Bahai News -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Hundreds Pray And Chant For Peace

Hundreds Pray And Chant For Peace
A Lakeside Walk Provides Setting For Group Meditation

Source: Seattle Post - Intelligencer
Publication date: 2003-01-01

Megan Coggeshall, 12, right, Heidi Anderson,
center, and Caitlin Coggeshall, 14, left, join
about 300 people in prayer and meditation on
the banks of Green Lake last night.
As the last rush-hour traffic of 2002 whirred around Green Lake last night, hundreds of men, women and children gathered at the water's edge to take time out for peace.

"I thought it was something I could do with other people to help create community and to work toward peace," Carmen Chambers of Seattle said as she sheltered her candle from the breeze, before the start of the fourth annual New Year's Eve Walking Meditation for Compassion and Peace.

It was Chambers' first New Year's Eve walk around the lake. Mariah Maracle of Seattle, who held her candle next to Chambers in the deepening twilight, was returning to the lake last night after joining the procession for the first time in 2001.

"It was an awesome experience, walking with all these people, with the intent of peace on Earth," she said.

"Walking with intent with so many people is very powerful."

Before taking to the 2.7-mile path around the lake, the walkers gathered in a circle near the Green Lake Community Center to hear prayers, songs and chants from representatives of a variety of religious and spiritual traditions.

"As the new year is born, may we be reborn with the resources we need to be true peacemakers in this troubled word," prayed the Rev. Donald Mackenzie Jr. of University Congregational United Church of Christ.

In his invocation, Rabbi Ted Falcon of Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue in Bellevue said, "Peace is not only to be prayed for, but to be pursued as well."

Falcon led the crowd in gentle, rhythmic repetition of "Shalom," a Hebrew word he said is translated as "peace," but which also means completeness.

Musicians from the Vedanta Society performed a song from their Hindu-influenced repertoire. Jamal Rahman, a minister at Interfaith Community Church, chanted an Islamic blessing.

Rahman helped organize the walk, which also included representatives of the Baha'i faith, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism and Celtic, Sikh and Native American spiritual traditions. The walks evolved from a collaboration between his church and David "Sky" Enroth, a lay member of Seattle First Baptist Church.

Enroth, dressed against the evening chill in a Mariner cap and matching jacket, said the inspiration came from the United Religions Initiative, an ecumenical movement that grew out of a 1995 celebration in San Francisco of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.

"I'm a Buddhist-Baptist, so I'm interfaith by nature," he said.

Their candles flickering, the walkers began their hourlong circuit of the lake, singing another chant from ancient India: "Om shanti om, I am a peaceful soul."

P-I reporter Gregory Roberts can be reached at 206-448-8022 or

Publication date: 2003-01-01

©Copyright 2003, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA, USA)

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