SHELBURNE On Sunday, October 7, All Souls Interfaith Gathering dedicated its new Sanctuary, a dramatic copper-roofed circular building with a spectacular panoramic view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks from its broad expanse of windows. The Sanctuary, at 291 Bostwick Farm Road in Shelburne, represents the attainment of a dream for All Souls Founder and Pastor Mary Abele and the Gatherings Steering Committee who worked with Smith Alvarez Sienkiewycz Architects of Burlington and experts in everything from acoustics to alternative energy systems to create the inspiring new space.
The new Sanctuary seats 175 and is connected to the Channing House, the Bostwick Farm residence that has housed the All Souls Interfaith Gathering since its founding eight years ago. The Channing House has also been renovated as classrooms for childrens programs, a nursery, library, offices, kitchen and meeting rooms.
On Sunday, the new round Sanctuary, with its walls and exposed beams of locally harvested wood and soaring ceiling was dedicated with blessings of the space by clergy representing a wide variety of faiths. Among those giving the blessings were Rabbi Joshua Chasan of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue, Rev. David Cray of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Charlotte and St. Judes Roman Catholic Church in Hinesburg, Abenaki Don Stevens representing Native Americans, Rev. Gary Kowalski of First Unitarian Universalist in Burlington, Bob Rice of the Vermont Zen Center, Imam Ezzedine Sanassi of the Islamic Society and Lori and Maddy Sullivan of the Bahai Society. Also participating were Rev.Will Burhans of Charlotte Congregational Church, Rev. David Hamilton of Fletcher Allen Health Center Spiritual Center, Rev. Robert Macauley of UVM College of Medicine, Rev. David Murphy, former pastor of Shelburne United Methodist Church, Sue Dixon, chair of the All Souls Steering Committee and Marilyn Neagley, an All Souls member.
Music, always an important element of the All Souls services, was provided by the All Souls Choir plus special guests under the direction of Choir Director Rufus Patrick who sang settings of the Robert Frost poems A Road Not Taken and Choose Something Like a Star. The Hinesburg Community Brass Ensemble played Fanfare for The Common Man by Aaron Copland. The service also marked the dedication of the new Allen Organ played by All Souls Organist John Henzel.
All Souls Interfaith Gathering describes itself as a seekers destination, a safe haven for exploring spiritual and human values, a place for the soul to grow. In her homily at the dedication service, Rev Abele drew from many religions of the world their basic beliefs that are distilled in the Golden Rule and the Golden Mean making the observation that caring for one another and for the earth are essential to everyone in the world.
The Gathering meets for Evensong Services on Sundays at 5 p.m. in the new Sanctuary, and also has a childrens spiritual education program, this year exploring and answering questions about Our Sacred Environment: The Earth and Me!
Any questions about All Souls Interfaith Gathering can be directed to the Gathering office at 985-3819.