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Multi-faith event to focus on prayers, action

Prayer, song, and chants from multiple faiths will blend this Sunday during United Prayers for World Peace at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis.

“It’s about peace within each person, and it radiates out,” said the Rev. Mona Reeves-Winfrey, one of the event’s coordinators. She said a driving force for the gathering is Sri Sri Sri Viswayogi Viswamjee Maharaj, Guntur, of India, who is also known as “Swamiji” (pronounced “swami g”). He is a spiritual leader who travels internationally as an inspirational speaker, and he operates a free hospital service for mothers and children in India.

Anjana Challa, another event coordinator, said Swamiji wants to unite people of peaceful intentions, and she quoted one of his key points. “Beyond race, beyond religion, there is only one race – the human race.”

Swamiji said he believes all religion is good and should not be the reason for quarrels. “We have to follow our own religion, and we have to respect others.”

He recalled explaining this philosophy to an immigration official in 2001 with an analogy. “The whole world is a house, and every country is a room in it. I like my house, and I like each and every room in it.”

Each spiritual leader at Sunday’s event will give a brief message and prayer for peace in his/her faith’s tradition, and supporters from other locations in the U.S. and globally will join in prayers remotely at the same time. The gathering will be capped by a short presentation on how to put prayers into action.

Attendees will be invited to support the volunteer efforts of three Memphis-area agencies:

  • Common Ground Memphis: http://commongroundmemphis.org/
  • Mid-South Peace & Justice Center: http://www.midsouthpeace.org/
  • Pax Christi Memphis: http://www.paxchristimemphis.org/

The event will close with guests browsing community networking tables for information from the featured presenters.

Featured speakers representing multiple faiths, practices, and cultures will include:

  • Sri Sri Sri Viswayogi Viswamjee Maharaj, Guntur (AP), India
  • Rev. Lawrence Palmer, Unity Church of Practical Christianity
  • Khenpo Gawang Rinpoche, Pema Karpo Meditation Center
  • Bhai Amarjit Singh, Mid South Sikh Temple
  • Sri Venkata Satyanarayana Charulu, Chief Priest, India Cultural Center & Temple
  • Rev. Walter B. Tennyson, Rhodes College Chaplain
  • Deacon Henry Littleton, Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church
  • Manoj Jain MD., Jain of Memphis
  • A representative of Baha’i of Memphis
  • Micah Leonard and Irem Khan, Jewish and Muslim faiths, Rhodes College
  • Jacob Flowers, Mid-South Center for Peace & Justice
  • Terry Hash, Pax Christi, Memphis
  • Betzaida Agis, Common Ground Memphis

When: 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17

Where: Longinotti Auditorium at Saint Francis Memphis, 5959 Park Ave.

Sri Viswayogi, at left, will lead United Prayers for World Peace in Memphis on Nov. 17. He is shown with Elaine Valdor, Secretary General United Nations Youth Conference.

Sri Viswayogi, at left, will lead United Prayers for World Peace in Memphis on Nov. 17. He is shown with Elaine Valdor, Secretary General United Nations Youth Conference.

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