Ms. Annie Heart, Chair of the Inter-Religious Action Network, works to further the mission of her organization that “promotes and supports relationships, dialogue, understanding and community spirit among the broadly defined faith family.” Through interfaith events and interfaith dialogues, the faith community increases understanding and builds relationships and works together to resolve issues of concern to all. A guest speaker at the dedication of the Church of Scientology in Portland, Oregon, she spoke of the Church’s long-standing work on behalf of residents across the state: “You have been a vital partner and leader in the inter-religious community. So thank you to everyone for being here, and for serving our county-wide cities and fostering partnerships and peace throughout our beautiful state of Oregon.”
Being a student of religion, I have learned and participated in a lot of religious faith traditions. And it is through the work of your members that I came to be introduced to the Church of Scientology and your dedication to the inter-religious community. Together your volunteers have devotedly represented your Church. And I congratulate you, all of you, for making this very special day possible!
Inter-religious work is an inseparable characteristic of creating a healthy community, as well as a city and county to be proud of. I believe in the village concept that we are connected in community, in relationship, and that we are all one family. The more we celebrate diversity and work together and respect each other, the better world we will have and this will enhance everyone’s well-being and sense of self-worth. This is worth striving for. And today let’s celebrate this fact, because I know that you welcome people from all religions and you’ve welcomed me. And I am moved by the quality of your people—you really care! You’re vitally interested and engaged—you’re good citizens! And yes, your Church is a sanctuary for inter-religious fellowship.
One salient point about your Church is that you contribute the most important aspect of inter-religious work to our community. And that aspect is organization. Recent history demonstrates that together, we united people of many faith traditions to lend their weight of support against the growing war movement, here and across the country. And we turned what was an anti-government cry throughout this state into a humanitarian movement forwarding brotherhood and sisterhood amongst humankind. In that way, so much, and so much more, you demonstrated your knowledge and the tools to help a group of concerned citizens to achieve its goals.
I believe that what is happening here in Portland is unique. Our inter-religious community working with the support of our local government is creating a model for other cities to follow, across the country. Using this model we could harness the inherent shared passion amongst our faith communities and do so much more for our nation. You have all been a vital partner and leader in the inter-religious community here and thus carried forward your winning tradition in this city, the site of your Religious Freedom Crusade.
Thank you to everyone for being here and for serving our cities county-wide, and for fostering community partnerships and peace throughout our beautiful state of Oregon. May the peaceful crusade that you began in the decades past be evermore harmonious and victorious in the future.
Thank you for being here.