Many Faiths Join in a Walk of Peace

The fourth annual United Faiths Walk of Peace brought together many faith communities of Pinellas County to increase understanding and cooperation.

In an expression of mutual respect and unity, members of the broad spectrum of Pinellas County faiths gathered at the Taoist Tai Chi Society in Dunedin, Florida, for the fourth annual United Faiths Walk of Peace.

They walked to Pioneer Park where religious leaders of the five cosponsoring faiths—Scientology, Baha’i, Judaism, Islam and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)—shared their common goal of peace as expressed in their diverse faith traditions. The Scientologists spoke of their belief in the importance of communication in fostering peace. In 1960, Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote, “On the day when we can fully trust each other, there will be peace on Earth.”

Rev. Becky Robbins-Penniman, pastor of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, began United Faiths Walk of Peace four years ago, inspired by the vision of William Ury, co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation.

Throughout the afternoon, members of the many faiths represented introduced themselves to one another and learned more about the beliefs and practices of those participating. They created friendships and planned activities to unite the community in the name of peace.

The route included a visit to the Mosque Masjid Al Salaam and ended at First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin for refreshments and networking.

Those participating included members of the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Dunedin Council of Organizations, St. Francis of Assisi Mission, Faith United Church of Christ, Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin, Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Faith, Taoist Tai Chi Society; Clearwater Friends; Interfaith Tampa Bay; Root Healing Zen; Islamic Society of North Pinellas; Open Door Church; and the Baha’i community.

The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.

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