"Creating Cultures of Peace, Justice and Healing for the Earth and All Living Beings"
On July 6th 2008, saints from the Nirankari Mission were invited for the second time to present a congregation to the Interfaith Community Church by Rev. Karen Lindquist. The congregation was attended by more than 50 people. About 10 devoted saints from the Vancouver Canada branch drove down to Seattle, including Rev. Baldev Arora (head of Nirankari Mission Vancouver) and Rev. Daljit Sidhu (General Secretary Nirankari Mission Canada). Around 25 others arrived from the local Seattle interfaith community. They were greeted with a simple breakfast at the church before the proceedings began. While the community was arriving and getting settled into the congregation hall, verses from the Holy Avtar Bani were being played. Every person was handed a booklet which introduced the Mission in detail and described the day's program. The booklet also gave a quick introduction of the speakers, who were to speak on the topic, "Creating Cultures of Peace, Justice and Healing for the Earth and All Living Beings".
The service started at 10AM with a short prayer and lighting of candles by Rev. Debra Lajimodiere. Shiv Bijlani from Seattle introduced the Nirankari Mission and welcomed the respected guests from Vancouver. Jagjit Paul from Vancouver was the first speaker who shared his view on universal brotherhood. He said,
"A spiritually enlightened person realizes the fatherhood of God by the brotherhood of man. He or she finds the image of the one and the same supreme father in every human being. The whole human society stands unified into one family - the universal brotherhood. And from this the attitude of man transforms from jealousy into cooperation, violence into non-violence and there prevails the sense of equality, liberty, fraternity & justice for mankind".
Tina Rai was requested to share her thoughts next. Her heartfelt words were appreciated by all when she said,
"A man is a man when he is human. He is human when all mankind is family. All mankind is his family when all-pervading formless god is his home. God is his home when he actually knows him and blissfully identifies him... Awareness is oneness of god, oneness of religion and oneness of mankind."
Before the epilog ("Manglacharan") was sung by sister Shivangi from Vancouver, Ravi Ji and Rev. Baldev Arora spoke on the topic. Arora Ji touched peoples hearts when he said,
"The importance of human life lies in adapting truth and devotion, love and tolerance. It is very easy to achieve these things by connecting to a True Master and knowing the Truth. Once we have the true knowledge and we realize that we are humans, our perception of life changes our horizon gets bigger and wider - and we say that our world has changed".
Everyone was able to participate in singing the epilogue along with sister Shivangi as its lyrics were printed in the program booklet. Rev. Daljit Sidhu first explained the meaning of Simran and then delivered His Holiness Baba Ji's message in his discourses. He said,
"The whole strife in this world is because of the misunderstandings of the second person...Today we have come to one platform and are here to start something that is really wonderful...My message from His Holiness is that we are all the same. His Holiness Baba Avtar Singh Ji laid down 5 principles 60 years ago and all of you in interfaith are doing that now, sitting together and respecting each others faith. This is a start and now we have to go forward from here."
The service ended at 11:30 AM with recitation of the concluding prayer ("Dhuni"), after which everyone proceeded to the kitchen area where local saints served a community meal ("Langar"). During this time, saints from the Mission socialized with the local community and had discussions with attendees over lunch.
The service which was conducted for an hour and a half served several objectives. Rev. Arora Ji formally invited the local community to the weekly congregations in Vancouver and also described the various events that have been organized in Vancouver. Tina Rai Ji spoke about His Holiness Baba Ji's visit to the European Parliament and other such milestones. This was also a good opportunity for the leaders of the Mission to be introduced to the ministers of the interfaith community.
The church has invited us to become partner members of the Interfaith Council of Washington and participate in discussions with the church's guiding council.
May Almighty bless us in spreading the message of His Holiness and creating a culture of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all its living beings.