In our confused, conflicted and violent culture, what could be better than crossing lines of difference, learning about different faith traditions and experiencing the love that lies at the heart of each of them?
The Montgomery Unity Walk received rave reviews. The only complaints in its evaluation were that more houses of worship were not engaged in it. In spite of weather reports predicting 80% chance of rain, hundreds of people came for the Resource Fair with 17 exhibitors in the Chinmaya Washington Regional Center.
The Chinmaya sanctuary was standing room only for the Opening Ceremony. It included an instrumental call to prayer, musical performance by the ADAMS BEAT (the first Mosque based choir in America), a message on unity by Swami Dheerananda and remarks by County Executive, Ike Leggett, and Council President, Roger Berliner.
Below is a statement by a Unity Walk participant;
“I especially liked being able to go into different houses of worship, especially the Muslim Community Center and Buddhist Temple and learn about their prayers – so many similarities in all of these! We have to see the ONENESS IN ALL! I wish that more members of our community had participated. Thank you for this empowering and unifying event.”
On behalf of all present, the FCAC thanks all participating houses of worship, their volunteers, Fire and Rescue Services, Office of Community Partnerships and the Departments of Police, Recreation and Transportation for making it safe and enjoyable.
Please join U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Montgomery County Clergy and Community Leaders for a conversation on Uniting Our Community After Charlottesville.
Thursday, August 31, 2017
John Hopkins University
9601 Medical Center Dr.
Rockville, MD 20850
RSVP to Ken Reichard
A Prayer Vigil, on the 1st anniversary of the horrific fire killing seven and displacing hundreds, was held at that site seeking healing and empowerment for the residents of Flower Valley.
Pictures include Sofia Mereydi Reyes, President of the Flower Valley Tenants Association, with Gustavo Torres, CEO of CASA and behind them are Rev. Dr. Carol Flett, and Rabbi Batya Glazer, Co-Chairs of our FCWG and among the first responders to the fire. Others are of Councilman Tom Hucker, Father Erick Lopez, Pastor Gary Nuss, Father Vidal Rivas, Imam Papa and myself. May our prayers and acts of support continue for these deserving residents .
A panel of religious leaders and an immigration expert addressed the travel ban for predominately Muslim countries and how we can uphold our values and keep Montgomery County safe. It was hosted by the Islamic Education Center in Rockville. Panelists included Imam Ahmad Bahraini, Father Jacek Orzechowski, Rev. Kasey Kaseman and Kiyanoush Razaghi. It was moderated by Shane Rock and David Trone addressed the importance of supporting refugees and immigrants.
The Montgomery County Faith Community, mobilized through the Welcoming Our New Neighbors program, has over 60 faith communities working primarily within interfaith clusters. Together they have raised in excess of $400,000 and marshaled 330 volunteers in support of 25 refugee families. Housing and employment remain the top priorities with legal assistance, mentoring, teaching English and offering general support being ways others may help.
The Security Grant Orientation drew faith leaders from 40 communities for learning how to assess their vulnerabilities, develop a master plan and apply for a grant from Montgomery County Government. It was hosted by the Islamic Center of Maryland and featured public officials from the Departments of Management and Budget, General Services, Police, Fire and Rescue, and Office of Community Partnerships. In addition, there were security professionals from the Jewish Community Relations Council and Kiernan Group Holdings. You may review the agenda here.
Interfaith Works and the Montgomery County Faith Community Advisory Council are combining their strengths to unite and magnify the impact of the interfaith community through the creation of the Interfaith Network of Montgomery County. It is a public/private partnership bringing hundreds of faith communities together to build a healthy, resilient community where all residents feel respected, valued and supported. INMC will focus on fostering dialogue and providing faith-community solutions to crucial issues, including poverty, xenophobia and bigotry.
Funding for the Interfaith Network of Montgomery County will be provided by a County grant with matching funds coming from a membership base of faith communities, organizations and individuals. To find out how you, your faith community and/or organization may become founding members, click here.
We will be hiring a full time Administrative Assistant this summer and a half time Program Director this fall. Together we will empower the working groups, teams and committees, displayed in this organizational chart (click here).
Our County Executive, Ike Leggett, in initiating INMC said, We are fortunate to have faith communities reminding us that we belong to one human family and working together for the common good.
Given increased enforcement activity in recent months by U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement, it is important that immigrant rights advocates and local communities be prepared in the event of a raid. This training helps communities respond to raids and provide support to those at risk of deportation and their families.
This is a train-the-trainer session, so participants will be encouraged to share what they have learned with their congregations and communities to help build a network of rapid responders across the region
Overview of New Sanctuary Movement (3:00-3:30 PM)
Training in Various Forms of Response (3:30-5:30 PM)
Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church
9601 Cedar Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814
Questions: Lori.firstname.lastname@example.org(Montgomery County DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network volunteer; Takoma Park Mobilization)
DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network is a network of congregations in DC/MD/VA region that are providing support and solidarity to neighbors, friends, and family who fear being detained, deported or profiled.
County officials, faith leaders, non-profit organizations and community members joined together to memorialize 62 individuals who died during 2016 and 2017 either while homeless or after being involved in the homeless system in Montgomery County.
The moving ceremony included an invocation and remarks by Rev. Kasey Kaseman, Interfaith Community Liaison, and Rev. Linda Kauffman from Community Solutions. The names of those memorialized was read by non-profit providers who work closely with County government in providing services to the homeless. View a pictures and videos of the Community Memorial Service below:
A new initiative, Inside/NotOutside, was also launched, with the goal of ending chronic homelessness by the end of 2017. Faith communities and people of conscience may learn and becoming engaged at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/homelessness.
The Faith Community Advisory Council and the Human Rights Commission co-sponsored the United We Learn program with Montgomery County Public Schools. Over 250 students from the majority of public schools in Montgomery County submitted videos of dance, theatre, creative writing, music and beautiful art on the theme “ Combating Hate through the Arts.” Pictured with two of the winners are Superintendent Jack Smith and Rev. Kasey Kaseman who presented certificates in the presence of hundreds of proud parents and grandparents.
See Award Winning Entries