PACIFICA

IN ST. PETER Catholic Church, people of different faiths got a lesson Sunday on how to find peace.

Their teachers — a Buddhist, an Episcopal minister and a preacher from the Baha'i faith — told an audience of more than 50 people that to find peace, it starts within themselves, and they must accept each other.

St. Peter Church, St. Edmund's Episcopal Church and The Baha'is of Pacifica were the sponsors for World Religion Day, an event celebrated in more than 80 countries.

Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Native American and the Baha'i faiths have similar tenets on how to achieve peace — a highly held value, said Sue Thompson of St. Edmund's.

The idea is that people of different faiths nurture understanding and communication between the different faiths.

"Religion is a source and promoter of peace," said Linda Leeb Duper of the Pacifica Baha'is. "(Teaching peace) is something we all felt strongly about with the wars and rumors of wars going on now. We live in a violent and sometimes belligerent society."

Sunday night was filled with prayers read by children, and song. And there was reflection.

Of the speakers during Pacifica's event, Rabbi Lionel Traubman talked about the importance of listening.

"We have two ears and one tongue," he said. "(We should) listen more than we talk. Then we see each other as humans and equals. We begin to want the best for others, not just for ourselves."

Buddhist Delia McGrath believes that peace must first be developed in the individual.

"We teach peace by living our lives in peace, and he or she can create an atmosphere of harmony," she said. "How to do that on a daily basis takes a lot of practice."

McGrath advises finding words that are soothing and sharing them with a "beloved person, a neutral person and eventually someone who has harmed you.

"We have a choice to fan the flames of violence, or a choice to cultivate seeds of compassion," McGrath said. "You can do it through thoughts, intentions and conduct through our lives. Bring love and kindness to yourselves."

Meanwhile, Jesus Christ epitomized peace, and that acceptance is key to achieve peace, said Douglas Pleasure of St. Edmond's.

"Jesus healed people in peace, Jesus blessed people in peace, Jesus greeted people in peace, and Jesus talked to people about peace," Pleasure said. "Christ has welcomed us all weak and strong. We must all embrace the other if peace among us is to exist."

Staff writer Christine Morente can be reached at (650) 348-4333 or at cmorente@sanmateocountytimes.com.