Michael Moran honored for building bridges of peace

Jeff vonKaenel

I first met Michael Moran in early 2002, when I impulsively decided to hold an interfaith music event on the anniversary of 9/11 at the Memorial Auditorium. In preparation, I started visiting faith groups to hear their choirs. Numerous people told me that Spiritual Life Center had a phenomenal musical program. It certainly did. It also had Michael Moran.

Michael Moran has an amazing ability to convince people to do good things that they didn’t know they wanted to do. For example, I thought I was happy producing just one event. But Michael didn’t let me stop there. “Jeff, you got us all together. We can’t stop now! Let’s do interfaith Habitat for Humanity houses in Oak Park!”

All of a sudden, I was organizing groups to build houses and sitting on the Habitat board. I still don’t know how this happened. And I know I’m not the only one. Michael regularly works this kind of magic. You don’t realize what’s going on, but all of a sudden, there you are! And you’re a better person for having known Michael Moran.

I have been incredibly impressed with Michael’s work over the years. By tithing 10 percent of all revenue, his church has donated more than $1 million to nonprofits. So naturally, I was delighted to hear that he would be receiving special recognition from Morehouse College.

At the January 14 award ceremony held at Christ Unity Church here in Sacramento, the Dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, the Rev. Dr. Lawrence Carter Jr., spoke eloquently about the legacy of Mohandas Gandhi, King and Buddhist philosopher and poet Daisaku Ikeda. Each of them represented “being the change you want to see.” Recognizing Michael’s “commitment to building bridges of peace through interfaith reconciliation, ecumenical dialogue and nonviolent social action,” the Gandhi Institute of Reconciliation at Morehouse College presented him with the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Prize.

While there are many Sacramentans who are doing wonderful interfaith work, Michael takes everything to a higher level. Since 2002, I have attended religious services at more than 100 different Sacramento faith organizations. I have learned that many people believe there is only one path to God. A small percentage of people believe there are many paths to God. But what makes Spiritual Life Center so different, is that it not only believes there are many different paths up the mountain, it also desires to explore these other paths. It celebrates a diversity of beliefs and has incorporated many varying beliefs into its own spirituality.

In the process of traveling many paths and celebrating different religions, Michael has brought peace to many others. As he says, “Make peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.