On Saturday, Oct. 27, an interfaith event that is being hosted at St. Francis from 4-6pm. This interfaith project, which for now is being called The Children of Abraham Project, is the product of the lengthy prayer and discernment by one of our member, Tim Dyer – who is also a Postulant for Holy Orders. According to Tim,
“The idea for The Children of Abraham Project was developed as I was examining our Baptismal Covenant. I felt that I was not fully living into the promises I made. The question from the Baptismal Covenant that really struck home was “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” I felt that I was not fulfilling this vow by not responding to injustices that I see in our society, but more importantly in our own communities.”
The event will begin with a brief introduction by our priest, Fr. Matt MacDougall, followed by a brief presentation on the common roots of Islam and Christianity. The presentation will seek to identify the similarities and differences, and to examine (and where necessary, correct) some of the stereotypes. A “Question & Answer” period for those wishing to address certain topics will follow the presentation. After that a potluck dinner be offered, which will feature halal food prepared by members of the Jamestown Islamic Society.
How did this event come to be? After Tim shared his convictions with Fr. Matt, he contacted the Jamestown Islamic Society. Tim, along with Fr. Matt, met with Mr. Sam Qadri, Director of Public relations for the Islamic Society. In addition to being the Director of Public Relations for the Islamic Society, Mr. Qadri is also a teacher at Jamestown High School and adjunct professor at Jamestown Community College and Jamestown Business College. This first meeting focused on how we might work together to address some of the injustices. The second meeting included Fr. Matthew Scott, the priest serving Trinity Memorial Church in Warren, who was invited to participate in the event planning. As ideas were exposed and plans were formulated, it was clear that each each person felt that this interfaith project would be of great benefit to the community.
What do we hope to achieve? In offering this event to the community, we hope to bring change and reconciliation to the world – one mind, one heart at a time. Racism, prejudice, and violence are all-to-common, even in America. However, if through this effort a tragedy like what happened this summer at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin can be avoided in our communities, then this endeavor will be a success.
Eventually Tim hopes to develop this into a true reflection of the Children of Abraham by inviting the Jewish community to participate, with his ultimate goal being the hope of fostering new and deeper friendships with our Muslim and Jewish neighbors. There are several ideas in the works for future events, but finding peace among and within our communities cannot be successful without each of member of the community working together to defeat hatred, injustice, and the stereotypical images that permeate our communities.
**There is no cost to attend this event. However, due to limited seating, interested persons are asked to RSVP to St. Francis Church by Thursday, Oct. 25th.**