4th Annual Multicultural Dialogue

The 4th year of the Multicultural Dialogues on Racism and Bias: Seeing the Divine in the Other concluded with Rep. Jamie Raskin. Special thanks is due the Rev. Dr. Carol Flett and her team of facilitators for sustaining these life transformative dialogues. We are drawing from this experience as we go deeper in dealing with systemic racism and empowering the Racial Equity and Social Justice initiative with County government. It’s a gift to be living with the diversity and people committed to this critical issue in Montgomery County.

Inaugural Interfaith Service

The Inaugural Interfaith Service included leaders from seven faith traditions reminding our County Executive and Council Members that we are all members of one human family and we share a common mission in creating a more inclusive, equitable and beloved Montgomery County.

Pictures include Elected Officials with their families and faith leaders enjoying a glorious Inauguration Day at Strathmore.

New County Council & County Executive with family.
New County Council & County Executive with family.

Interfaith Clergy
Interfaith Clergy

Overhead Image
Overhead Image

County Executive elect Marc Elrich and Interfaith Community Liaison Rev. Kasey Kaseman
County Executive elect Marc Elrich and Interfaith Community Liaison Rev. Kasey Kaseman

Office of Community Partnerships Farewell Celebration

The FCAC Executive Committee received Certificates of Appreciation from the County Executive and First Lady, Ike and Catherine Leggett, for their leadership in creating a more inclusive and compassionate MoCo. They joined all the County Executive’s Advisory Councils associated with the Office of Community Partnerships for a Farewell Celebration.
📸 By Chuck Lee

 

Does Hunger Exist in Montgomery County?

The Neighbors in Need Working Group in collaboration with the Montgomery County Food Council presents a Hunger Forum to inform and engage faith communities in effectively caring for the hungry.Special presentations by County Executive Ike Leggett and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will premiere the Mapping of Faith Communities in Montgomery County.

CLICK HERE TO RSVP

 

 

Fall Programs & Workshops

The Faith Community Advisory Council is excited to be hosting a number of programs and workshops for the Fall. Be sure to check out our events page to register!

Declaration of Solidarity

In the face of growing polarization and increasing hate and violence it is important for faith leaders to stand together and affirm the spiritual values we hold in common.  Here is a Declaration from the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington presented at a press conference co-sponsored by them, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and our Faith Community Advisory Council that was held at the Washington Hebrew Congregation.  The one minute statement of our Interfaith Community Liaison and video is also here for your review.

State Department Delegation

“Education is your passport to integration”, wise words shared during yesterday’s Interfaith Dialogue with the Muslim Belgium Delegation. It was a pleasure to share and learn about each others similarities and differences. Thank you to the Civilizations Exchange & Cooperation Foundation (CECF) for bringing such a well rounded, diverse delegation to learn about interfaith relations in Montgomery County!

Photos By: Chuck Lee

Security Partners Open House

The Faith Community Advisory Council hosted an Open House event on June 19 at the Public Safety Headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD for their partners in creating social cohesion and public safety. This event thanked all members of MCFRS, MCPD, OEMHS and DHHS for their participation and dedication over the years to empower and support faith communities of Montgomery County.

50th Anniversary of Rev. Mansfield “Kasey” Kaseman Ordination

Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I seek your indulgence as I reflect on the 50th anniversary of my ordination this Saturday. It was preceded by my organizing a Center for Theological Education in the Urban Setting that in turn helped organize the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s first initiative in the North. A picture of his speaking on the steps outside the locked doors of a deplorable intercity school remains in my office.
My theological studies included reading the sacred texts of major world religions, studying Hebrew scripture with rabbis and taking classes at Jesuit, Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist and United Church of Christ seminaries. My ordination service was interracial and included clergy from Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Protestant faith traditions. They participated in the rite of ordination by the “laying on of hands” as did a laywoman from an inner-city human service program because I wanted to celebrate the Holy Spirit moving through laity as well as clergy.
It was avant-gard at that time and unfortunately remains the same today. It seems natural to think our particular beliefs, approach to worship and claim to divine favor are more authentic than others. Some claim to being elected by God or being God’s chosen people at the exclusion of others. Under these circumstances there is no reason to associate with people of other faiths except to convert them to our superior faith tradition.
As the Interfaith Community Liaison, I have the privilege of worshipping in Eastern and Western faith traditions and becoming friends with a broad spectrum of people who are immeasurably enriching my life. What I and others are experiencing is that the more we cross lines of difference, the more we realize we are the same. Our histories and approaches to the divine are different, but as we worship and work together in service of others, we discover the divine in terms that overcome our differences.
I think this is why interfaith alliances among faith leaders are growing in Montgomery County, Interfaith Dialogues on Cultural Bias are being planned for a third year, some 60 interfaith communities are assimilating refugees, Muslims are inviting others to celebrate the breaking of their daily fasts at lifter dinners, faith leaders are inviting colleagues from other faiths to pray, teach and preach in their houses of worship.
The greatest benefit is discovering, that regardless of the name we attribute to the creator and sustain of life, we are sisters and brothers of one human family. The more we are together, the more we experience the unifying power of love dissolving our sense of superiority and leaving us humble and deeply grateful.
50 years ago I could not have imagined being an Interfaith Community Liaison in a place like Montgomery County. My brother, Martin Luther King, Jr., had convinced me of the universal power of love, but its context was largely ecumenical. Today it is profoundly interfaith. I cannot envision the next 50 years, but I’m optimistic thanks to my Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Hindu, Unitarian Universalist, Bahai’l, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish and Christians sisters and brothers.
Thank you
Rev. Mansfield “Kasey” Kaseman

Montgomery Serves Awards

On April 23, 2018 our Interfaith Community Liaison, Rev. Mansfield “Kasey” Kaseman had the pleasure of presenting the Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Service Award to Mr. Tufail Ahmad at the Montgomery Serves Awards. Below is a statement from Rev. Kaseman.
“My friend, Tufail Ahmad, is not exactly like the heroic Robin Hood, because he takes from his own people. He takes their money, hundreds of thousands of dollars; he takes food by the ton, clothing by the car load and organizes volunteers to give it away. He doesn’t care about their faith or ethnicity or race. His only criteria is do they need it?

Tufail Ahmad is also like Roscoe Nix. Regardless of the abuse, prejudicial comments and actions directed at his community, he always greets you with a smile, and an outstretched hand.

You quickly recognize this man is bright, focused and organized. He does not waste a lunch or even a phone call without asking you for something he knows you can deliver.

You want to deliver it because Tufail has the heart and soul of a Muslim. He is a merciful, compassionate and charitable man living out the tenants and spirit of his faith.

Subsequently it’s natural for him to be working with kindred spirits in all faith traditions and no faith tradition creating a more welcoming, inclusive, resilient, just and peaceful Montgomery County.

We will learn more about this remarkable Montgomery County hero viewing this video.”