Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Multifaith Conversation on Homelessness

This is an article that Phil (one of the other Plymouth interns) and I wrote about an event that we organized at Plymouth Church last month. 

Where does our call to work on the issue of homelessness come from? This was the main question that a group of Christians and Muslims wrestled with on Saturday, April 20th in a program that focused on the way that an understanding of the roots of our passion can keep us inspired and hopeful. We listened as Tarek Dawoud from the Muslim Association of Puget Sound wove together teachings from the Koran and the Prophet Muhammad, wisdom about the nature of work and wealth, and the comparison of poverty in his native country of Egypt with Seattle. Rick Reynolds (Executive Director of Operation Nightwatch) spoke about the teachings of Jesus, the boundaries that we create to make ourselves more comfortable, and the great love that he has seen the homelessness share with others. Both men’s testimony revolved around relationship; it is because of broken relationships and a broken society that people find themselves homeless. Consequently, it is through relationships that we can most compassionately and effectively work to end homelessness.
A majority of our time was spent in small groups discussing our own faith journeys and the themes we saw within and across faith boundaries. We also looked for opportunities to partner in this work and have already seen this emerge out of the discussion.
Carol Mooney wrote:
"I was fortunate to be in a small group with Amira from the Muslim Association of Puget Sound. She expressed a desire to work with older homeless women. Both Jessie Attri and I volunteer at Mary's Place and shared a bit with our group about what happens there. I invited Amira to join me on Tuesday when Jessie and I attend the Hour of Power with Pastor Linda at Mary's Place. She came and was very enthusiastically received by the pastor, who believes that there is tremendous potential for connecting Amira with homeless Muslim women and children. Amira was eager to share what she learned with her group. It feels to me like something wonderful will come from this. The topic discussed among the women today was grace - and indeed it felt like grace to me to have attended the workshop, met Amira, and see a connection made which touched all of us present at Mary's Place today and hopefully will touch many more in the future."
--Phil Vestal and Jennifer Hagedorn

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