by Kim Abbey
On April 13, 2013 Khenpo Jampa Rinpoche traveled north of Seattle, about a two hour drive, to Cornwall Church in Bellingham to speak to the congregation there. He and representatives of four other faiths were invited by the Pastor Bob Marvel to answer questions at the regular week-end services at the church. The multi-faith panel discussion was given at the Saturday 6:00 pm service and then repeated at the Sunday 9:00 am and 12:00 pm services.
At each of these services about 400 people attended. Cornwall Church is an evangelical Christian church first opened in Bellingham in 1900. Since 1992, under Pastor Bob Marvel, the ministry has grown, including the education program.
The panel speakers came from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Buddhist faiths. Each speaker was asked to answer four questions: What is God’s role in your religion? What is your faith’s scripture and how was it written? How does your faith view the life and role of Jesus? How does your faith view the afterlife? Each panelist was able to speak for about 5 minutes on each question.
At each service, there was an atmosphere of mutual respect and of the love and compassion for each faith amongst the congregation. Khenpo Jampa Rinpoche elucidated the main beliefs of the Buddhist faith with an open-hearted and gregarious enthusiasm. The congregation at Cornwall Church gained more knowledge and understanding of other faiths.