On Sunday afternoon, April 23, 2017, the Canaan Congregational Church (CCC) hosted an Interfaith Celebration of the Earth—a prayer service and jazz concert. Interspersed with the music were readings from diverse faith traditions: Rev. Koshin Karl Bower, a Tendai Buddhist priest ordained at the Buddhist temple on Route 295, led a thoughtful meditation; Yaqin Joseph Aubert, a Sufi from the neighboring Abode of the Message led a breathing meditation; form CCC Deacon Jay Aronson read a Native American prayer; Nellie Rustick, who represented St. James Roman Catholic Church, sang a beautiful Marty Haugen song, “Canticle of the Sun”; and of course, Rev. Charlie Close, represented our Protestant Congregational faith. And in keeping with the interfaith spirit of the event, the jazz quartet performed a traditional Jewish song, “Adamah Veshamayim [Earth and Sky].”
Each individual message was inspired, and the responsive readings were deeply moving.
The jazz group, comprised of four performers, saxophonist Willie Sordillo, pianist Chris Bakriges, bassist Avery Sharpe, and vocalist Zoë Krohne, were terrific. Although each performer was a wonderful soloist, when they performed together as a group, the effect was powerful.
It is praying, singing, and worshiping together—in a group—that is the most compelling and the most sustaining.