On June 25, Tysons Interfaith gathered representatives of the Sikh, Bahai, Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian faiths in a corner of The Plaza at Tysons Center Mall for an informal dialog. As the perhaps puzzled onlookers strolled by, our guests warmly shared their own religious story and key tenets of their faith.
Farzad Ardun (Zoroastrian) said his faith all comes down to “right thoughts, right words, and right actions,” an ethic the other participants enthusiastically shared. Chase Foster (Bahai) noted how all the great religions share some formulation of the Golden Rule. Pammi Sachdeva (Sikh) believed that people accept the religion that goes along with the culture that they are born into, often without a critical or deep appreciation, but that his faith had deepened and matured in surprising ways over the years. The Very Rev. Fran Gardner-Smith (St. Thomas Episcopal) described her journey through various Christian denominations until she found her home. Rabbi Chuck Feinberg stressed the importance of appreciating our differences, which is what gives interfaith work so much vitality.
While the sun was hot, the discussion was loving and respectful. Everyone appreciated learning more about traditions that were not their own and for a chance to meet new people and begin developing relationships with representatives of other faiths. Future exchanges might delve further into various formulations of the Golden Rule or how we can carry out the injunction to pursue good thoughts, good words, and good deeds.