SUNDAY: NORTHMINSTER CHURCH TO HOST FAITH SHARED SERVICE INCLUDING READINGS FROM THE QUR’AN
Service will unite people of different faiths and promote mutual understanding and respect
Washington, D.C.– This Sunday, September 11, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, Northminster Church in Monroe, La., will host readings from the Qur’an and other sacred religious texts as church leaders welcome their Muslim and Jewish colleagues for Faith Shared: Uniting in Prayer and Understanding. Faith Shared is a project organized by national nonprofits Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First, seeking to send a message at home and to the Arab and Muslim world about Americans’ respect for Islam. On a single day earlier this year – June 26 – dozens of churches and other houses of worship across the United States participated in Faith Shared nationally, including the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and All Saints Church in Pasadena, Calif.
The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of Interfaith Alliance, is also Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster was a driving force in the creation of Faith Shared, and was the featured speaker at its anchor event at Washington National Cathedral on June 26. He is now bringing this important event to his own community and will be one of several faith leaders leading Sunday’s service.
“The anti-Muslim rhetoric that has pervaded our national conversation recently has shocked and saddened me,” he said. “Appreciation for pluralism and respect for religious freedom and other human rights are at the core of our democracy. We believe that demonstrating our commitment to those core American values will help counteract the intensified level of negative stereotypes and anti-Muslim bigotry in our recent public discourse.
“On a more personal note, I wanted to come home to Northminster to be a part of Faith Shared in my own community. Uniting people of diverse beliefs in order to discern and celebrate what we all share in common is the very ambition of my life’s work. What more significant day is there to remember these values than on September 11, the day we also remember the thousands of lives lost 10 years ago and honor interfaith understanding in their memory.”
Faith Shared seeks to counter the Anti-Muslim bigotry and negative stereotypes that have erupted throughout the country in the past year and led to misconceptions, distrust and in some cases, violence. The event was designed to engage faith leaders on both the national and community levels in a conversation with their houses of worship, highlighting respect among people of different faiths. The event will help counter the common misperception abroad that most Americans are hostile to Islam. It will send a message that Americans respect Muslims and Islam, as they respect religious differences and freedom of religion in general.
Sunday’s service will open with Muslim, Jewish and Christian calls to worship, then each religious leader will read from his or her religion’s holy scriptures and offer a reflection. A component called “Strength for Community” will focus upon the centrality of bread and wine across all three faiths. Gaddy will offer a homily discussing the message on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The service will feature special music from the choir and will conclude with “The Prayers of the People,” again drawing from all three faiths.
Below are details on Sunday’s service. Media are welcome and encouraged to attend.
WHAT: Faith Shared: Uniting in Prayer and Understanding
WHEN: 10:45 a.m., Sunday, September 11, 2011
2701 Lamy Lane
WHO: Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President, Interfaith Alliance;
Pastor for Preaching and Worship, Northminster Church
Rev. Claire McKeever-Burgett, Pastor for Congregational Life,
Dr. Mahmoud Khalil, Islamic Center of North Louisiana
Kash Schriefer, President, Congregation B’nai Israel
WHY: To promote mutual understanding and respect among different faiths
Faith Shared is designed to reflect the mutual respect shared among so many Muslims, Christians, Jews and other Americans, as they stand together to oppose the negative images that have dominated domestic and international news.
Tad Stahnke of Human Rights First, which partnered with Interfaith Alliance in organizing the national event, added, “With Faith Shared, congregations send a clear message to the world that Americans respect religious differences and reject bigotry and the demonization of Islam or any other religion.”
At its core, this project brings together Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy to read from and hear from each other’s sacred texts. In doing so, they serve as a model for respect and cooperation and create a concrete opportunity to build and strengthen working ties between and among faith communities moving forward. A list of houses of worship that have already participated in Faith Shared can be found at faithshared.org.
Human Rights First is a leading human rights advocacy organization based in New York City and Washington, DC. Since 1978, we have worked in the U.S. and abroad to create a secure and humane world -advancing justice, human dignity, and respect for the rule of law. All of our activities are supported by private contributions. We accept no government funds. Visit our web site: www.humanrightsfirst.org.
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.