Many people at Holy Cross, whether excited about the effort or upset about it, have asked me “What is the purpose behind our reaching out to our Muslim neighbors?” It is simply this: To open our hearts, our minds, and our hands. To show, in word and example, God’s own love. Why Muslims first? We began with these particular neighbors because:
- Over the last year, several parishioners articulated a desire to reach out to the mosque, to learn more about them. The formal effort began when Andy organized the Lenten series on Redemption and Imam Abdullah participated as one of the speakers.
- Interfaith learning and dialogue, has been a passion of mine since long before my call to the priesthood, and was part of the discussion with the Vestry that culminated in me saying yes to the call to Holy Cross.
- A new person with the passion and skills for building Muslim-Christian dialogue started attending Holy Cross (Note: Jeff Burns will be confirmed as a member of Holy Cross when the Bishop visits this fall. See his CV regarding efforts he has led in the past.)
- It is clear that there is energy for this effort in the wider congregation – approximately one-third of the parish has consistently attended the two events we held and several are asking what happens next!
- National and international events demonstrate a need to foster understanding, dialogue and reconciliation with those labeled “enemies.” Christians can model “love of enemy,” as Jesus did, in today’s world turmoil.
Deacon Andy and Jeff Burns are taking responsibility for coordinating this effort. If you would like to help with any of the events below, please let them know. Deacon Andy can be reached at (910) 228-8727 or firstname.lastname@example.org , and Jeff Burns can be reached at (919) 247-9502 or email@example.com. Please feel free to e-mail Jeff to see his Curriculum Vitae (CV) concerning his experience.
Wednesday, September 26th at 6:30pm: Musa Agil, President of the Islamic Center, will offer a Q&A session at Holy Cross to answer ANY questions you might have about Islam or mosque life. No question is “off-limits” and this event is open to anyone, comfortable or uncomfortable, with this new relationship. We simply ask that you be courteous and respectful as you ask and respond.
Tuesday, October 9th from 6:30-8:00, Orientation Session: Those who would like to host or participate in “Friendship Groups” will learn the skills needed to facilitate and build relationship through small group conversation and dialogue. There will be monthly, ongoing training and skill-building offered as the groups begin to form.
Friendship Groups: Sign up on the sheet in the gathering area to be part of a small group to build relationship and learn more about each other’s faiths. These fellowship and learning groups will meet once a month for several months beginning in October.
Note: Efforts to be neighbors are not limited just to this particular group. If you have a passion to reach out to others in our immediate neighborhood, speak to Mother Chana.