The annual Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation (“The Peace Walk”) took place yesterday on a beautiful Spring Sunday afternoon. This year, the Peace Walk made its way through our Kensington neighborhood. Our ministry participated in this event. The Peace Walk is a walking dialogue between Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and others. The theme for this year is “Side by Side on Sacred Ground: Celebrating Transformations.”
The Peace Walk makes three stops along the way. The event began at the Al Aqsa Mosque and proceeded to St. Francis Inn for a second stop and concluded at the West Kensington Ministry Church. At each stop there was an interfaith program with members of the faith communities sharing prayers, speech and song how they understand peace. At the mosque Tammy Kinney, Franciscan Volunteer Minister, spoke about her experience and about our ministry in the neighborhood. Also, a talk was given on peace in the Muslim tradition. The second stop was an outdoor event in the courtyard of the Inn. The community members welcomed a very large crowd of about 500 people in the yard and on the sidewalk. They received a few words of welcome and introduction by Fr. Michael and Tim Quinn and Tammy Kinney led us in a few peace songs. The last stop on the Peace Walk was at the West Kensington Ministry at Norris Square a few blocks away from the Inn. The walkers listened to a peace reflection from the Jewish tradition, chanting of a Hindu prayer, and music.
The Peace walk is not a march, or protest, or demonstration, but rather a kind of walking dialogue. No political slogans or banners are permitted. The only signs carried are those that proclaim commitment to peace, reconciliation, and unity. The tone is contemplative and the intention is to celebrate our unity and learn from one another as we walk from one house of worship to another. The event ended with food and fellowship taking place in the Social Hall of the West Kensington Ministry.