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November 22, 1996 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-22

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-1 t"~ %A Cr rc

The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 22, 1996 - 7

.......... I I 11 II 1 l YYl YII I e A

aitlful give thanks together
at loca interfait Celebration

jV .71t

By Arthur Chiaravalli
For the Daily
In a time when many are emphasiz-
eligious differences, local groups
1 a be trying to find common ground
at Sunday's Interfaith Thanksgiving
Celebration.
Ann Schoonmaker, a member of the
Baha'i faith who is involved in organiz-
ing-the event, said Thanksgiving is an
especially appropriate holiday because
it has not been "claimed" by any one
faith;
"it's a holiday
about setting
*rt our differ- Thant
ence5, crossing
bouidaries and Hoe one
seeing what
unites us," she
said can trul
The gathering - Rabbi
willbe held at 7 Beth Isra
p.m. at the
Church of Jesus
List of Latter Day Saints on Green
d, and includes many denomina-
tions that practice in Ann Arbor.
Ai'donation of either canned or dried
goons, or money is suggested.
Rabbi Robert Dobrusin of Beth
Israel Congregation on Washtenaw
Avenue agreed that the holiday holds
special importance.
"As an American Jew, Thanksgiving
is a tremendous opportunity," he said.
"It. has a spiritual root, a religious
t but it's also a secular holiday
w ere we don't have to be completely
centered on our own heritage.
Thanksgiving is the one holiday we
can truly share."
The celebration will feature readings

from the Torah, Quran, New Testament
and the Book of Mormon, as well as a
Hindu chant, an organ prelude and
Buddhist meditation.
The Ann Arbor Interfaith Alliance,
which will be hosting the event, was
founded three years ago as an offshoot
of the nationwide organization United
Now in Serving Our Neighbors. UNI-
SON encourages the clergy and lay
people of different religions to unite in
the common goal of social and political
change.

ksgiving is
holiday we
v share. "
Robert Dobrusin
ael Congregation

UNISON,
which is co-
sponsoring the
event, has
sought to orga-
nize communi-
ties of low to
m o d e r a t c
incomes, said
Tad Wysor,
countywide
UNISON direc-

ple, AAIA has strived since its incep-
tion to bring together the wide variety
of faiths that make up the Ann Arbor
community.
"We found that we were coexisting
and never talking to one another," said
Beth Ament, one of the organizers for
this year's event and a member of the
Unitarian Universalist Church on
Washtenaw Avenue.
Ament said she realized the necessity
of interfaith exchange when she first
heard of the travesties in Bosnia.
"I just saw how lucky we are to live
in a country where there's so much
diversity and tolerance of religious dif-
ferences," she said. "We need to learn
and share our traditions with other reli-
gions."
Lambrides explained that, before
AAIA was founded, Ann Arbor did not
have a real forum to deepen apprecia-
tion for other religions.
"I can be pejorative toward another
faith until I start to know them person-
ally," he said. "These are friends of
mine, not labels or denominations.
These are people who are part of my
weekly conversation."
The basis of this ongoing dialog is a
meeting on the third Tuesday of every
month, where members of different con-
gregations come together to discuss mat-
ters affecting the entire faith community.
As to the more profound resonances
of this gathering, Sukha Murray, resi-
dent priest of the Zen Buddhist Temple
on Packard Road, sees the Ann Arbor
interfaith community as a microcosm
that mirrors and prepares people for the
macrocosm of the world. "We are like a
drop of water in an ocean that bears the
same characteristics."

PFLAG
Continued from Page I
Founders also included Jim TIcy and
Laura Sanders, who were coordinators
of the Lesbian Gay Programs Office in
the '70s. Bisexual was added to the title
later.
Toy said his involvement with creat-
ing a PFLAG chapter began out of ideas
expressed in a youth support group he
began through the Gay Liberation Front
in the late '70s.
"It became clear almost immediately
that students there felt their parents
would benefit from there being orga-
nized here a support group for parents
and friends," Toy said.
Edwards said the group creates an
atmosphere of support by allowing les-
bians, gays, their families and friends to
share their own experiences with each
other.
"Attending a PFLAG meeting gives
people the opportunity to meet other
lesbians and gays (and hear about) their
experiences coning out" Edwards said.
"(It gives) parents the opportunity of
talking to other parents and ... to ask
questions about what it's like to be les-
bians or gays."
The organization holds meetings on
the third Sunday of every month at the
First Unitarian Universalist Church on
Washtenaw Avenue.
Edwards said the meetings start with
a general group discussion about issues
concerning lesbians and gays, then the
group breaks up into smaller groups
where members discuss intimately their
personal experiences.
Scott LaLonde said he appreciated
his experiences at the PFLAG meeting.
"It was nice to see people with a
common bond, getting together, dis-
cussing issues and helping each other
out, LaLonde said.
In addition to the monthly meetings,
Edwards said PFLAG of Ann Arbor
also holds a walkathon, an annual din-
ner dance, an annual picnic and several

