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Breakfast served with a challenge

Marshall Allen

GLENDALE -- People of faith were issued a challenge at the Glendale

Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast: when interacting with one another, don’t settle

for mere tolerance and diversity.


About 300 people attended the 39th annual prayer breakfast at Glendale

Civic Auditorium early Wednesday morning. The program featured a

patriotic spirit, with the recognition of the flag and a rendition of

“God Bless America,” and readings from the Bible, Koran and Torah. Many


local religious leaders and politicians were in attendance.

“This morning is a celebration of faith that brings us together as a

community,” Mayor Gus Gomez said.

The challenge to Glendale’s people of faith was delivered in the

keynote address by Dr. Philip Amerson, president of Claremont School of

Theology. Amerson is known for his work in ecumenical and multiracial


Amerson was critical of the terms “tolerance” and “diversity” that are


common in ecumenical parlance. Diversity is just a description of who we

are, and tolerance isn’t taking relationships between people of different

faiths far enough, he said. After all, the command to love God and other

people is “at the heart of all our faith traditions,” Amerson said.

He suggested people of different faiths view their relationships in

terms of respect, hospitality, reconciliation and friendship.

The world in 2002 -- especially since the terrorist attacks of Sept.

11 -- is filled with fear, Amerson said. But people of faith have a


calling to be ambassadors of trust to overcome the fear, he said.

Becoming ambassadors who overcome fear can help in responding to the

Sept. 11 attacks, Amerson said.

“We have a great opportunity as a nation to do much more than just

show we’re strong and can retaliate,” he said.