Tag Archives: multi-ethnic

Empowering Voices—in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, November 20, 2016


Empowering Voices—in Prayer

I live in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural suburb of Chicago. I work in another multi-ethnic, multi-cultural suburb of Chicago. I have been involved with prayer activities for years, and have more recently added peace-building activities to what I have to offer. So—I was honored to be asked to speak at a panel discussion at the Muslim Community Center in the suburb where I work. That discussion took place earlier this evening, and involved six diverse panelists, and was called “Empowering Diverse Voices.”

What was the primary purpose of this event? Diverse groups of people wanted to come together. Many wanted to collaborate with other minorities that have felt marginalized during this polarizing election process. And—there was a diverse panel, indeed! African-American, Latina, Jewish, Christian and Muslim speakers to discuss how the different segments of communities can stand together against hate to promote harmony, peace and love for all.

I spoke from a Christian viewpoint, and brought my particular understanding as a trained chaplain into the forum. Fear—anxiety—running rampant. Emotions on high, with documented instances of bullying, intimidation, fear-mongering and hate speech spiking hugely since the election earlier this month. (Nationwide, as many instances in the past two weeks as there were in the previous six months.) I spoke peace into this uncertain time, highlighting the many passages in the Bible where God—Ha Shem—the Higher Power tells us “be not afraid!”

Several panelists expressed the hope that participation would bring diverse segments of our communities closer. What one person very much wished was to be sure of a caring environment, a respectful workplace and engaged community. We all want this, where all of our children can learn together and not be bullied or intimidated, and where all of us can live as people who love what this country was founded upon and still stands for.

I was asked for an action step. I thought of how Jesus told us to pray for those who persecute us. Accordingly, I suggested a monthly time of ecumenical prayer for our leaders, communities, and for those we disagree with, starting in December. The second Monday of each month, for six months. Joining together in mutual support and prayer, I will open the church I serve, St. Luke’s Church at 9233 Shermer in Morton Grove, from 7 to 8 pm.

Our first gathering will be on Monday, December 12, 2016. It will be a time for meditation, prayer, and sharing for mutual support. May God richly bless this gathering together for prayer. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Interfaith Banquet for Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Interfaith Banquet for Peace

I gathered together with a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, interfaith group of people for a banquet on Sunday evening. The banquet was co-hosted by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and the Islamic Society of North America at a Chicago-area convention center. Such a fascinating group of people. The booths at the 53rd annual ISNA conference I was invited to seemed a beehive of activity, too.

One meaningful highlight of the banquet was the opportunity to hear Khizr and Gazala Khan, the parents of United States Army Captain Humayun Khan. (Capt. Khan was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War, a Purple Heart recipient buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.) After being catapulted to international fame from speaking at the Democratic National Convention some weeks ago, the Khans continue to be the measured, sincere representatives of their faith in God. They both brought that same message of faith, honor and love for their adopted country to those who attended the ISNA banquet on Sunday.

However, not all the speakers at the banquet had positive messages. A strong concern came from Dr. Christopher Bain, professor of social sciences at Duke University. He spoke on the motion of the widespread demonization of Islam (and of individual Muslims, in general) throughout the United States since 9/11, fifteen years ago. This negative message of “radical Muslims” has moved from the fringes of national discourse rapidly into mainstream thought and media perception, in less than fifteen years. This concerns me—and many people—very much.

Yes, there was a great gathering of a diverse group of people on Sunday night. Perhaps—together—we helped to build bridges. Even though there is growing division and animosity against “difference,” perhaps some friendly conversation and sharing a meal helped to build friendships. Perhaps.

God willing. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er