Martin Luther King Day in West Chester

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On Monday, January 15, 2018, come together for the 19th annual observance of Martin Luther King Jr Day in West Chester and Liberty Townships. We will begin with a March for Unity in Our Community which will start at the Clocktower at The Square at Union Centre, 9285 Centre Pointe Drive, West Chester, at 10:30 a.m.  The March will culminate at the Lakota West High School auditorium for a program beginning at 11:15 a.m., which will be followed by a free lunch for all participants at 12:30 p.m. in the cafeteria.  

A community choir is forming to help lead singing during the March and program.  Anyone who would like to be part of the choir under the direction of Denise Simpson, has two opportunities to practice: this Thursday, January 11, 6:45 - 7:30 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 7393 Dimmick Road, West Chester, and Monday, January 15, 9:30 - 10:15 a.m. in the Lakota West auditorium.  For Event details and to read more click here!

Why We March Today

Not because we must, but because we may.
Not as a protest to change what is not fair, but as a celebration of the positives for which we are thankful.
We are members of a community, coming together peacefully to demonstrate that ours is a town that strives toward racial reconciliation, and hopes to express that goal symbolically in a tangible way.

A Story of "Cities for Life"

by Sue Prieshoff

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There was a gathering of like minds at the St Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati on November 30, 2017.   The day was recognized around the world as International Day against the Death Penalty.  It originated in Italy in 1786, the first country to recognize the evil of killing people to show that killing people is wrong. 

I became aware of this date after writing a pen pal in prison here in Ohio. He was formerly on death row, but now awaits a new trial. We have been writing for over 20 years.  This inmate also had a pen pal in Italy through a pen pal international program.  Over the years, Francesco and I met through the inmates’s letters and we began emailing. Last year was the Year of Mercy in the Catholic Church.  Francesco felt the call by Pope Frances to come the the USA to meet his pen pal here in Ohio.

We wrote back and forth, and welcomed Francesco to come and stay at our house. It is always exciting to meet a pen pal who you have only written to and one from so far away.  While our guest was in town, I made contacts with like minded groups that I was involved with.  This is where Francesco made his pitch for Cincinnati to join with the “Cities for Life.”  Turns out he lived in Tuscany, where it all began with his group “the community of Sant’Egidio.”  It lit a spark.

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Save the Date - 1st Annual Festival of Faiths

by Chip Harrod

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WHAT is the Festival of Faiths?   A weeklong festival in June of 2018  to showcase Greater Cincinnati’s religious diversity and vitality,  to celebrate religion’s contributions to our community’s quality of life, and  to model our exemplary interfaith relations and collaboration. 

Including:      A Day of Community Service – interfaith groupings of volunteers will spend the day together performing community service, followed by a discussion of their shared experience.  (There will be optional days and service projects.  This activity should be of special appeal to younger audiences.)

Concluding:  A Day of Celebration – a fun and educational festival, featuring music and culture, purely non-political, within a setting of many and diverse religious group exhibitors; to include opportunities for interfaith prayer/meditation and dialogue.  (A Sunday afternoon from 1:00-5:00 p.m.)

Inaugural theme:   “Compassion through Action”

WHY:     Religion and religious expression contribute to the soul of a community - its values, its norms, its institutional mores, its human relations, its compassion and, ultimately, its progress.  Cincinnati has been blessed with a rich history of religion’s contributions, especially to the advancement of a civil, socially just, and welcoming community.  As a force for good, our faith community should be celebrated and encouraged to continue its commitment to strengthen and unify our city.  Moreover, there’s value in being reminded of Cincinnati’s leading example as a community that appreciates its religious pluralism and inter-religious collaboration.  The last occasion when the entire community lifted up organized religion and our religious heritage in any major way for public recognition was the 1988 Interfaith Celebration of Cincinnati’s Bicentennial.  There has been nothing on this scale since. 

Two neighboring cities have “festivals of faith:” Louisville (23rd year) and Indianapolis (5th year).  From visits to both cities entailing meetings with their respective festival organizers, we’ve learned of these community benefits from hosting a festival:

  • ·      Unites the community;
  • ·      Demonstrates that religious pluralism is good for a community;
  • ·      Builds interfaith understanding and cooperation;
  • ·      Nurtures community through enlightened programs;
  • ·      Stimulates common action to address community needs; and,
  • ·      Connects people to the region’s religious congregations and faith-based organizations.

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Religious communities are, without question, the largest and best organized civil institutions in the world today, claiming the allegiance of billions of believers and bridging the divides of race, class and nationality.  They are uniquely equipped to meet the challenges of our time; resolving conflicts, caring for the earth, the sick and needy, and promoting peaceful coexistence among all people.” -  Religions for Peace