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Interfaith dinners help guests reflect on faith — theirs and others'

Recent “Amazing Faiths” interfaith dinners, a project of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, helped participants reflect on their own faith beliefs as well as the faith beliefs of others.
BY CARLA HINTON chinton@opubco.com Published: December 1, 2012
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/articleid/3733404/1/pictures/1896853">Photo - Jody Smith , left, and Terri Angier hug beside Greg Smith on Nov. 19 as guests greet each other before a dinner between people of different faiths in Edmond. The dinner is part of the Amazing Faiths project by the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, bringing together people of different faiths for dinner and interfaith conversation. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman <strong>BRYAN TERRY - THE OKLAHOMAN</strong>
Jody Smith , left, and Terri Angier hug beside Greg Smith on Nov. 19 as guests greet each other before a dinner between people of different faiths in Edmond. The dinner is part of the Amazing Faiths project by the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, bringing together people of different faiths for dinner and interfaith conversation. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman BRYAN TERRY - THE OKLAHOMAN

Mashiana said he experienced a time in his life where he felt disconnected from God, but he became connected with God and the Sikh faith of his family in his college years of searching for answers to the complexities of life.

When someone wondered aloud how to get people who seem against all faiths other than their own to one of the interfaith gatherings, Jim Huff shared his observations. Huff said he has had in-depth conversations with several Christians opposed to associating with people of other faiths.

He said most of them have unfortunately made their minds up long ago that interfaith mingling and friendships are to be avoided.

Sarbjit “Sabi” Singh, an Oklahoma City Sikh and Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma leaders, said the alliance was pleased with this year's gatherings.

He said counting the different Christian denominations, between 15 and 18 faith groups were represented. Each of the groups included about 12 people.

Singh said about 20 percent more people participated in the initiative.

“We're hoping to keep that up, to keep up the momentum,” he said.

Singh said the ultimate goal of the dinners is the formation of meaningful interfaith relationships.

“The idea is to let them become aware that people, though they have different faiths and beliefs, their interested in life are often the same,” he said. “Hopefully, some of them will become friends.”

He said most of the groups plan to meet again around mid-February.


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