Reports from Table Discussion at 10th Annual MultiFaith Banquet

How do you experience compassion in your daily life?

·       Do things for people without expectations; to get to know the person; be generous

·       Compassion: we must first have compassion for ourselves, then we can easily extend it to others; non-judgment; empathizing; trying to see someone form their perspective; the stage for the process of moving into love; treating them with understanding and helping them to peel away the layers of that which keep them for loving themselves

·       Through children; listen to other people’s problems; comfort people, help find solution; upbringing – taught to give back; learn honesty/fairness; outreach

·       Helping drug addicts [profession], family, friends, pantry, mental health, Salvation Army, host/assist international students

·       Reach out – touch other lives; St. Francis Prayer – substitute compassion for the word love; difficult to be kind to those doing well – seems to need more compassion; usually those who need advocates—children, poverty, elderly homeless—receive compassion

·       It is called ‘food for thought’ – there is a wonderful opportunity each Saturday to practice compassion in our city. At the downtown library people who are poor and with limited means gathers and others who are able come as well and they share their resources – food, clothing, toiletries … More important people take the opportunity to talk to one another, to build relationships – it is a place to observe and practice compassion.

·       See every person as your sister or brother – as an extension of yourself and respond to them honoring their dignity as a person.  Compassion is empathy in action.  It happens one on one.  Contemplative prayer can develop a peaceful heart.

·       I hope to make myself available and approachable to others, close or distant, instead of being judgmental.

·       Someone who came to the country 30 years ago was helped to start a new life by neighbors who are still friends.  Church women came daily to stay with her husband who was sick so she could work so they could all eat.

·       Compassion – to love, to be kind, forgiving, benevolent, merciful with a passion

·       To be compassionate is to “put yourself in someone else’s place”

·       Honoring all life – helping those in need.

·       Listening to other people to understand where they came from and share our experiences; getting to know each other on personal basis –caring about them & helping them solve their problems; going beyond expectations; being a good listener; Make people comfortable – help my students who need help to be back on track and be successful.

·       Share feelings/common ground with each other daily – each person reach out

·       To promote the understanding that we all have the same emotions and to recognize and feel the emotions of others.  It starts individually.  How do we take it from here to our neighborhoods and streets?

·       Aware of another’s needs and feelings; compassion starts in home; say ‘good morning’ with a smile; need tolerance and acceptance first

·       Try to be kind to everyone; try to smile to everyone; gatherings such as these; food pantries; talk up gatherings as these to family and friends; news coverage to become aware of gatherings

·       Greeting others with a smile; we talk, we dialog, we support the persecuted; take a risk in meeting others – invite them to multicultural activities

·       Compassion on a daily basis – dealing with people, showing compassion to patients, in particular those with terminal illnesses- those in need of shelter, in need of protection

·       Compassion comes through human hands; when we wake up – living always like it’s the ‘last day’; serving others, walking the walk.  If you were arrested for being a member of your faith, would there be enough evide3nce to convict you?

·       Compassion is experienced as connection to others.  Newcomers experience Toledo as welcoming and open toward strangers.  Reaching beyond the comfort zone of our own faith is itself an act of compassion.  Getting to know the ‘other’ is a first step.  Recreating education to develop our youth to be ‘global citizens’ focused on service to others [all beings].

·       Family, kids, pets, interaction with people

·       I experience compassion in my daily life to seeing Jesus in everyone that I meet and trying to speak the truth with love, ask questions, listen with understanding, and think in silence without interrupting, while trying to be like Jesus to each person I speak to.

·       “No Closed Door” in B. G.

In what ways do you see Toledo as a Compassionate City?

·       Habitat for Humanity, food bank, Cherry Street Mission, having multifaith convention, sent relief to japan, volunteers to New Orleans

·       More jobs – provide employment; have mayor and politicians involved – top-down – stated goal publicly; ID projects that are compassionate; interfaith meetings / projects to meet needs; ID what compassion looks like in hospitals, schools, jails, etc., to create specific goals; jobs for those returning from doing time in penal system; multifaith council office in the city with the city of Toledo; share the idea of compassionate city with 10 other cities

·       Multifaith conference

·       Helping others, going the extra mile; help with broken legs, doors; People listening, understanding

·       MultiFaith Council – meetings like this; Toledo GROWs/MultiFaith GROWs – being the “doing”, not just talking about it; Gleaning; Libraries – sharing information.  Other countries don’t have libraries available for everyone

·       Toledo is very welcoming.  People connect with each other in Toledo

·       Buddhist youth care about how people feel; 1st or 3rd mosque in country; tolerant food fashion – much Mediterranean diet – healthy; Understand Afro-American heritage from Africa; I am amazed at generosity of people who have less than me- who give me; welcome attitude towards immigrants in Toledo

·       The United Way 211 referral calls; Care net which helps people who don’t have medical insurance; Feature stories of outreach by youth to aid others, e. g., Hannah’s Socks, Lake H. S. students who helped clean up the flood in Findlay; McCord Christian Church 0 food for Japan; Sales for Souls at St. Pius School

·       Mentoring to children – helping in a time of crisis

·       From a young person:  We are already a compassionate town.  People care about people everywhere – in schools, public places.  People are smiling, helping.

