Pacifica Institute – Orange County hosted an Interfaith Iftar gathering at its new location in Irvine on the evening of Wednesday July 1st. Various denominations of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and even the Baha’i faith were represented by the wonderful array of guests in attendance.

As soon as guests arrived, they were greeted and instructed to sit amongst unfamiliar faces in the interest of making new friends. Friendly conversation filled the room and incidentally caused a brief delay in the program. As the program commenced, guests were shown a video highlighting Pacifica Institute’s mission and ongoing service efforts throughout the West Coast. After the video, the program host informed the audience of her multi-faith background and continued with basic information about Islam and some physical, spiritual and communal benefits of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan Interfaith Dinner.

Following a video further explaining the significance of Ramadan for Muslims worldwide and the sounding of the Muslim call to prayer, the guests were invited to begin eating. After a majority of the attendees had received their food and seated themselves at their tables once again, the host informed everyone that whoever had a sticker under their chair would be allowed to take home the beautiful Turkish coffee cup inspired candle gift placed on each table. Guests were delighted as everyone started lifting up and looking cautiously under their chairs.

Melik Sayin, from an Arts and Music store in Huntington Beach, also treated guests to a demonstration of Turkish calligraphy and the program host invited others to bring up requests for names, sayings, or organizations to be calligraphed. Guest speakers included Rabbi Larry Steidman; Daniel Skubik, Ethics and Humanities professor from California Baptist University; Sondos Kholak, co-founder of Miss Understanding; and Lane Calvert, President of the Newport Mesa Irvine Interfaith Council.

As the program came to a close, guests enjoyed tea and desserts while continuing their conversations and exchanging contact information. It was truly a beautiful evening filled with joy and resulting in many new friendships formed.