Youth Ascending: Our First Interfaith Service

On July 17, 2011, DION hosted our first interfaith worship service, Youth Ascending.

Voices of young and old of many different faith communities blended together singingthe words “ I’d like to teach the word to sing in perfect harmony…” at an interfaith service to uplift the youth of Metro Detroit, held on Sun, July 17 at the St. Peter Claver Catholic Community in northwest Detroit. Organized by the Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network, a program which meets at the Downtown Synagogue, the service was the first of a series of worship programs planned every two months to bring the Detroit and suburban interfaith communities together for prayer and socializing.

It all began with a Meet and Greetpotluck, held in the courtyard of the church at 2pm. Then at 3pm the pews of the church quickly filled with well close to 200people representing theMuslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic, Baptist, and Presbyterian and other Christian denominationswho had come together to express in prayer, poetry song, and dance their commitment tobring hope and loveto the youth of Metro Detroit in these challenging times.

DaVid Powell, vice-president of the Downtown Synagogueused the words of the Sh’ma  prayer to remind that education is key to the successful future of our youth, while Imam El-Amin of the Black Muslim community  spoke of the need for the adults to look at what models of behavior and values  are beingshown to  the children around us.

A deeply moving moment occurred when 12-yr old, legally blind  Hamza Kaakarli powerfully chantedthe Muslimcall to prayer, which recognizes God’s greatness,  as well as an entire chapter of the Koran by heart.  Other young participants includedStephanie Flounory of St.Peter Claver Catholic Community who performed a praise dance, Kristian Wright of Fort Street Presbyterian Church who recited a poem, and Torrin Lee Evans of St. Peter Claver  who gave the English translation of Psalm 150, read in Hebrew by Rabbi Dorit Edut.

Among the other inspiring speakers and prayer leaders were Victor Begg, Pastor Malik Shabazz, Pastor Ovella, Sister Joyce Jones, Cassandra Woods, Sister Mary Caroline Jonah, Alice Smith, AntarikSaDas, and Rev. John Considine.  The Bel Canto Singers under the direction of Martin Mandelbaum sang several beautiful selections, including Esa Einai – I Lift My Eyes To The Mountains.