We’ve had an incredible opportunity to begin building friendships with folks from the Husseini Islamic Center in Sanford and we’re so grateful! Early on in the Fall of 2017, right before Hurricane Irma, some folks from the Outreach Team at HIC met with us over a cup of coffee and dreamed about how we might work together. We learned that Minaz, their outreach director, had her own medical transport company. She not only offered to connect us to local resources if we needed them, but she also offered the assistance of her community and her own family in the event of an emergency. An offer is nice of course…
But the most powerful thing was that the first phone call I received after the storm was over was from Minaz! She wanted to make sure all of our homebound church members were alright, asked if anyone needed transportation assistance, and even sent some folks from HIC to help another Methodist church clean up after the storm.
Since then, we’ve had a chance to eat together, serve together, tour each other’s places of worship, participate in an interfaith panel hosted at the mosque and share in an Interfaith Iftar during their month of Ramadan. At our most recent visit, the topic of discussion was our world’s shared need to embrace humility, conversation and friendship across societal lines.
What Interfaith work isn’t:
- Minimizing our differences or pretending like they don’t exist
- A covert operation to convert eachother
- A suspicious investigation to reinforce our biases
- A one-time event for the #gram of it
- Superficial conversation
What Interfaith work is:
- A recognition that in the presence of our differences, we share a common humanity
- A chance to humbly learn and build friendships
- An opportunity to understand your own faith better
- An interruption of the single-story narratives told about folks*
- A *great* chance to try new foods (!)
In our world, there is much to be lamented, and much to be changed. Some days, the world looks insurmountably divided and hurtful… and then relationships like this happen, and bring hope and joy and learning.
Thanks, HIC, for being such good friends to us and for seeking to make this world a less divided place!
*Never heard about the danger of a single story? Check out this TED Talk.