Uncovering Our Sacred Texts

IMG_8115Our sacred texts, whether they are understood as divine or mortal in provenance, give words to our understanding of God and our relationship to God, often provide us the words to speak to God, and the ideas that define our behavior towards ourselves and each other. And they describe the rituals that define the daily and seasonal practices of our many faith traditions.

At their hearts, they have much in common, as do we. But in their particulars, they are rich in diversity. On Sunday, September 18th, 3:30 – 6:00 pm, please join us at the Mata Tripta Ji Gurdwara Sahib: 40600 Plymouth Road, Plymouth for a panel discussion on Sacred texts, what makes them sacred, and the various rituals we use to express our reverence of them: Why do Sikhs wave a feathered whisk over the Guru Granth Sahib? Why must Jews dispose of a Torah by burying it? Why do Catholics cross themselves when opening the bible?

Our expert panel will include:

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Larry Thomas Cleveland currently serves as the president of the Michigan Detroit Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  President Cleveland was a former stake president, bishop, high councilor, seminary teacher, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the South Carolina Columbia Mission. Professionally he has worked as a certified public accountant.

Islam: Imam Achmat Salie is the creator of Islamic Studies Program at the University of Detroit Mercy. Dr. Salie has extensive experience in Islamic Studies, both in South Africa and the United States. He is also active in inter-faith efforts in the United States and abroad. His academic preparation includes a Bachelor of Arts in Arabic and Islamic Studies, six years of intensive seminary studies in Islamic Jurisprudence, and a Master of Business Administration and Doctorate in Business Leadership. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Islamic Studies.

Christian Science: Mary Helen Black is a former First Reader at Birmingham’s First Church of Christ, Scientist elected by the congregation to conduct the services; former member and chair of its Board of Directors; and former Librarian of the Christian Science Reading Room in Birmingham. Also a member of the worldwide Christian Science church known as The Mother Church – The First Church of Christ, Scientist – in Boston, MA since 1959. Recently, she spent 11 years training members in the selling of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, Founder of the Christian Science church, to bookstores across the U.S., and helping booksellers host events to promote the sell-through of this textbook on Christ-healing. She also assisted members of local Christian Science churches around the world promote public lectures on Christian Science in their community.

Sikhism: Raman Singh has long been a leader in the Sikh community, participating in her local Gurdwara (Gurdwara Sahib Mata Tripta).  She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Gurdwara and helps run the youth educational programming and outreach work. She is active in interfaith work and has been associated with IFLC since before it was incorporated. Her involvement with IFLC has included working on the Education Committee and co-chairing the Grants Advisory Committee, and serving on the Development Committee.  Raman works with various organizations including WISDOM, World Sabbath, and the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, along with Interfaith Power and Light. She is a regular panelist on the DPTV Program Interfaith Odyssey. She has served on the School Board for the West Bloomfield School District, and currently serves on various School District committees.

Catholicism: Brother Al Mascia, OFM, is a Franciscan Friar of the St. John the Baptist Province. He has spent over 30 years ministering to the poor, disenfranchised and homeless, and has taught classes in adult faith formation and performed his story-songs and ballads of the street for audiences large and small. He holds advanced degrees from Catholic Theological Union, Western Theological Seminary and Chicago Theological Seminary; is the recipient of several community service awards and the subject of numerous video feature stories. The Franciscan heritage is a veritable treasure trove of poetic, imaginative and lyrical ways of preaching and living the Gospel; through teaching, singing and outreach efforts, Brother Al stays connected to this ancient spiritual narrative.

Judaism: Hazzan Steve Klaper is a Jewish troubadour – a spiritual storyteller, minstrel and teacher. An ordained Cantor, Maggid (spiritual storyteller and preacher) and teacher of Torah, Steve draws upon his Orthodox Jewish roots and over 40 years’ experience as a professional musician, infusing traditional Jewish teachings with mystical chant and melodies, sacred tales and wisdom from a variety of traditions. His teaching is engaging and contemporary – yet reminiscent of an ancient time and place that feels somehow familiar.

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