minister for the Tampa Center for Spiritual Living shared “And not just to reclaim the heart of humanity and to express it louder than the sound of bullets or bombs and to radiate love more widely than the vibration of hate.”
Bill, a gay member of Unity of Sarasota, spoke about the tragedy and being with a friend as he got the news that some of his friends were among the dead.
Sheikh Ghassan offered a touching prayer for the dead. Sheikha Laila Manasra prayed in Arabic, which her husband translated to English: “God you are peace, give us peace, and because the peace will come from you, give us peace and cover us with peace.”
Thank you for all those who came to participate and honor the deceased, nearly 100 people. We were joined by many of the clergy participating in the local Abrahamic Reunion Text Studies – Rabbi Michael Werbow of Temple Beth Sholom, Rabbi Geoff Huntting of Temple Sinai, Rev. Elizabeth Thompson of Unity, Sheikh Ghassan Manasra and Sheikh Laila Manasra of the Abrahamic Reunion, and Rev. Chris Miller of Rising Tide International and the Abrahamic Reunion. Deep thanks also to Rev. Karen Wolfson of Sarasota Center for Spiritual Living, and especially to Rev. Elizabeth and the Unity Ministry Team for helping to set up this event with the AR on short notice.
FURTHER RESPONSES TO THE VIOLENCE IN ORLANDO BY THE ABRAHAMIC REUNION