On June 20th, 2017 the Rumi Forum brought the traditions of Ramadan to the National Cathedral for what was the highest iftar in Washington, D.C.
The ‘Nation’s Church’, dedicated to serving the country and its many faith traditions opened its doors for staff and distinguished guests of the Rumi Forum to break their fast with members of the church’s leadership and congregation. Attendees were brought together on the top floor of the Cathedral to exchange in thoughtful dialogue between one another and engage members of the Episcopal Church in a conversation about the significance of the Holy Month and the practice of fasting from dawn until sunset.
Guests gathered in the Pilgrim Observation Gallery with panoramic views of Virginia, D.C., and Maryland to watch as the sun was setting over the horizon, silenced as the call to prayer was sung, and breaking bread in its wake.
President of the Rumi Forum, Emre Celik gave the opening remarks, welcoming guests and extending his gratitude to the National Cathedral for hosting the event. President Celik stated that the Forum’s mission is to bridge divides or, at the very least not be complacent in preventing harmful division by bringing people together on shared values and respect for differences. “We look forward to a greater cooperation with you on the pathway to a better humanity,” he stated at the end of his introduction.
The Very Rev. Randolph ‘Randy’ Marshall Hollerith, 11th Dean of Washington National Cathedral (August 2016 to present) then shared a few words in how wonderful it was to share in this unique occasion with those of other faith backgrounds and how pleased he was with the benefit of this kind of outreach to diverse members of the community. Unlike some events, sharing a meal with complete strangers allowed guests to form deeper connections and become harmonious with one another.
The Rumi Forum thanks the Washington National Cathedral for continuing its mission as a convener, dedicated to creating programming to bring people together in conversation and partnership, and following through with its vision of seeking to be a catalyst for spiritual harmony in our nation, reconciliation among faiths, and compassion in the world.