It’s an honor and blessing to be in her presence – Bishop Gregory

May 31 – Jun 3 Seattle — Japan America Yatra 2012

After a 12 hour flight from Japan and Amma landed in Seattle to conduct four days of program at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue.

Large crowds showed up for the public day and also for the retreat, where Amma was officially welcomed by the Right Reverand Gregory Rickel, Bishop and spiritual head of the Episcopal Church in Western Washington. Accompanied by his wife and son, the bishop garlanded Amma. Speaking on the occasion he said “Our intent was to stay the whole evening, but due to the Vigil* for the shooting victims set at St. Mark’s Cathedral we had to greet Amma, receive our hug, and then make our way to (the Cathedral). Still, we were able to be briefed on the tremendous work this amazing woman has been doing in her native India, but even more throughout the world. It’s an honor and blessing to be in her presence.”

Blessing to be in her presence
"It's an honor and blessing to be in her presence" – Bishop Gregory Rickel

These two spiritual leaders had been drawn together on a more than formal level. The Bishop is particularly committed to interfaith dialogue, and is a strong advocate of environmental concerns and social justice issues, especially homelessness.

Amma, in the same spirit, reaches out to people of all spiritual and religious traditions around the world, encouraging people to deepen their own faiths and discover the shared truths of all the great religions. Her Amala Bharatham Campaign for a clean India and the worldwide GreenFriends organization both focus on Mother Earth. In the area of social justice, Amma has outreach to widows, orphans, and those so desperate as to turn to suicide. And the over 50,000 homes Embracing the World has built for the poor testify to her concern for homelessness.

At the end of the meditation following the arati on this night, Amma asked everyone to pray for the five victims, and for a lessening of violence, and for world peace.

Devotees enthusiastically participated in the day’s program and the 3-day retreat which included Satsang, Bhajans and a Puja for world peace and harmony.

After Seattle Amma left for California where another 8 days of program are to be held at her Ashram.

* Two days earlier a killing spree in Seattle had resulted in the deaths of four victims and their slayer. At the end of May there have been 21 such deaths–equaling the total for last year. The Bishop supposed to lead a prayer vigil for the victims, was scheduled for Friday evening at St. Mark’s Cathedral.