In view of growing violence nationally and globally, diverse northern Nevada faith groups joined hands to pray together on December 20. “Multi-faith Prayer Vigil for Peace & Unity”, coordinated by religious statesman Rajan Zed and hosted by South Reno United Methodist Church (SRUMC) included Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i, Shinto and Native American prayers. Attendees signed a banner pledging peace and unity.
Starting with lamp lighting by leaders of diverse faith communities with seriously different faith traditions; prayers were read in English, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Arabic, Pali, Paiute; besides through flutes and Taiko drums.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, speaking on the occasion, said: In view of growing violence nationally and globally, many times targeting innocent people, there is the need to come together in prayer, dialogue, and community to bring light and hope to the spreading darkness. Participants repeated Gayatri Mantra, considered most sacred mantra of Hinduism, in Sanskrit after Zed.
Besides Rajan Zed, other participants included Dawn Pidlypchak, Senior Pastor of SRUMC; Rita K. Sloan, Life-Peace-Justice Commission Coordinator of Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno; Sherif A. Elfass, President of Northern Nevada Muslim Community; Shelly L. Fisher and Matthew T. Fisher, Priests at Reno Buddhist Center; ElizaBeth Webb Beyer, Rabbi of Temple Beth Or and Tahoe Hebrew Congregation; Roya Galata, Baha’i Teacher; Gene Savoy Junior, Head Bishop of International Community of Christ; Joseph E. Johnson, Sparks Stake President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Brian E. Melendez, American Indian Spirituality Scholar; Becky Stockdale, Pastor at SRUMC; Rieko Shimbo, Director of Tsurunokai Taiko; and well know musician Oscar Dallas Smith III.