calendar March 30, 2010 in Bishop, News

Religious Leaders Council celebrates fourth year

The Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia celebrated its fourth year as a Council at its March 22 meeting. Members gathered to share their wisdom as they face common challenges. They also decided to launch ‘Zones of Peace’, an interfaith, grassroots initiative will bring together congregations and schools throughout the region to address the root causes of violence and work for peace.

Back row: Rabbi Richard Hirsh, Rabbi David Straus, Imam Mohamed Shehata, Elder Robert Smith, Archbishop Stefan Soroka, Arthur Larrabee, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Presiding Elder Charles Lett, Imam Anwar Muhaimin.  Front row: Bishop Peter Hwang, Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, Rev. Dr. W. Wilson Goode Sr., Bishop Claire Schenot Burkat, Rev. Dr. F. Russell Mitman

Bishop Burkat, who is a co-convener of the council, was one of four presenters who shared reflections for discussion on challenging issues common to all faiths. Her topic was ministering to people who identify themselves as "spiritual but not religious."

Pastor John Hougan of St John, Melrose Park, who serves on the administrative task group of the council, gave a presentation on the developing "Zones of Peace" interfaith effort.

"ReligiousThe Council includes 26 Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Baha’i religious leaders dedicated to “building relationships of mutual support, serving as a moral and spiritual voice, and taking action on issues of critical concern in our region.” A focus on violence prevention became their first priority. With a public call for peace, read and celebrated in an Interfaith Inaugural Service for Mayor-Elect Michael Nutter, held on January 3, 2008, the Council announced its commitment “to promote peace in our homes and communities, to eliminate causes of hatred and to honor the dignity of all people… and to make our homes and neighborhoods zones of peace.”