EquaSion – Coming Together in Community

Cincinnati Friends Meeting (CFM) was one of more than 30 faith organizations involved in the 4th Annual Festival of Faiths, with this year’s activities held on Zoom. Thirteen world religions were included during the 2021 programming, focused on the theme Compassion Through Action: We’re In This Together.

Jim Newby, CFM minister and public Friend, was involved as a member of the planning committee for the event, as he has been each year. He also presented a devotion in the manner of Friends during the event. CFM member Sabrina Darnowsky shared a presentation on marriage in the manner of Friends as part of the Sacred Connections session that focused on Celebrations and Ceremonies in different faith traditions. Her presentation included a video that she produced that included participation from members and attenders from our Meeting.

The Festival is a community-wide effort of EquaSion. Following is an overview of EquaSion
from Jim Newby.

On their website under the heading Who We Are, we learn the following:

EquaSion, formerly known as the Bridges of Faith Trialogue, is a non-partisan civic organization founded upon interfaith dialogue that works to develop educational and community service programming to foster greater understanding, respect, compassion, and engagement for all people and faith communities in Greater Cincinnati and beyond.

They believe that compassion and justice (two faith tenets of Quakers) are central to all faiths,
that freedom guarantees expression of different viewpoints and requires a respect for diverse
beliefs, perspectives and cultural practices, that equality results when we treat everyone with
respect and equity will be achieved when we acknowledge the root causes of unequal
opportunities and take steps to ensure the fair distribution of resources, and that inclusion and
dialogue are essential for building community.

EquaSion was formed when a group of Cincinnati civic leaders came together out of concern for
a socio-political environment characterized by inflammatory rhetoric, scapegoating, divisiveness,
and a spike in hate crimes against our religious and racial minorities. EquaSion is always among
the first organizations to condemn hate crimes in community and to provide avenues toward
greater understanding among our diverse cultures. Each year they sponsor the Festival of Faiths,
which we as a Meeting have supported both financially and as active participants since its
founding. More recently, EquaSion has challenged the religious community to become more
active in concerns surrounding issues of racial injustice. This arm of EquaSion is called a A
Mighty Stream.

With our long history of concern for racial equality, we were one of the first groups to adopt the
resolutions put forth by this group. We continue our commitment to represent our Meeting and
Quakers from our area as an active voice in the mission of EquaSion, which is, “Living our mission
every day through compassion and collective action, we engage people of all faiths to discover
their shared humanity and spirituality, and to work together for an equitable and just community
for everyone.”

We are grateful that Cincinnati has EquaSion that is so dedicated to these concerns. As our
community becomes more diverse and as violence against religious and racial minorities
increases, their (and our) mission will become more and more important.

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