Monday, January 10, 2011

The Islamic Center of Dallas

On Friday, January 7th, 2011 I visited the Turquoise Center in Richardson for Quran Study Program with a Turkish group.  The talk was called, "An outline of the complete system of Islamic life, Chapter 103: The Time" The teacher was Mr. H. Toprak.

I found I was very concerned about visiting this group for study.  I observed my discomfort and listened to the words it was telling me.  It was very instructive.  It said, because of uncertainty, it would be easier not to go.  I finally overrode everything and went anyway.  I set up this project to get to know people in different faith-practices.  It turned out that I had even met a couple of people through a Ramadan dinner the previous Fall, at Unity Church of Dallas.

I walked in with a very friendly woman and served myself some of the traditional dinner. There were three large round tables where men were sitting and one large round table where women were sitting.  Two women did not wear head scarves.  I had checked before I came, through the Meet-Up group about appropriate dress.  I was informed that I could wear anything.

During the talk, we were invited to ask questions about anything.  An American man sitting closer to the speaker did ask a couple of questions which were graciously answered.

I found myself listening to the principles of living a spiritual life, principles which could be practiced anywhere, in any religion.  I visited with the women after the Quran teaching and we talked about childbirth, a universal experience.

I went home feeling elated.  I had taken notes during the talk so I could follow it with more focus.  I went to bed feeling very good about the whole experience and woke up the next morning with a sense of deep peace.

Here is the link to the MeetUp group:

The Dallas Islamic Center is a religious organization based in DFW, promoting religious understanding and providing Quran Studies on all Friday nights at 7:00.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

St. Andrews Christian Church

We visited St. Andrews Christian Church ( in Carrollton on Sunday, January 2nd.

The friendly atmosphere was set by greeters and  by announcements of activities during the week via slideshow and by members of the congregation from the pews.

This small auditorium has delightful acoustics.

The Old Testament Reading was Ecc. 3:1-8 by Robyn Gerko.  The New Testament Reading was Matt. 25:31-40 by Russell Daniel.

The congregation joined in several hymns and praise songs.

A wonderful sermon “Tending the Embers” was read as a story from a volume published by the Albany Institute,  Gifts of an Uncommon Life, by the pastor, Rev. Randy Smithson.

Music was provided by Lisa Morales, with a special guest violinist, her cousin, Janelle Davis.  Ms. Davis played a Baroque violin.

This church really provides ways to be close to its congregation. It includes the membership in so many community activities.

© 2011 Kathryn Hardage

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Shared Vision DFW

In John Grisham’s novel, The Last Juror, a small town newspaper owner visits every church in his area of circulation and writes about his visit to each.

When I learned about Dallas’ bid to host the Parliament of World Religions in 2014, I learned that there are over 300,000 churches and non-profit organizations in the Metroplex.

The possibility of getting to know many of these and how they contribute to the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex seems like an amazing opportunity, because I believe that what happens at the grassroots level sets the atmosphere for the city.

I am very excited about this blog, because it is something I would want to do anyway.

I am calling it “Shared Vision”.  We can accomplish so much with our shared vision.

The organizing principles for the PWR 2014 are:

    to promote inter-religious harmony, rather than unity
    based on convergence of purpose, rather than consensus of belief and practice
    operates through facilitation rather than formal structure
    seeks to build trust as much as agreement  

The dialogue provided by this opportunity will lay the groundwork for addressing and solving some of the deep issues and problems within our area such as immigration, racism, environment, political climate, education and many others.

I look forward to being part of this dialogue through “Shared Vision”.

Kathryn Hardage