dances throughout the year. He said the
group also sponsors speakers and
workshops on lesbian/gay/bisexual
issues to promote civil rights and edu-
cate.
"There's a lot of things we do to
make sure that we're visible,' Edwards
said.
PFLAG also holds an annual confer-
ence of the nation's PFLAG chapters.
Edwards said about 2,000 people
attended this year's conference in
Washington, D.C., from Oct. I1-14. He
said the Ann Arbor chapter was the
largest in attendance.
In addition, the Ann Arbor
PFLAG awards two $500 scholar-
ships to students at the University
and Eastern Michigan University.
The scholarships are given to stu-
dents active in the lesbian/gay/bisex-
ual community.
Ryan LaLonde received one schol-
arship this year along with Suzanne
Kelsey of EMU. LaLonde said he was
grateful for the award, and his brother
said he was pleased to see him suc-
ceed.
"It was tough (for him) to go through
high school and it's nice to see him
achieving everything he wanted to,"
LaLonde said.
Toy said the Ann Arbor PFLAG often
works with University organizations
such as LGBPO and community groups
like the Washtenaw Lesbian Gay

Bisexual Trans-Gendered Community
Council.
"They liaison and do cooperative
things from time to time (as well as)
share information and support each
other," Toy said.
Edwards said PFLAG has a responsi-
bility to work with University groups.
"We really feel part of the communi-
ty and we want to assist any way we
can," Edwards said.
Toy said the Ann Arbor chapter is
doing a good job.
"They are a necessary and extremely
helpful group," Toy said. "(The chapter)
has been doing consistently good work"
In addition to being one of the 15
largest chapters of PFLAG in the coun-
try, Edwards said the Ann Arbor
PFLAG is one of the most active
"because of the type of city that we live
in."
Edwards said one of the best things
about the chapter is the existence of a
large number of friends that get
involved in addition to the families. As
a friend of lesbians and gays himself, he
said friends are an important source of
support because they may be listened to
when lesbian/gay/bisexuals and their
families aren't.
"We need to have a connection
between the heterosexual and homo-
sexual community in order to obtain
civil rights and social justice)"
Edwards said.

tor.
Although still associated with UNI-
SON, AAIA has gone its own way,
responding to needs unique to the Ann
Arbor community.
The Rev. George Lambrides, a minis-
ter at the First Baptist Church on Huron
Street and a founding member of
AAIA, remembered that while the idea
of strengthening interfaith relations
appealed to Ann Arbor clergy, further
meetings revealed differences.
"We just felt that we should concern
ourselves first with building unity with-
in the faith community, and then with
social change, not the other way
around."
Made up of both clergy and lay peo-

An Evening with Grant Gallup
"The Church as Liberator and Oppressor"
The Rev. Grant Gallup, a gay Episcopal priest runs a retreat house in
Managua, Nicaragua, and writes and speaks with tremendous insight on
the call to solidarity with the poor and oppressed. He will speak with us
concerning the role of the church as both a facilitator of, and a barrier to
that solidarity

Sunday, November 24
Lord of Light Lutheran Church
801 South Forest, Ann Arbor
5:00 pm, with supper following

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line ad: Nov. 27
camera ready ad: Nov.26
type copy ad: Nov. 25
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type copy ad: Nov. 26
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Sunday, November 24
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Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen
Mendelssohn Theatre, 2 p.m.
Tickets:$18 and $14 (764.0450)
Commemorative Recital: 60 Years on the Concert Stage
Erling Blondal Bengtsson, cello
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" Barber: Sonata No. 6
* Sveinsson: From the Silent World
" Boccherini: Concerto in B-flat Major for cello and strings
* Bentzon: Improvisations on "The Volga Boatmen"
. Piatigorsky: Variations on a Paganini Theme
Recital Hall, 4 p.m.
Digital Music Ensemble
Babar the Elephant
Media Union, 4 p.m.
Monday, November 25
Michigan Youth Ensembles
Jerry Blackstone, Hugh Floyd, Jeffrey Grogan,and
Michael Webster, conductors
Hill Auditorium, 7p.m.
Faculty Recital
Martin Katz, piano
David Daniels- countertenor

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