Imagine the primary Sunday morning service in a Christian church that begins with a 9-year-old Muslim boy offering the Islamic Call to Prayer, followed by a woman lighting candles on a table set with bread, wine and grape juice and offering the Jewish prayers that begin the Sabbath worship, followed by an Episcopal priest offering the "collect of the day."
So began the interfaith service over the weekend at Christ Episcopal Church in Dearborn. Parishioners specifically requested the service after reading about the national "Faith Shared" project, organized by Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First. The challenge in planning such a service was in knowing who from the other faith traditions to invite to help organize and participate in the service.
The service included portions of Muslim, Jewish and Christian worship, honoring each tradition in the process. Beginning with each tradition's call to prayer and worship, the service included readings from and reflections on the sacred texts of the Torah and the Gospels, plus a reading from the Quran, chanted in Arabic and translated into English.
Katz also shared the "Parashah" of the week — the Torah portion read that week in synagogues all over the world. Younes followed the sharing of the Torah portion with a reading from the Quran. Prayers over a meal were offered by each tradition, and the bread, wine and juice were shared among the gathered congregation.
Each component of the worship offered the comparable element from each tradition. To us, the only unusual aspect of the service was that the various elements were woven into a typical order for a Sunday morning worship service in the Episcopal Church.
Dearborn is a special community that honors its diversity and enjoys sincere hospitality and compassion among the people of this city. While this worship service was a first for the community, it is just one example of the many ways that Jews, Christians and Muslims work together and learn from each other, for the good of all.
Hearing each other's prayers and learning about our diverse faith traditions are ways to move forward to break down our cultural, ethnic and religious segregation, which is often far too pronounced in greater metropolitan Detroit. The more we learn about the faith-based practices of our neighbors who might dress differently, eat different foods and speak different languages, the more we find our commonality as human beings and underscore our similar missions of unity, peace, community-building and mutual understanding.