On May 20 a remarkable event occurred: a group of Muslims, Christians and other faiths met at the Masjid Al-Ansar mosque in Brooklyn Canter to pray together for peace and unity in our neighborhoods, country and world. This extraordinary event was followed by an Iftar Friendship dinner, breaking the day’s Ramadan fast, hosted by the members of the mosque.
This gathering was the most recent in a series of monthly “Come Together Twin Cities” events composed of congregations of various faiths, begun in September 2016. The purpose and the effect have been to highlight and demonstrate the unifying power of common respect and values in the community, thereby creating friendships and unity.
We have come together as Baptists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Catholics, Indigenous Practitioners, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Non-denominational Christians, Covenant Christians, Unitarians/Universalists, Quakers, Humanists, “Nones.” We represented a great many professions, ages, economic strata, political affiliations, ethnicities.
And we departed more familiar with one another, with more understanding and less apprehension.
At the first Come Together prayer service and peace-walk – held at our Northside church of St Bridget’s, and co-hosted by New Creation Church – our pastor, Father Paul Jarvis, noticed that most of the guests ended up seated across the aisle from the parishioners of St Bridget’s. He suggested that all of those present reach across the aisle and introduce themselves. This gesture became a symbol for our ecumenical Come Together peace prayer and action movement.
Implicit in this simple act is the recognition that, after stripping away the non-essentials, we are bound to one another by shared values as people of faith. Or people simply gathering in good faith. Men and women of all faiths profess that God is love and that we are all endowed with the capacity and the yearning to love and to be loved. The most basic form of love is respect. Respect is the foundation of community and the principal ingredient for a sustained environment of peace and trust.
When we pray, sing, reflect and get to know one another, as we walk through neighborhoods blessing and receiving blessings, we feel the warmth of God’s grace. We also revel in the knowledge that we all are sisters and brothers that recognize in one another the dignity of His creation.
We intend to continue our monthly Come Together Twin Cities endeavor as we embrace more communities of faith. And people of good faith. Please consider inviting your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Check out ComeTogetherTC.org for the next interfaith Come Together Twin Cities peace prayer service and peace-walk.
Gerri Hare, St. Bridget’s Trustee
Ronald H Reimann, Sr., St. Bridget’s Parishioner
Rev. Paul Jarvis, St. Bridget’s, Senior Associate Pastor