To an outsider, the chorus of about 200 voices at Faith Lutheran Church Sunday night would have seemed like an ordinary community worship service.

“This is our cry/this is our prayer/peace in the world/peace in the world.” As the voices swelled inside the auditorium, it was impossible to discern between Jewish, Muslim and Christian tones.

And that didn’t bother the Rev. Reg Schultz-Akerson a bit.

“As we’re increasing more as a global society, we have to understand each other across global traditions,” he said.

The third annual Celebration of Abraham, sponsored by the Chico Area Interfaith Council, used the shared acceptance of Abraham to promote tolerance and understanding between different faiths.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam are sometimes referred to as the “Abrahamic religions” because of Abraham’s portrayal as a spiritual patriarch in their holy books.

Since 2005, the celebration has started with a vegetarian potluck followed by a worship service intermingling songs and scriptures from each of the three faiths.

“People have been sitting down breaking bread and sharing their lives,” said council chair Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan. “They’re finding out that their neighbor, who might be from a different religion, really isn’t that different at all.”

The service is not meant to be political, and Danan said participants are asked to leave their politics at home.


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