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by Sari Ateek, Rector
This past November, a local Episcopal Church that houses a large Latino worshiping community had its welcome sign defaced with the words “Trump Nation – Whites Only.” In response, hundreds of cards and letters of support and encouragement came to that Episcopal Church from a local mosque which had organized a ‘notes & cards’ campaign to help remind their Christian brothers and sisters that we are all in this together.
The rector of that Episcopal church addressed our Diocesan Convention this past weekend, relaying the profound impact that these notes and cards of support had on his congregation in a time of much distress.
I believe that our Muslim brothers and sisters have modeled for us in a beautiful and powerful way how we, as a community of faith, can respond when other neighboring communities of faith are going through times of adversity.
In light of recent trends in our nation that have given rise to feelings of isolation and fear among many Muslims, I would like to organize a similar ‘notes & cards’ writing campaign from our congregation as an expression of support and encouragement to our Muslim sisters and brothers.
This coming Sunday, I hope to collect as many notes, cards, and letters from you as we can possibly muster. Old and young, readers and pre-readers alike… a letter from each individual in your family. Children in their church school classes will be writing letters, and all can use words, pictures, colors and any other means of expression. My hope is to send an overwhelming message of love through hundreds of cards.
A basket will be set up in the West Avenue Lobby this Sunday to collect your cards. A table will also be set up in the lobby with cards, pens and colors should you choose to write one then. These notes and cards will then be delivered to one or two local mosques with the following cover letter:
Our dear brothers and sisters,
Grace and Peace to you.
This letter comes to your community from the hearts of the parishioners of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, MD – a Christian community that believes in the abundant and inclusive love of God for all people.
Our community of faith has been deeply distressed at the divisions that are being sown in our nation with this recent election, and we are especially alarmed at the inhospitable messages and actions that are being directed toward the Muslim community.
We would like to offer our love and support to you in any way that we can.
These notes of support come from all of us and express our heartfelt desire for you to continue to thrive in our community.
We will be in touch about specific ways we can work together to combat this disturbing trend.
In Love and Faith,
The People of St. John’s Episcopal Church
Thank you, St. John’s for living out the Gospel, and for sharing the love of Christ in this practical way.