Religion — Newberg First United Methodist will host members of the Gaden Shartse Monastery for a talk on karma, ?perform ceremony

Newberg First United Methodist Church pastor Bob Flaherty has long had an interest in world religions.

He was even accepted to study the topic at Harvard before going into the Army, has twice participated in the Parliament of the World’s Religions and embarked on his own world religions pilgrimage to India.

So when a member of the congregation brought to his attention that the Wholistic Peace Institute in Portland was hosting Tibetan monks from the Gaden Shartse Monastery in India, he quickly signed up to hear them speak. by: SUBMITTED - Interfaith ­connection - Tibetan Monks from the Gaden Shartse Monastery in India perform a Buddhist ceremony. A group from the monastery will give a talk on karma and perform a healing ceremony at 7 p.m. July 7 at Newberg First United Methodist Church.

When he saw the institute was looking for groups to host events, he reached out and set up a visit for July 7 at his church.

At 7 p.m., the monks will give a talk about the Buddhist concept of karma, or cause and effect, lead those in attendance in a healing ritual and be available to answer questions.

“Here are some people who for centuries have experienced a spirituality that on one level is just interesting to learn about,” Flaherty said. “But in this particular context, it’s not only going to be something you learn about intellectually, but it’s going to be something you will experience with this ritual. It’s a little bit of a step outside your tradition to say, ‘What does somebody else know and what can they teach me?’”

Wholistic Peace Institute president Gary Spanovich notes that the concept of Karma is quite similar to the Christian idea of “what you sow, you reap” and that the healing ritual will not be that foreign to those familiar with meditation.

“It’s a little bit like a closed-eye meditation,” Spanovich said. “You kind of have an image of light coming into you and things of that nature.”

Flaherty added that the United Methodist Church has long been a supporter of interfaith connections, noting its national Commission on Christian Unity and Inter­religious Concerns.

“As far as Newberg First United Methodist Church is concerned, we are interested in pluralism, interfaith conversation,” Flaherty said. “The United Methodist Church is one of the strong supporters of the World Council of Churches. In fact, the president is a United Methodist.”

The event is open to the public with a suggested donation of $20 to help support the Gaden Shartse Monastery. For more information, call Flaherty at 503-538-5404 or 503-806-3750.

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