Dear Newman Community,
Last week we had the privilege to host “Welcoming the Stranger: A Community Prayer Service,” at the invitation of Bishop Cantu and other local interfaith leaders. The gathering included a press conference for the interfaith leaders to share their joint statement and a prayer service with wisdom selections from the Jewish, Lutheran, Islamic and Catholic traditions. There were over 100 people in attendance, of varying age and religion. Despite our differences, it seemed to me that we have so much in common. That through our different faith traditions runs the common thread of hospitality and welcome to the stranger, the alien, the forsaken.
From the joint statement: We come from different religious communities, each with a heritage of offering help and support to the stranger and to people in need. The figure of Abraham/Ibrahim receives accolades in each of our traditions for his unabashed welcome of people who came to the family tent. One explanation surmised that the tent must have been open to all sides so that he could best serve the visitors who came his way.
Proclamations about welcoming the stranger are expressed 36 times in the Hebrew Bible and constitute central principles in the New Testament and in the Qur'an. The stranger might have been someone from another town or a person from many hundreds of miles away in a different country. In either case, hospitality was a sign of faithfulness to God and service to our fellow human beings.
Read the full statement and view more photos on our website and Facebook page.
Photos by J. D. McNamara
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