·       9/11 was the time when Toledoans showed compassion, unity, tolerance

·       Noticeable tolerance for mixed-race couples and families; coordinated gifts of interfaith relationships.  In spite of ‘shock jocks DJs’, Toledo is holding together

·       How the community responded to ‘evil’ forces [i. e., Nazis / post 9/11 chain around mosque] has developed a compassionate sense, inclusive, & tolerance

·       Toledo exhibits / evidences compassion in the amount of volunteerism and willingness to ‘help’ in whatever capacity

·       MultiFaith Banquet, Open House at religious centers, festivals, habitat for humanity, food banks, blood drives; reach out with the arts, symphony & art museum; homeless shelters, assistance programs food drives

·       I see Toledo as a compassionate city in the way we communicate with one another. Compassionate communication between God's people is the key to being a compassionate city.

·       Publicity of Multi-cultural events

What goals are needed for Toledo to become even more compassionate?

·       Having more activities, such as multifaith, doing things – community support, outreach activities

·       Educate people so they don’t live in fear; Multicultural class at a younger age; Environmentally compassionate; Letting people know how they can help – small stuff

·       People of mean, even moderate means must care for those less fortunate, help alleviate suffering; religious communities could do more to teach out to geographical neighborhood; organize youth projects to collect food for hungry, etc., help remove suffering; many elderly feel isolated, friends, pass away or abandon them, leaving peop0le alone and lonely

·       Reach out – don’t wait for the other person; book discussion groups – multicultural, multifaith

·       Find a way to make a difference though compassionate social action

·       Mentoring of the youth; skill development for the jobless; rehabbing existing homes & giving to the young families

·       Education – learning about one another- finding common ground; social networking

·       Mobilize the public, the masses to share compassion with those here, helping to build bridges and provide services using the skills technologies of the masses – our local regional citizens

·       Next steps: more community gardens, find simple ways to extend kindness, e. g., smile, open doors, etc.

·       Take abandoned hotels and convert into homeless shelters; support network for elder / lost women – facilities, job skills training, etc.; look at how we take care of the disadvantaged and try to address; form coalitions, create comprehensive resource guide of all the various social service organizations – governmental & private

·       Find a way to make a difference though compassionate social action

·       Those who receive no compassion need it most.  Set up multifaith for politicians

·       To get information out to people so the population knows who needs help

·       More opportunities for multicultural interaction

·       Media and community to emphasize compassion, compassionate action; Especially media report one compassionate story a week

·       Encourage news media to report on compassionate acts on a regular basis.  Have people bring non-perishable food to meetings, concerts, movies, etc., and work with food banks to distribute.

·       Getting together more; start at grass roots – work; media will NOT go for it; start with neighbors; do volunteer work; get more churches involved – more multifaith leaders attending; get children involved

·       Better governmental budgeting for organizations like: FOCUS, IHN, Feed the hungry; More of the same sorts of combined efforts

·       More inclusive, people will become compassionate on all levels; built good country; moving beyond judgment and condemnation; seeing the divine presence radiating out

·       Have a multifaith banquet for youth; promote the multifaith grows program; build relations directly between faith communities

·       Service of multifaith groups to the region

·       Build on the current volunteer infrastructure by cross-referencing “volunteer” information – plug holes, match people skills to projects

·       How about increasing opportunities for us to manifest compassion together?  Perhaps more Habitat builds, more outreach, that we can open to participants from all communities?

·       How to get people to be more compassionate.  There are pockets of compassion.  Consider seminars on compassion; reaching out to let people know you care; come together for youth through community gardens working with diverse faith groups; raise $ and pay the inner city kids.  Sister neighborhoods [like sister cities] where each hosts the other and they decide on a project.  Goal is to have 5 demonstration joint projects.  Multifaith support for health needs through Care Net.

·       Caring, understanding, sharing interfaith contact; common projects to build communication

·       We need to set a goal of becoming better communicators by speaking the truth with love, asking questions, listening with understanding, and thinking in silence. I would love to be invited to present our "How to Be a Great Communicator" program to an audience of your choice.

How can we involve youth and all diverse multicultural groups in the concept of compassion?

·       Get rid of violence – teach youth; teach youth about helping others; discourage prejudice; get rid of fear that prevents people from helping others; prevent bullying, harassment in schools and respect differences and treat with dignity

·       Education, outreach to schools; releasing chickens in the streets & getting kids to round them up J

·       Have something like this [banquet] for the youth

·       Volunteer in Habitat for Humanity, multifaith gardens

·       Get kids from different areas, cultures together on a regular basis

·       For the youth: offer programs to youth in religious groups, schools to teach compassionate use of the Internet; offer more opportunities for multifaith, ethnic, and religious meetings among young people; target youth – the younger the better

·       By having more events like this one; Interaction with people of no faith

·       Erase the Hate youth concert and youth council; youth initiated project to work with multicultural and multifaith groups

·       We can involve youth by offering to help them in any way we can and by showing and perhaps telling them how to be good communicators and to care about others more than they care about themselves. We need to be role models and demonstrate the S-A-L-T process of compassionate communication. The same holds true to loving, accepting and communicating with diverse multicultural groups.

·       Toledo GROWs is wonderful way to involve young in productive and compassionate activities.