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National Day of Prayer Calls for Interfaith Summit

By Cristian Vargas, For CEO CA, On 10 May 2017, Read Original
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TAMPA, Fla., May 09, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On May 4th, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and United for Human Rights held their first Interfaith Summit at the Franciscan Center in Tampa. The 150 guests and religious leaders from eight different faiths came together in prayer for the community, the country and the world. Religious organizations represented included: Order of Saint Francis, Grace Lutheran Church, Church of Scientology, Islamic Community of South-West Florida, Congregation Beth Am, Buddhism and Society of Divine Word.

National Day of Prayer Celebration in Tampa
  Faith representatives at the Tampa Bay National Day of Prayer May 4th (l-r: Rabbi Jason Rosenberg; Cristian Vargas, UHR; Pastor John Hillmer, Grace Lutheran Church Tampa; Aida Mackic, CAIR; Rabbi Betsy Torop, Congregation Beth Am; Imaam Azhar Subedar, Islamic Community of SW Florida; Father Stephan Brown, S.V.D.; Rev. Patricia Harney, Church of Scientology; Sister Annie Dougherty O.S.F., ED of the Franciscan Center and Pastor Andy Oliver)

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

A blast of the shofar and a Quran recitation set the mood for the rest of the evening. Aida Mackic, Youth and Interfaith Program Coordinator for CAIR Florida, and Cristian Vargas, Executive Director for United for Human Rights Florida, co-emceed the event.

Ms. Mackic, articulated the purpose of the event by saying in part, “It is the recognition of our commonalities that form the basis for civil society.  While we are not going to agree on everything, we still must maintain an open and friendly dialogue so that we can collectively find solutions to the problems facing our cities, this nation and the world at large. There are many areas where our common humanity forms the base to advance our society.  Whether it is the idea that we should feed the poor, take care of the sick, love our neighbors, or do unto others as you would have done to ourselves, these common themes will better all our lives and is the reason we hold events like this today.”

Mr. Vargas went on to say, “With everything that’s been happening in the community and in today’s world, the most important thing that we can do is come together and figure out how to solve our problems as a community”.

Each religious representative gave their own talk on the subject of unity and how all religions have similar purposes for peace. As each one spoke, they did a prayer unique to their faith.

Reverend Pat Harney from the Church of Scientology read the Scientology Prayer for Total Freedom, which included, ‘At this time, we think of those whose liberty is threatened; of those who have suffered imprisonment for their beliefs; of those who are enslaved or martyred, and for all those who are brutalized, trapped or attacked. We pray that human rights will be preserved so that all people may believe and worship freely, so that freedom will once again be seen in our land.’”

Many of the guests stayed at the Franciscan Center afterwards for refreshments and to talk with each other.

For more information or to get involved with future interfaith events, please contact Cristian or Aida at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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