The 30-plus members of the Interfaith Fellowship of Augusta are professional and lay leaders from Christian, Muslim, Judaic, Buddhist and Unitarian Universalist faith communities in the CSRA. We wish our fellow community members the happiest of holidays.
Since many holidays – Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Day, Solstice – are celebrated at this time of year, we can all share our good wishes with one another.
The IFFA does not ignore our differences, which are real and important.
However, we know that we share many of the same most basic values, which can provide the basis for working and celebrating together.
We wish people the hope embodied in a newborn baby: unlimited potential to bring more justice, equity and compassion to our relationships and our world.
Hope is what keeps us working to achieve these goals even when their attainment seems so distant.
We wish people lives filled with joy, the outward manifestation of gratitude for the manifold gifts of life that we do not earn.
We wish people the peace that comes from accepting our flawed as well as our good tendencies, and not projecting only the bad parts onto others.
Recognizing that others are just like us keeps us from thinking they are evil. It lets us work together to build our society on justice, equity and compassion, because if one is lacking there will be no true peace.
Finally, we wish people love, starting with ourselves then extending to family, friends, co-workers, and even those we do not know. All of our religions are based on and teach the kind of love expressed in that religion’s version of the Golden Rule.
So, at this time of celebration and festivities, the members of the IFFA wish everyone lives filled with hope, joy, peace and love.
Andy C. Reese
(The writer is planning committee chairman of the IFFA.)