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19th Annual Interfaith New Year's Eve Peace Vigil

Updated: Jan 5, 2023

Sangha Shantivanam of Santa Cruz held a successful New Year's Vigil held in person at the Holy Cross Parish Hall and attended by Zoom from attendees as far as New York. You can read about the event written by Sylvia Deck, one of our sangha members since 2006.



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Here is a short video of our New Year's Eve Gathering which, we hope, captures the essence of the evening. It's mostly in chronological order.. It begins with a welcome by our two MCs, Sangha members Ziggy Rendler-Bregman and Mary Sue Babb. Fr. Manny Recera, pastor of Holy Cross Church, lit the Peace Candle and greeted everyone. Deacon Joe DePage from the parish read the Land Acknowledgement. Our first presenter, Kanyon "Coyote Woman" Sayers-Roods, was unable to be with us because of illness. But we were able to share her invitation to pledge to the earth that we will

* pick up 10 pieces of litter a day.

* plant 1 tree every month for one year.

* use less water while brushing teeth/bathing


Music in the video is ""Uv'chein, and Then," sung by Rabbi Eli Cohen and Akindele Akiva Bankole.


Other presenters were Satyam, Renee, and Anand Choudhuri chanting from the Hindu tradition, Rev. Beverly Brook of Peace United Church, Sherry Cassedy leading us in a relaxing yoga interlude, Ed Martinez representing Islam, a member from the nearby Zen Buddhism community who chanted the Metta Sutta (Scripture on Loving Kindness), and Ann and Brian Miller of the Baha'h faith. Another speaker, Harbir Kaur Bhatia, who had recently returned from serving with her Sikh community in Ukraine, was unable to join us in person, but she was on Zoom! Still emotional from her experiences in the Ukraine, her sharing touched all of us deeply. Her prayer for peace in the world can be seen in the video.


The evening closed with everyone raising their arms to send blessings out into the world and, at the very end, singing "Auld Lang Syne" together. Oh yes, and everyone was sent home with a bottle of Martinelli's Sparkling Cider to toast the new year. We are so grateful for everyone who pitched in to make this gathering happen, but special thanks must go to Radha Vignola whose special touches (cider, anyone?) were in evidence throughout the evening.




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