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Farmington, Farmington Hills

House of Worship tour shows diverse spiritual side of community

October 14, 2013

» click to enlarge «
Mark Springer, of Farmington, and Laura Perlowski, of Livonia, leave the Universalist Unitarian Church during the Houses of Worship Tour Oct. 13.
Eshaan Kota, 5, of Novi and his mother, Hema Kota, stand in line for food during a Sept. 28 Hare Krishna Temple fundraising event in Farmington Hills. The new temple is slated to be the first of its kind in the area.

FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — More than 20 community members learned in several hours some diverse aspects of worship that could take others years to discover.

Many people found the messages of Taoism, Islam, Mormonism and Unitarian Universalism are the same.

“I think, really, sometimes people make (religion) so difficult,” Tanji Grant, co-chair of the Multicultural/Multiracial Community Council of Farmington/ Farmington Hills, said during a four-stop tour Oct. 13.

“It is really simple: You love one another, you treat each other right, and be in harmony with everyone. I think that is the mission in life. And it was great to hear the churches and temples. Everything I heard was all about love.”

The Multicultural/Multiracial Community Council sponsored the House of Worship tour for community members to learn about the religions in the community, Grant said.

“The main goal for us, which is also part of MCMR’s mission statement, is to embrace each other’s differences and celebrate our commonalities,” she said. “That was everyone else’s statement on the stops that were made.”

The tour first stopped at the Universalist Unitarian Church at 25301 Halsted Road. There, the participants learned the religion’s focus on the worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; and acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth.

Barb Eglinton, chairperson of the Lifelong Learning Community at the Farmington Hills church, said the church is about all of that and more.

“We’re about openness and tolerance,” she said. “People search for truth and meaning in the world’s many religions, and I hope that people can appreciate that and know that we are here if that is something they are looking for.”

The next stop was at the Zhong Shu Temple, Michigan’s only Tao Temple, located at 23845 Middlebelt Road.

The focus of most religious Taoism is to attain immortality either via eternal life, longevity of life or attainment of superhuman physical abilities.

Other Taoism aspects include humbleness and compassion.

“We do not discriminate anyone; we hope for the world to have great unity,” Temple Official Lee Kuanjen said after the stop.

Attendee Bonnie Haun said that she was on the tour to learn more about other religions within her community.

“I didn’t realize how diverse the religions were in the area,” she said. “I see the similarities between them. They are all about love and harmony and understanding of everyone. That seems to be the main theme — and to find peace within yourself.”

She added that she also hopes to get a better understanding of others who believe differently. 

Other tour stops included a visit to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a Mormon Church located at 33900 W. 13 Mile Road. The tour concluded with a stop at the Tawheed Islamic Center, 29707 W. 10 Mile Road.

Each stop lasted 30 minutes.

Jessica Beamer, council member of the Multicultural/Multiracial Community Council, said the tour started three years ago as part of Heritage Week, which was designed to educate people about all that diversity includes and means.

“This year, we did not end up having the entire Heritage Week but decided because it was already in the works to have this alone,” she said of the tour. “It is very popular when we did it a few years ago.”

She said the churches were selected for their representation of the many options of religions in the area.

Brian Golden, president of the Farmington Historical Society and leader of the second Houses of Worship Tour, said in a press release that Farmington and Farmington Hills has grown into a diverse, welcoming community with no fewer than 80 languages spoken in its public schools.

“We live in a tossed-salad community,” he said. “We pride ourselves on celebrating not only our similarities but also our differences. This tour gives us a chance to learn about those faiths that are not necessarily our own.”

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