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Baptists & Muslims? And more: ‘Model Interfaith Dialogue & Unity’ series continues this Sunday Dec. 19

December 14th · No Comments · Bible, Christian, Focolare, Jewish, Muslim, Quran

On the courtyard of Temple Israel following “An Interfaith Thanksgiving Service Celebrating Our Diversity.”

Before sharing more scenes from some wonderful recent activities — among them the Thanksgiving interfaith gathering at Temple Israel in West Palm Beach, and at the Friends (Quaker) Meeting House in Lake Worth — I  should mention the next installment in our monthly interfaith DVD & Discussion series. Coming up this Sunday, Dec. 19, it’s “Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims.” This notable documentary by posits:

From Boston to the Bible Belt and from Beaumont to the nation’s beltway, Baptists and Muslims are changing history with the way they change each other. Tired of being defined by extremists, some Baptists and Muslims in the United States have sought and found common ground: the common word in both traditions to love God and love neighbor. The courageous Baptists and Muslims in “Different Books, Common Word” will surprise you.

Robert Parham, executive editor of and the documentary’s co-producer/director, says: “The Bible calls us to love our neighbors, not as a means of conversion, but because it’s the right thing to do.” That’s the Quranic view too — as in myriad other traditions.

All are welcome to join our warm company of spiritually and ethnically diverse friends, 2-4 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of the Palm Beaches, 900 Brandywine Road, West Palm Beach 33409.

As always, these “Models for Interfaith Dialogue and Unity” gatherings are organized by New Africa of the Palm Beaches, with support of local clergy and lay friends. The programs provide opportunities to transcend religious, ethnic and cultural divisions by learning from and about each other, while developing exemplary models for human interaction and cooperation. There’s no fee; donations to support this effort are welcome. More info: 561-309-5476.

With our dear Mercedes Mont of the Focolare, the worldwide Christian movement, than whom I know no better followers of Christ Jesus, upon whom be Peace.

Aneesha and Mercedes, caring, sharing, not wanting to leave.

More scenes:

Rabbi Richard Chapin, our humble host, welcoming all to "An Interfaith Thanksgiving Service Celebrating Our Diversity," Nov. 23 at Temple Israel in West Palm Beach.

It was a joy to meet Pastor Acosta.

Cantor Paul Offenkrantz and the Temple Israel musicians were spirit-moving.

Cantor Offenkrantz

My dear friend Deacon Dennis Demes, of the Diocese of Palm Beach, touched my heart with his comments.

The Children's Choir of Church Jesus Redentor de Vida was awesome.

In my Thanksgiving remarks...

...I shared the advice embraced by Luqman the Wise: "And whoever is thankful, is so to the profit of his own soul. And any who is ungrateful should know that G-d is Self-Sufficient, free of all wants, worthy of all praise" (Quran 31.12).

Our guest speaker Melanie Nezer, senior director, U.S. Programs and Advocacy, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

Delightedly reconnecting with Charles Damsel, one of my longtime readers.

Whether with longtime friends or new...

... it truly was "An Interfaith Thanksgiving Service Celebrating Our Diversity."

Meanwhile, during the Lake Worth Interfaith Network's "6th Annual Thanksgiving Service of Gratitude"... the The Friends (Quaker) Meeting Nov. 25...

Deacon Patricia Masterman of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, who pulled us all together this year...

... offered a Native American Prayer replete with drum.

I reprised many of my Thanksgiving comments from Temple Israel.

Nirmi & Vinod Sandanasamy shared a Tamil Indian Prayer.

Our friend Cynthia Friend of the Palm Beach Dharma Center, who shared a Buddhist prayer.

After, some of us paused for a photo (L-R): Rabbi Jenny Skylark, Noam Brown, Hanif, Pat Masterman, Javier del Sol, Rev. Taylor Stevens.

Later, enjoying Thanksgiving time with Melton Mustafa...

...and family and friends — and his video camera.

A few days later, checking in at the Palm Beach County Convention Center Dec. 2 ... join in honoring my friend, master photographer Bevins Bennett, and others.... host committee members celebrated the Black Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County's annual Ascension Awards. (L-R): Keely Taylor, Verdenia Baker, Bevins Bennett, Thais Sullivan, Aneesha Hanif.

— C.B. Hanif

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