This author has often said that if we as a race of people, the human race, would spend more time focusing on the commonalities that should bind us as brothers and sisters, and less time adding mortar and brick to proverbial walls of division and contention based on our differences, the idealization of world peace would be more than just a dream – it would be a reality. One of the ways to bring about this reality is for people to put aside their religious differences and join efforts in projects that help to build bridges of hope and understanding, and promote the common good of all concerned.
Episcopalian Convention Embarks on Interfaith Project
From 25 June through 3 July 2015, more than 10,000 members of the Episcopal faith met in Salt Lake City, Utah, for their 78th General Convention. This was the first time that the Convention has been held in the state of Utah.
As part of the event, Episcopalians always take advantage of the opportunity to serve the communities they visit, and this year was no exception. They joined with Mormons at Welfare Square in Salt Lake City for an interfaith project. The spouses of Episcopalian leaders helped to package cheese, process salsa, and slice and bag wheat bread.
Rebecca Thompson of New Orleans, Louisiana commented, “I think we’ve done a good job. This is an amazingly clean, fresh environment with kindness and hospitality.” Another volunteer, Mary Ellen Baxter of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania remarked, “Anytime we can help people who are in need, that’s a good thing.”
Interfaith Project Gives Way to Better Understanding of Mormon Faith
Amy O’Donnell, wife of the Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi of the Salt Lake Episcopal Church, stated, “The experience at Welfare Square has been a real eye-opener for them. They’ve learned more about the Mormon Church by visiting Temple Square and the Family History Library.” She further stated that several members of the Episcopalian Church even spent time at the Family History Library searching for their own ancestors.
On Tuesday, 30 June 2015, Welfare Services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made a food donation valued at approximately $20,000 of cheese, salsa, wheat bread, and other items such as peanut butter and jam to Hildegarde’s Pantry, a Salt Lake City food bank. The food bank, which serves around 300 people in need each day, is operated by the Cathedral Church of St. Mark, the local Episcopal Diocese. Lydia Herrera, Pantry manager, commented, “When I come here [Hildegarde’s Pantry], I always try to see if I can make a difference every day with the people. We are doing God’s work together with other faiths to get something done.”