Members from Canada to Costa Rica and around the USA gathered in Miami Friday, November 30, to enjoy warm hospitality, soup and a selection of food prepared by our hosts. The spirit of place was palpable with the shrine beautifully prepared with many fresh flowers including gifts from several braches. We reconnected on many levels, enjoyed a set together and prepared ourselves for the enlivening and celebrations the following day.
Saturday 7:15 am found members working harmoniously to ready the space for the 8 am ceremony led by Marsha Eberhardt (president of FLK) and Karen Laughlin (president of the International TTCS), with guidance from Sean Dennison (FLK Director). Many members experienced their first shrine enlivening: inviting the water, chanting Mann Futt Ging, blessing the space and burning the offeri—a wonderfully rich experience.
We moved to the workshop location to commence the Lok Hup program led by Marsha, Karen, and Sean. Many local members stayed to prepare for the dedication; setting up chairs, tables, the sound system and food stations, so all was ready when we returned to welcome our honored guests from the community, including leaders from different faith traditions. Rev Pantoja of the Unitarian Church, in which the Society started classes 20 years ago, was a guest and Chris Ng, who started that class, was there to make the connection for her. The minister commented that the Society was still remembered with affection by her parishioners. BV Raddhandti Swami and Rabbi Kram, and Dr Wang leader of the American Cancer Society, together with leaders from the Society; FLK, International TTCS, National Board and Society representatives from other countries were all invited to speak during the Jai program. They brought greetings and shared stories of the significance of the event for them and the increased awareness it offered of who we are and what we do. New connections were made with guests indicating that they would be referring their contacts to us in other locations including in Costa Rica
Beautiful Chinese guzhen music was provided by from a Chinese performing arts group from Palm Beach with introduction by Monica Shang. All provided a greater appreciation of the privilege it is to be able to care for a shrine, the importance of this stage in the development of the club with compassion at the heart of who we are and what we offer and greater sense of our place in the community.
After the Jai some stayed to clean up so others were able to return to the Lok Hup Workshop celebrating the Taoist Arts Master Moy brought to us, working together to improve our understanding. With a sense of joy and appreciation we offer thanks to the Miami Branch members for all their hard work to help the enlivening, dedication and workshop go so smoothly and to the FLK Board for entrusting the Branch with the care of our latest shrine.