My commendations to The Times for publishing Anthony Day's "A Guiding Force" (Feb. 26) about Rev. George F. Regas of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena. My wife and I were first exposed to the good reverend about 12 years ago at Leo Baeck Temple in West Los Angeles. We were attending a Yom Kippur service, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year in the Jewish faith.
We were looking forward to one of Rabbi Leonard Beerman's piercing sermons that went to the core of the soul, attacking apathy and indifference to the ills of the world.
Much to our disappointment, the rabbi announced the atonement service would be delivered by his good friend and colleague, the Rev. George Regas. A hum went through the congregation. The holiest sermon of the year being turned over to a minister of another faith?
Rev. Regas delivered his sermon. I can't remember the exact words, but the essence was captured in the news story that quoted from one of his sermons:
"The fundamental disease of the heart is that we do not like the Other. . . . The Other is despised. . . . This is the source of every pogrom, every genocide, every Holocaust. . . . The task of the church and all places of worship is to remove the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. The tragedy of America is not in our minds but in our hearts."
This was the same sermon Rabbi Beerman would have delivered. No one faith has a monopoly on exalting goodness and the pricking of the conscience.
SAMUEL M. ROSEN
As a more-or-less irreligious, non-member of Pasadena's All Saints Episcopal Church, may I add just a few comments to Anthony Day's fine profile of George Regas.
Regas' breadth of vision is extraordinary. In a complicated, difficult world, where it is so easy to say "My plate is full," "There is too much on my agenda," and "We have our own priorities," the All Saints rector never fails to respond when a new issue arises.
What is most remarkable is his ability to motivate both his congregation and the general community. I think the most important part of the Regas legacy is not the church itself or the particular causes he has been involved with, but the people he has moved, and worked with and trained.
Regas will move on, but these dozens--perhaps hundreds--of committed men and women who share his values and ideals will continue to contribute to the community.
I read your entire interview with George Regas and, although he is very active politically, not once was he asked whether he felt he had a right to impose his morality on others or if he had ever heard of the separation of church and state.
I'm sure it must have been an oversight, because on those rare occasions when a conservative Christian has been profiled, this seems to be the main topic of the interview.
LAUREL Van FOSSEN
Anthony Day's otherwise brilliant profile of George F. Regas omits an achievement so far-reaching as to elicit high praise from England's Bishop of Birmingham.
In 1979, Regas created the Interfaith Center to Reverse the Arms Race. Several years later my wife and I heard Bishop Montefiore extol the establishment of this organization as a much needed catalyst in awakening the world--and especially religious leaders everywhere--to the realization that the abolition of nuclear weapons was above all else, a profoundly moral question.
He urged us, on his behalf, to thank Reverend Regas and to tell him that in the opinion of Bishop Montefiore and many of his peers, what George Regas had begun at All Saints Church in Pasadena would be remembered and respected for many years to come.