In horror's wake, a chance to come together
It was planned long before a gunman killed 11 people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue last week, but there may be no better time for the community to come together than at an interfaith service scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15, in Lake Oswego.
The Interfaith Gratitude Service will be co-hosted by the Lake Oswego United Church of Christ, Congregation Beit Haverim, the Muslim Educational Trust, The Baha'i Faith of Portland and the Islamic Community of North American Bosniaks. It's scheduled from 7-8 p.m. on Nov. 15 at the shared home of LOUCC and Beit Haverim (1111 Country Club Road, Lake Oswego).
"In a world that seems increasingly divided, it is important for us to bear witness to the profound inclusiveness of God's love," says the Rev. Jennie Ott of LOUCC. "As a Christian congregation, we rejoice in worshipping with Jewish and Muslim friends, as we are all the beloved children of God."
Rabbi Alan Berg agrees.
"The sense of shared mission was so clear in our planning. Inclusiveness is the foundation of a caring community," he says. "Beit Haverim joins hands with LOUCC and the Muslim Educational Trust to build a foundation for tomorrow that will endure."
Berg and Ott will lead the service, which will also include remarks by Willie Poinsette, one of the founders of the grassroots group Respond to Racism. Members of each faith community will help guide the service with readings, prayers, poetry, and music.
"MET's focus on education through positive interaction with Muslims and non-Muslims, and honest communication with the media and public officials, has positively impacted not only the people of Portland, but well beyond our local area," says MET Executive Director Wajdi Said. "We are grateful to join our friends as we come together for this service."
The gathering is free, although there will be an opportunity to provide financial support for Respond to Racism. Refreshments will be served following the service, with time set aside for people of all faiths to get to know each other better.
"We invite you to join us in this interfaith celebration of God's inclusive love, highlighting both our shared values and the diverse ways we express our faith," Ott says. "By coming together as beloved children of God, we hope to make the world a better place for all."
— The Review