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Multiple religions to come together at Sims Park for World Peace Days Celebration

THE SUNCOAST NEWS
Published:   |   Updated: May 15, 2013 at 08:27 PM

The Rev. Mary Lou Houllis may be a dreamer, but she's not the only one in West Pasco.

Last November, Houllis and members of the fellowship at New Beginnings Ministries introduced to the area a spiritual event called World Peace Days, a gathering of people of all religious faiths who share a common desire for peace and harmony in the world.

They held the event on the grounds of the ministry, located at 4004 Bonita Road, Holiday, "way off the beaten path," as Houllis put it. Despite the location and limited publicity for the inaugural event, the concept resonated with the community that it drew about 500 people.

Now that it's a known entity, a group of fellowship members called "Be the Change" has worked to take the event to a higher level, moving the World Peace Days Celebration to a more universally known location.

The second annual World Peace Days Celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7 at Sims Park in New Port Richey.

"This is an opportunity for you to help change our community and our world in a positive way," Houllis said.

The United Nations has endorsed an International Day of Peace, which is commonly referred to as World Peace Day, since 1981. It is traditionally observed on Sept. 21. This event is not related to that, although the spirit behind it is essentially the same.

Houllis said this event literally started as a dream she had about five years ago. In the dream, clergy from various religions came up to her one by one and said "We can agree."

The essence of World Peace Days is essentially to bring that dream to life. Spiritual leaders of all faiths are invited to come, laying down their differences and emphasizing their commonality.

"The desire of the ministry was to tear down walls and build bridges allowing all spiritual paths to join with a common purpose of promoting peace, unity, and harmony for all people," Houllis said.

If you look past the rituals, styles and language, Houllis said, the basic goal of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists - just about any religion you can name, pretty much espouses the same goal for mankind, namely peace. Especially now, with so much hardship going in around us, the inner strength and tranquility religion can bring is needed more than ever, Houllis said.

The highlight of the day is a prayer circle at about 3:30 p.m., during which clergy of all faiths will take turns offering prayers in their distinctive manners. Last year, 17 different faiths were represented in the prayer circle, and at least that many are expected again this year.

There will also be a releasing of doves, and musical entertainment throughout the day.

Vendors will offer a wide variety of natural, spiritual, ecological and environmental awareness products and services. The healing arts will be represented with chiropractic, reike, yoga and therapeutic massage. There will be handcrafted items by local artisans, and children's entertainment including face painting, inflatable attractions, balloons and games. A variety of food vendors will also be on site.

The event is free and open to everyone. It is suggested guests bring lawn chairs or blankets.

There is still time for vendors to take part. Those interested contact event co-chair Angel Davis at 727-859-2407 or by email at sacredspirit@mac.com. For more information on the event, visit www.WorldPeaceDays.com.

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