On April 11, 2019, accompanied by his wife Marva, Elder Thomas T. Priday of the Seventy attended and was among various leaders recognized in opening remarks at the 2019 Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner hosted by Multicultural Mosaic Foundation and Abrahamic Initiative.
This special evening program, held at historic St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Denver, provided a wonderful opportunity for making and deepening relationships with interfaith friends in the community–including many members of the local Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities.
Among the many guests and interfaith leaders in attendance included The Reverend Jim Gonia, bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (and his wife Kim, also an ordained ELCA pastor), Imam Muhammad Kolila of the Downtown Denver Islamic Center, Brother Ismael Akbulut (President) and Gulsum Katmer (Executive Director) of the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation, The Very Reverend Richard Lawson (Dean) of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, Osnat Fox (senior Israeli emissary) of Jewish Colorado and the Reverend Bonita Bock, member of the Metro Denver Faith Leaders Caucus and former director of Wartburg College West, and emcee of the dinner program.
In his keynote remarks, Salam Al-Marayati, President of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, reminded attendees that friendship and wisdom is promoted by individuals and that grassroots diplomacy fosters understanding.
Drawing upon similarities between traditional Islamic law and U.S. constitutional law, Al-Marayati spoke of the importance of understanding one another, and defending the dignity of others–even those with different beliefs from our own. In his closing thoughts, he further suggested the value of converting others not to our religion, but from enmity to friendship.
Following his remarks, beautiful live music was provided by the Yuval Ron ensemble–drawing from a repertoire of music covering various Abrahamic faith traditions.
Jonathan Toronto, Director of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Denver North Public Affairs Council, described the evening as “a wonderful and unique opportunity to foster greater love and understanding among those from right within Denver’s faith community.”
Elder Priday added, “we are grateful for the privilege of participating in this beautiful program, which was so well organized and which enabled us to strengthen these deeply important relationships with our friends of other faiths, consistent with our desire to follow Jesus Christ, who likewise promoted charity and understanding toward others during his mortal ministry.”