2014 Peace Walk

Side by Side on Sacred Ground: Celebrating Transformations

The 11th annual Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation on April 27, 2014 was a huge success.  The theme of our walk this year was “Side by Side on Sacred Ground: Celebrating Transformations”.  During a retreat last fall, the Peace Walk group made a decision to develop connections with folks doing transformative work in the Kensington part of Philadelphia. During the year we engaged in a variety of experiences with some of these folks and highlighted them during our annual walk. 

Some 500 walkers of all ages were welcomed enthusiastically by the youth group at the Al Aqsa Islamic Society. A brief program followed, which included a reflection about peace in the Muslim tradition, a reading by a young poet from ArtWell, and a description of the Kensington ministries of the Catholic Worker and St. Francis Inn.  The program concluded with chanting by the Imam.

We were then met by members of the Cross and Crescent group who carefully guided us through the streets of Philadelphia, as they have for many of our walks.

Our second stop was St. Francis Inn, where we were warmly greeted by the Franciscan staff. Music filled the air as two young Franciscan volunteers led us in song in the courtyard where more then 350 people wait every day for the meals served by the Franciscan volunteers.

Walkers continued to West Kensington Ministry, where the group entered to music by a Jewish choir, followed by the Muslim Call to Prayer, a welcome by the pastor of West Kensington Ministry, a reflection by a Rabbi about peace from the Jewish tradition, a Hindu chant by the founder of the Intercultural Youth Council, a Sikh shabad (hymn) by Sikh community youth members, and reflections by Walking the Walk youth of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. Muslim afternoon prayers then took place with both Muslims and non-Muslims participating.   The afternoon concluded with a reception of intercultural food and lots more animated conversation.