Uganda tour honors 40-year interfaith friendship

In front of an audience of about 1,000 at Kampala University in Uganda, Badru Kateregga and David Shenk speak about Christian-Muslim dialogue and the book they co-authored almost 40 years ago, A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue. — Kampala University

For four days in April, Badru Kateregga asked audiences a question as he toured Uganda with David Shenk: “How many of you can say you have a friendship that has lasted 40 years?”

Kateregga and Shenk can. Their friendship has made an impact on countless people by demonstrating the transformative effects of respectful dialogue between faiths.

For many years, Kateregga and Shenk have lived out the message of the groundbreaking book they co-authored in 1980, A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue.

Kateregga invited Shenk on an April 16-19 peacemaking tour of his home country, celebrating almost 40 years of the book — and an even longer friendship between a black African Sunni Muslim and a white North American Mennonite.

David Shenk felt that what people found most compelling was simply the enduring friendship between two people with such striking differences.

Kateregga is a prominent figure in the Muslim world. Besides founding Kampala University, he founded the East African Universities of Kenya and Rwanda and served as Uganda’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf states, Iraq and Palestine.

Shenk has spent his life working to share a Christian witness. He has served with EMM virtually all his adult life, both as a missionary and on staff. He has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books.

Both men are dedicated peacemakers. Their belief in the power of dialogue and mutual respect drew them together when they first met in the 1970s as religion professors at Kenyatta University in Nairobi.

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Interfaith Hospitality Network: A circle of community concern

Interfaith Hospitality Network staff, from left, are Meghan Snyder, Stacey Burge, Rebecca Neuberger, Kim Williams and Ben Green. (Photo: Laura A. Hobson for The Community Press)

Interfaith Hospitality Network’s mission is to provide homeless families emergency shelter, helping them transition to permanent housing, and hospitality.

Started in 1991 as an emergency shelter with eight congregations participating, the center now has over 100 congregational partners of all faiths and wraparound support which extends beyond emergency shelter.

Twenty-six host congregations provide a site with food, beds and activities. These include Adath Israel Congregation, Knox Presbyterian Church, First United Church of Christ, Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and Ihsan Community Center.

There are 78 support congregations, meaning those that provide volunteers for food and activities with the children. Included in this group are All Saints Catholic Church, Congregation Beth Adam, Clifton United Methodist Church, and Mount Washington Presbyterian Church.

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Building bridges while breaking bread: Norfolk temple holds interfaith Ramadan meal

Guests listen to speakers during a community interfaith dinner on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at Ohef Sholom Temple in Norfolk. Media credit: Kristen Zeis, The Virginia-Pilot.

More than 100 people gathered for an iftar dinner – the evening meal in which Muslims break their fasts during Ramadan – at the temple. Partnered with the Rumi Forum, an interfaith and intercultural organization, the shared meal was meant for people of different faiths to learn more about each other.

Mustafa Akpinar, chief executive officer of the Rumi Forum, said they also host similar events to celebrate holidays like Christmas and Yom Kippur.

“It’s a beautiful way of getting to know our brothers and sisters by experiencing and learning from each other,” Akpinar said.

The temple has held many iftar dinners over the years, said Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg of Ohef Sholom. Despite the difference in religious beliefs, attendants often find they’re more alike than they would believe.

“Peace has to start in relationships between people, and you can only build those relationships by getting to know each other,” said Mandelberg . “It’s too late to wait until a crisis occurs to come together.”

It’s about building bridges while breaking bread, she said.

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Muslims protect ancient Christian manuscripts, and thrilling archaeological nes

Fr Justin

Fr Justin is helping to share online the historic manuscripts in an ancient Sinai monastery

In 625AD, Mohammed signed a charter “in aid of the Christians” with a gold handprint. A copy of this, guaranteeing the monastery’s protection, hangs in the museum.

The Jebelaya tribe, local Bedouins, who have helped protect and run the monastery since it was built, are Muslim.

St Catherine's monastery

The monastery has had to survive centuries of political upheavals in the Middle East

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Interfaith Iftar- A Great Time to Start Interfaith Dialogue

Contrary to the popular belief, the purpose of Interfaith Iftars and any other form of Interfaith dialogue is not to convert each other. Muslims in the United States are increasingly opening their mosques and Islamic centers to people of other faiths during the month of Ramadan to break their fast (Iftar) together at sunset. The underlying theme is to promote Interfaith understanding and harmony, ultimately leading to peace between people of various faiths.

