Paris, France—"Cultivating Gratitude" was the theme of the 30th monthly meeting of the Dialogue & Alliance interfaith circle.
The Francophone scriptural sharing was held on October 22, 2023.
The main, face-to-face meeting was held at the Espace Barrault conference center in Paris, with Zoom connections from Algeria, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, France, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Pakistan, Republic of the Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, and Tunisia.
The moderator, Dorian Gravrand, began the meeting by briefly presenting the Universal Peace Federation International's call for action on Israel and Gaza.
In the first reading, Jacques Gauthier, a former professor of theology at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, and a poet and essayist (https://www.jacquesgauthier.com/), gave a brilliant commentary on Genesis 1:31, in which God expresses His gratitude after the Creation.
The second reading brought a Muslim perspective. It was verses 151 and 152 of Sura II: The Cow. They were commented on by Anne-Sophie Monsinay, the co-founder of the association Voix d'un islam éclairé (“Voice of an Enlightened Islam”) (https://www.voix-islam-eclaire.fr/) and imam of the Sîmorgh mosque.
There was then a short musical break, in which the poem by Francis of Assisi "The Canticle of the Creatures” was performed by Robert Lebel (https://www.robertlebel.com/). A priest and singer-songwriter for over 30 years, he is well known across Canada and even in Europe.
The third presentation was based on words from Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the co-founder of Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP), an organization that is affiliated with UPF. The quotation was read by Modeste Amoussou and then explained by Marie-Christine Odent, a marriage and family counselor and the vice president of WFWP-France (https://wfwp-france.org/). In particular, she showed the link between gratitude, forgiveness, love and work.
The meeting concluded with a question-and-answer session led by Dr. Laurent Ladouce, a researcher with the Universal Peace Federation, and some remarks by Jean-François Moulinet, the coordinator of the Dialogue & Alliance circle, who announced that the next meeting would be held on Sunday, November 19, on the theme: "Cultivating Hope."