Community gathering to discuss the Golden Rule

Pastor Julie Olmsted of the First Congregational Church, with a poster of the Golden Rule in different religions. (Photo submitted)

WESTFIELD – Regardless of your faith, you may follow “The Golden Rule,” proving that deep down, people are not all that different.

Pastor Julie Olmsted of First Congregational Church said the Golden Rule exists in at least half a dozen of the world’s major religions, with slightly different wording.
“Why the heck aren’t we getting along if we have the Golden Rule in most of the world’s great religions? Somebody is not listening,” she said.

The First Congregational Church at 18 Broad St. is hosting a community gathering on the “Golden Rule,” Nov. 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The community gathering will begin by watching a TED talk by Karen Armstrong, a theologian and world religion expert, followed by what Olmsted hopes will be a deep conversation. Participants will look at the Golden Rule in a negative sense, “Do not do to others what you would not want done to you,” which she says is particularly provocative. She said, for example, if a child is abused, the chances are so much greater that the child becomes an abuser.
Olmsted said she is hoping people will open up about their own journeys, and what this means to them.
Following the conversation, there will be refreshments. Families with children are welcome, and there will be a craft table for children and adults.
Olmsted, who became pastor last March, said the First Congregational Church is a congregation with a lot of educators that support lifelong learning.
“We’re all excited about doing this kind of thing. It’s not all about Sunday morning any more,” she said.
During Westfield’s 350th anniversary, the church hosted several lectures on the history of Westfield. She said they don’t want that community interaction to end.
Olmsted said the conversation on Nov. 7 will be informal, and not heavy on religion. “We’re really interested in people getting along, which is not happening much. The Golden Rule is an easy place to start. It’s powerful, and requires discipline,” she said.

The gathering will be in the fellowship hall, accessed through the side entrance by the fire station.

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