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Day will promote religious unity

With wars and tribulations facing many countries throughout the world, the upcoming World Religion Day may be a welcome sight to many who are weary.

Once again, as in many years past, the Interfaith Council and Baha'is of Citrus County are sponsoring a World Religion Day program, with speakers representing Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and the Bahai faith.

The subject for the upcoming program is "Life After Death."

This year's panel will include: V.K. Kantamneni of the Hindu Temple in Inverness; Rabbi Zvi Ettinger of Congregation Beth Shalom in Beverly Hills; Joan Clark, deacon at Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church in Hernando, who will speak on Christianity; and Tony Ballard, an instructor at St. Petersburg Junior College, who will talk about the Bahai faith.

The program will feature music by vocalists Nellie Cate, and Gibson and Joann Arcos.

World Religion Day was begun in 1950 by the Spiritual Assembly, the national administrative body, of the Bahais of the United States to illustrate the need for religious unity, Ruth Thorpe, a member of the board of directors for the Interfaith council and a member of the Bahai faith, wrote in a recent release concerning the day.

"The purpose of World Religion Day is to call attention to the harmony of spiritual principles and the oneness of the world's religions as well as to emphasize that world religion is the motivating force for world unity," she wrote.

Thorpe also recently spoke about the importance of practiced religion worldwide.

"Religion is the light of the world . . . the happiness of man results from obedience to the laws set down in the holy books of all religion," she said, quoting Bahai scripture.

"As stated in Bahai scripture, religion "should be the cause of love and agreement, a bond to unify all mankind for it is a message of peace and good will to man from God,' " she wrote.

"Religion is the greatest of all means for the establishment of order in the world and for the peaceful contentment of all that dwell therein," according to the release.

Thorpe said she would like to encourage members of all religions to attend the program.

"The basis of world peace is in the teachings of all religions. I think everybody is interested in world peace and achieving love and harmony between people," she said. "When they see the speakers from these programs representing the different faiths and the harmony and agreement between them, it will establish love between people of all different religions and make them interested in other religions."

This year's program will be held at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Women's Club in Crystal River. After each speaker gives a six- to eight-minute talk on the subject, the audience will be invited to ask questions or make comments, according to Thorpe.

Refreshments will be served at the end of the program. For information, call 795-4482.

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