Thanksgiving program gives Baha’i youths hope for future collaboration
For Melody Monghate and other young Baha’is from three Clark County, Washington, communities, singing at an interfaith Thanksgiving celebration was “very educational and eye-opening.”
“We were able to learn a bit more about a handful of religions and learn about the various efforts they are taking,” says the 19-year-old from Camas.
“One thing we found very beautiful is how all of the members of these different religions are striving to bring about change in their communities and how they have been taking steps to make these positive changes through service.”
The opportunity to perform came about because the Clark County Spiritual Assembly, the local Baha’i governing council, initiated a relationship in 2018 with the Interfaith Coalition of Southwest Washington.
Mike Centner had been informally involved with the coalition for several years. When he was elected to the Assembly, that body asked him to be its official representative.
That led to coalition members being invited to the October 2019 celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab, herald of the Baha’i Faith. There, two coalition members heard the Baha’i youths sing and invited them, in turn, to perform at the annual interfaith Thanksgiving program.
“Singing songs in praise of Baha’u’llah [prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith], those youths joined with members of other faiths (including First Nation, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and AME) in prayers, reflections, dance and songs with the focus on increasing understanding between the different faiths,” says Dona McVay, an Assembly member.
In all, she says, 25 Baha’is were among the 180 attendees.
“The simple fact that all of these different religious groups were able to come together in a shared space and listen to one another with love and care was very powerful and gave us a sense of hope for a future centered on unity and oneness,” reflects Monghate.
“Now that I personally better understand and realize these shared efforts, I think it would be wonderful if all of these groups could come together in doing these acts of service in unity rather than as separate units.”