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Building Beloved Community

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist Monk nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. during the Vietnam War, wrote:  “Being part of a community practicing compassion may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of our world.”

Members of Recovery Café Community, New Creation Community, Ebenezer AME Zion Church, Call of Compassion NW and others feel called to gather monthly with others from different races, religions, socio-economic realities, gender and sexual identities, and political perspectives to practice compassionate listening and sharing, to deepen in understanding and to form friendships across these divides.

The monthly gatherings consist of music, silence, a thought provoking reflection and time for listening and sharing in smaller groups.

During our December gathering the reflection by Rev. John Stean from the Ebenezer AME Zion Church challenged us to consider who offers the welcome to whom. What does it mean to be the ones so at home that we issue the welcome to others? What would it take for those who are not feeling safe and included to become so at home, so beloved, that they become the “welcomers?”

At our January gathering Imam Jamal Rahman shared five steps involving inner and outer work which we can commit to in this time of uncertainty. The following are excerpts from his talk.

  1. Honor the difficult feelings that have been aroused by recent events.
  2. Let go of self-righteousness. Be humble.
  3. With humility and compassion examine your own prejudices and stereotyping of the other.
  4. Bond with groups that have been marginalized in this election, and with those who support those groups.
  5. The most critical step in our outer work is to connect with the other, in this case, the Trump supporter. We simply must move beyond our polarization. The work is long overdue.

Rahman went on to say that “the work requires sharing the proverbial three cups of tea: listening, respecting, and connecting.”

That describes perfectly the intention of the “Building Beloved Community” gatherings. We believe that our commitment to these three “cups of tea” over time will result in the emergence of new calls to action for the sake of the healing of our nation and even “the survival of our world.”

Please join us at Recovery Café on Sunday, Feb. 12th from 5:30 to 7:00 pm for our next Building Beloved Community gathering and, beginning in March, join us the first Sunday of every month from 5:30 to 7:00 pm at Recovery Café, 2022 Boren Ave., Seattle.