Music and devotions at home in art gallery

Attendees at this month's Soul Food listen to Itivuttakas 65 from the Buddhist writings, read by Margaret Bardos, as they view a still by local photographer Lynda Morris.

HAMILTON, ON, 14 November 2005 (CBNS) -- In the 40-foot-high glass-enclosed meeting room of the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario, over 200 locals gathered earlier this month for a spiritual experience that combined live music and readings from the scriptures of the world's religions.

Dubbed "Soul Food," the event sought to nourish the souls of its patrons by offering tidbits of wisdom and insight from sacred scriptures as well as such unlikely sources as American essayist Robert Fulghum and early 20th-century mystic poet Kahlil Gibron. The monthly event, sponsored by the art gallery and the local Bahá'í community, has become a hit since its debut in Hamilton last August.

Bahá'ís around the world are striving to hold public devotional gatherings as a way of fostering a spiritual attitude in their neighbourhoods. Most devotional gatherings take place in settings slightly more intimate than an art gallery, such as in homes. However, the popularity of Soul Food suggests a real desire among the public for this type of informal collective worship.

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