Women of diverse faiths unite to share spirituality

Women of diverse faiths unite to share spirituality

Mark I. Pinsky
of The Sentinel Staff

Published in The Orlando Sentinel on September 23, 1999.

Central Florida's largest and longest-running interfaith prayer gathering convenes tonight, bringing together more than 1,000 women from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Baha'i religions.

The spectrum of Christian faiths alone represented at the 13th annual Women's Interfaith Prayer Celebration, sponsored by Florida Hospital, includes Protestants, Catholics and Seventh-day Adventists.

"Thirteen years ago, as part of Florida Hospital's mission to treat the whole person -- mind, body and spirit -- we started the Interfaith Prayer Celebration," said Mary Lou Cummings, the event's chairwoman.

"It's a wonderful event where women from all different faiths join together to share life experiences through stories and music. This event truly celebrates our commonalities, rather than focusing on our diversity," she said.

Featured on the program at this year's sold-out dinner at the Expo Centre are prayers, songs, poetry and dance illustrating the theme, "Mirror of the Soul: Reflecting God's Love."

A local trio of Jewish teenagers called Visions will open and close the program with selections from their first CD, Living the Dream. The girls -- Amy Turner, Andra London and Talia Osteen -- got their start singing in religious services at Congregation Ohev Shalom in Orlando.

Their CD is a mix of traditional and contemporary religious songs, some in Hebrew, as well as Broadway show tunes and inspirational songs written by members of the group. The group's distinctive, three-part harmony has made the trio increasingly popular around the country, but the teens acknowledge that the group's future may be limited.

"I think we'll expand for the next two years, increase our repertoire," said Andra, 15. "But then Talia leaves for college. I never really thought it would last forever. I think it's a great experience. I'm really happy it got this big."

Tongelia Milton of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

[Posted 09/22/1999 11:05 PM EST]

©Copyright 1999, Orlando Sentinel
Original Story

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