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Community invited to Sunday interfaith event in downtown Idaho Falls

By Rett Nelson

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    IDAHO FALLS ( — People of all faiths are invited to a special worship service in Idaho Falls Sunday afternoon.

The Idaho Falls Interfaith Council, which consists of representatives from nine different religions, is hosting a Thanksgiving service at 4 p.m. on the top floor of the Colonial Theater in the Hartwell Room.

Kevin Call, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who is part of the council, tells the purpose of the event is to foster a sense of community and understanding among different denominations.

“The idea is to tie all the churches in the community together so folks can enjoy some traditions of other churches in town and get closer to one another,” Call says.

Call and his wife, Kelly, will be speaking at the event. Each speaker will give a brief message about what they believe. Others on the program include Pastor Ann Bjorklund from New Day Lutheran Church, Kathleen Brown of the Baha’i faith, Reverend Kevin Carson from the Unitarian Universalist Church and Pastor Scott Gruwell from First Presbyterian Church.

There will also be several musical performances, including one from Paige Ann, a teenage artist from Idaho Falls. She has experience headlining at the Idaho State Fair and large arena events. She’s performed alongside Alex Boye and David Archuleta and is a featured singer in the country band “Almost Famous.”

Paige will perform a song called “A Great Work” at the interfaith event.

Brown is planning to speak on the Baha’i concept of progressive revelation.

“Progressive revelation (means) that there is no finality on revelation. We believe that about every thousand years or so, God sends down a prophet or an educator to bring humanity up to date on what should be followed and perhaps things that need to be negated,” Brown explains.

Though members of the Baha’i faith believe in one God, Brown says many religious leaders have played an important role in delivering God’s word in different parts of the world over the years. Among them are Moses, Jesus Christ, Muhammed, Buddha, Krishna and others.

The most recent messenger from God, according to Brown, is Bha’u’llah, who lived in what is now Iran in the 1800s. The faith was established when Brown says God spoke to Bha’u’llah in 1844. The words are written in numerous holy books to the Baha’i faith, including the Kitab-i-Iqan and Kitab-i-Aqdas.

“April or May 1863 is when he declared he was the next educator. We consider him higher than a man,” says Brown.

Every person is equal in the Baha’i faith. Brown says there is no structured leadership and she is one of 12 Baha’i church members in Idaho Falls. They worship every Sunday and have feast days every 19 days, which are designed to celebrate one attribute of God.

Brown has been part of several denominations throughout her life, starting out as a Roman Catholic. She later followed the Methodist sect and the LDS Church, but it was the Baha’i faith where she found a religion that resonates with her.

“I started reading about it and everything that I read just made sense to me more than any other religions I had been a part of before,” says Brown.

She joined in 2014 and there are several reasons why she likes it.

“I like the unity that it brings and the beauty of acceptance. Women and men hold the same level and one is not beneath the other, so that’s part of it,” she says. “I felt strongly that I should be part of (this faith).”

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Brown loves being the voice for her faith as a member of the Idaho Falls Interfaith Council and she’s looking forward to sharing a few thoughts at Sunday’s event.

Though the Idaho Falls Interfaith Council started holding events like this when it was formed in 2019, the Thanksgiving service was not held last year. Call is excited for its return.

Gatherings like this are so important in today’s world, Carson says, and he’s encouraging people to come.

“I’m glad to see us come together and show what unites us,” Carson says. “Polarization is such a big thing in America today and it’s nice to see people can have different beliefs, but can share common values of family, society and having a safe community.”

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