About 60 friends gathered for food, inspiration, and prayer at VEJ's first Interfaith Prayer Breakfast on May 2.
Hosted by the Congregational Church of Birmingham in Bloomfield Hills, the breakfast featured food by Chef Annabel Cohen and prayers by clergy from four faiths (Baha'i, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim). Rev. Faith Fowler of Cass Community Social Services delivered keynote remarks.
"Of all the things VEJ can do, I think bringing people together for prayer is the most important," said BT Irwin, VEJ's executive director. "When we pray together and share our lives with each other, we become an answer to our own prayers for the world."
The event also served as the starting point for "RISE UP for Justice," a 30-day statewide interfaith prayer initiative led by The Poor People's Campaign.
Rev. Fowler's talk mixed humor and a prophetic voice that challenged, entertained, and inspired the audience at points along the way. The gist of her message was that we cannot hope to care for the planet if we don't first learn how to care for each other.
The main work of the morning was the work of interfaith prayer for people and planet. Clergy who offered prayers were:
Chef Annabel Cohen's food won rave reviews in surveys sent to guests after the event. Edward Jones financial advisor Darrel Quinn sponsored the food.
"One of the main things we set out to do this year was increase the opportunities for people to come together to pray, reflect, and share across faith traditions and walks of life," said Irwin. "That's another way of saying that we want to practice what Rev. Fowler preached. The first step toward VEJ helping people care for the planet is helping people care for each other. This event was a good start."
VEJ will seek to build on what it started at the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast by hosting a series of five Community Meals at Hope House & Gardens through the end of summer. Other interfaith prayer events will be on the calendar later in the year (including the return of a Winter Solstice service in December).