Approximately 100 members of the interfaith community gathered in June at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn to discuss how the actions they take locally, even if it is as perceiveably small as having a conversation with a neighbor of a different faith background, can have a lasting ripple effect globally.
At the IFLC annual luncheon, new friendships and relationships were made as guests dined on food lovingly prepared by the ICA catering staff and listened and discussed with each other what the needs are in their individual faith communities and how IFLC could play a bigger role in meeting them and further its mission on bringing people together.
President Raman Singh opened the afternoon with organizational updates, including the expansion of the organization’s cornerstone program: Religious Diversity Journeys. In the coming academic year, RDJ will expand its reach to even more seventh graders in the Detroit Metro area starting in the 2019-2020 academic year. The organization this year will also be hosting a healthcare webinar to discuss health issues that span across the faiths, launch a podcast centering on local issues of faith, and relaunch its website.
Board member Dan Buttry, who has traveled the world on peace-making missions to increase dialogue and harmony across the faiths, and boasts about how he lives in the ethnically and religiously diverse city of Hamtramck, told the gathering there is much work to be done in decreasing the darkness in the world by increasing the ripples of light and hope in his keynote address.
Buttry said right now, the world is engaged in a multi-front struggle today between religious extremism on the one hand and understandings of religion and faith that build the community where we love our neighbors whoever they are on the other.
In spite of all the attacks on faith groups – from Pittsburgh to San Diego to Sri Lanka to New Zealand, Buttry said we have an opportunity to make a global impact every time a member of one faith acknowledges that the purpose of another faith and their own faith is not for war, violence and killing but in how well we treat each other.
“Extremism and violence isn’t the main face of religion. In fact, most of us would say that’s definitely not the true face of our faith.
All these major religions as well as smaller religions have profound teachings about how we live together, how we love our neighbor, how we build
community where justice and peace can flourish.”
Buttry concluded his address by giving participants questions for food for thought.
How does acting locally impact globally? If you have a story of how you have seen that happen, especially in an interfaith way, share it!
What is the important need that IFLC can fulfill in the coming year? It may be something that assist you in your local work. It may be something that helps tie you to other interfaith work in the area.
It may be a way to build up your capacity. What can we do as a regional interfaith network to empower you and magnify your impact?