Meeting with County Executive Marc Elrich

The Executive Committee of the Faith Community Advisory Council presented their stewardship reports on the Religious Land Use, Neighbors in Need and Faith Community Working Groups to County Executive, Marc Elrich. Special Assistants, Debbie Spielberg and BB Ortero, and Director of the Office of Community Partnerships, Diane Vu were also present.  
The Executive Committee ranges from Anglican to Zorasterian and seeks to represent the needs and interests of 767 faith communities in Montgomery County. Their mailing list exceeds 5,000 that grows through workshops ranging from security to advanced care planning; intercultural dialogues on racism and bias; partnerships with government and nonprofits working on hunger, healthcare and welcoming refugees; coordinating interfaith responses to acts of violence; and engaging faith communities in caring for our environment.  
The County Executive expressed appreciation for their service and asked them to help the County care for its homeless this winter, as its largest shelter has been closed due to an environmental health problem; work with faith communities in addressing the need for more affordable housing; and engage more faith communities in climate solutions.

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.
ūüﳬ†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‚ÄĚ 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