Breaking bread together is an age-old tradition and a great way to bring people together. These Iftar programs are being held with increasing frequency at other places of worship such as Churches and Synagogues.

These programs often jump start interfaith dialogue between Muslims, Jews and Christians- the three faiths typically represented at these events, though there are representations from other faiths such as Hindus, Sikhs, as well as agnostics. One overarching theme, as spelled out in the Qur’an, is to simply get to know each other.

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Speakers remind graduates to find strength in morals at Interfaith Baccalaureate Service

Reuben Brigety, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, speaks at the Interfaith Baccalaureate Service Saturday morning. MEDIA CREDIT: JACK FONSECA | HATCHET PHOTOGRAPHER

About 100 faculty, graduates and families gathered for the Undergraduate Interfaith Baccalaureate Service at the Western Presbyterian Church Saturday morning to reflect on how faith has shaped their lives.

The ceremony included group prayer and musical performances from graduates and introductions from Reverend Lauren Cunningham, the pastor of the Western Presbyterian Church, University President Thomas LeBlanc and former Student Association President Peak Sen Chua.

Here’s some advice from the speakers:

1. Remember your truths

Chaplain Meraj Allahrakha, a professor of economics and adviser to the GW Muslim Student Association, said it is despair and hardship that can lead someone away from their faith. He said “temptations come in many flavors” and students must always remember their own truths.

2. Rely on your faith

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Reuben Brigety, an elder at Western Presbyterian Church, reminded students they have gone through a series of “hurdles” in their lives, and will likely go through many more, but they should return to their faith when making difficult choices.

3. Find your spark

Student speaker Jenna Friedberg, the former president of the Jewish Student Association, who obtained her master’s degree in American Studies Friday, closed her speech with a line from this week’s Torah reading: “As God sees it, the soul of the man is a spark of his own fire.” She told graduates to find their own spark and never stop searching for their potential.

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Interfaith Ramadan celebration calls for togetherness, unity

Bishop Robert McElroy speaks to Imam Taha Hassane during the Islamic Center of San Diego 2018 Interfaith Iftar at the Sufi Mediterranean Cuisine restaurant in San Diego on Thursday. (Hayne Palmour IV / San Diego Union-Tribune)

An iftar is the meal eaten after the sun sets during Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims that represents when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. The Islamic Center of San Diego has hosted an interfaith iftar for over a decade,

The interfaith iftar strengthens friendships and promotes unity, Hassane said, emphasizing this year’s theme of “moving forward together.”

He said interfaith iftars are becoming more common across the U.S.

Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during Ramadan. On Thursday, the 16th day of Ramadan, that meant not eating or drinking anything between 4:21 a.m. and 7:51 p.m.

“Fasting is about more than just depriving ourselves from food and water. Fasting is showing restraint and that we have control of our bodies,” Hassane explained to the crowd. “Fasting is all about showing the goodness that we have.”

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Interfaith Ministries Will Distribute Supplies To 4,300 Seniors Because Of Hurricane Season

Around 400 volunteers will participate in Operation IMpact, which will be carried out in Harris and Galveston counties

Photo courtesy of Interfaith Ministries Interfaith Ministries will distribute non-perishable food, water and hurricane kits to more than 4,000 senior citizens that live in Harris and Galveston counties Saturday, June 2, to help them be better prepared for the 2018 hurricane season.

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston will distribute non-perishable food, water and hurricane kits to more than 4,000 senior citizens that live in Harris and Galveston counties this Saturday, June 2, to help them be better prepared for the 2018 hurricane season, which started on Friday.

Martin Cominsky, president and CEO, said approximately 400 volunteers will participate in Operation IMpact, which will deliver the supplies to 4,300 seniors and disabled citizens who participate in the ‘Meals on Wheels’ program.

This is the third year Interfaith Ministries is carrying out this initiative and Cominsky detailed that some of the foods that will be distributed are canned pasta, crackers, cereal bars and instant dry milk, namely products that can last in good condition for weeks without refrigeration.

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Transcending Event-Interfaith: Brief Address Offered at the 10th Annual InterFaith Run for a United World

ING Night Marathon, Luxembourg
Brief Address Offered at the 10th Annual InterFaith Run for a United World