Date posted: May 4, 2019
By C. ZIEGLER
The Chatham United Methodist Church hosted its 6th Annual Abraham Interfaith Lunch on Tuesday, April 30th. The theme of the event was to embrace faiths of all kinds while joining together to help refugees in need. “You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:19) Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35) “Was not the earth of God spacious enough for you to flee for refuge?” (Quran 4:97)
Members of different faiths from Judaism to Islam to Christian literally and figuratively “broke bread together” in an effort to understand the backgrounds and experiences that helped mold who they are as citizens who volunteer time and money within their communities to provide food and shelter for the less fortunate.
Over 120 people of all faiths gathered to celebrate and share food generously prepared by the Peace Islands Institute. The menu included grilled vegetables and meat, garbanzo beans and rice, string beans and sauce, and baklava for dessert.
Offering a place for all to pray, meet together for conversation and fellowship, the Chatham United Methodist Church (CUMC) allowed for an inclusive and prayerful vision to become reality. “The guests may have entered the doors as strangers, but they left having made new friends and a new understanding of faith,” said Peggy Melvin.
The Chatham United Methodist Church Senior Pastor, Jeff Markay was host and gave the opening remarks. Markay is known for, among other things, his outreach and networking abilities to provide food and shelter to refugees, homeless, and others on the fringes of society. “His compassion and hope for all to grow in appreciation of each other is infectious, “ said one guest.
CUMC Associate Pastor, Sharon Yarger gave the invocation. Speakers on the topic of Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Those that Welcome Them included Osman Dulgeroglu of Peace Islands Institute; Mary and Gerry Gannon and Frank of Refugee Assistance Morris Partners (RAMP); Jenny Tananbaum of the Saturday Morning Fun Club at Temple Emanu-El in Westfield; the Rev. Julie Yarborough and Robby of One World One Love; Andrea Wren-Hardin of First Friends; and the Rev. Kristin Markay of Lambeth Refugees Welcome (London).
The message of the speakers was that despite a difference in faith and background, the driving force in helping those in need, whether they be refugees, asylum seekers, or homeless, is more powerful than language, country of birth or religion. Working together as all of God’s children can make a positive change in the world.
Source: TAPintoChatham , May 2, 2019