Signs of Interfaith Solidarity after Vandalism

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POC members show their support of vandalized houses of worship at an Interfaith Prayer Session.

Submitted by Peg Griffiths, Interfaith Solidarity Coordinator, Presbytery of Chicago

In early February, several churches and a mosque in the Gurnee and Waukegan area were the targets of anti-religious graffiti. The same offensive words were spray painted on all of the buildings.

To show support of those in the affected communities, several members of our presbytery, including those from Chicago Fourth, Deerfield, Libertyville and Grayslake Wildwood, attended an interfaith prayer session and press conference at the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Christian Church.

Gale Kryzak, Chicago Fourth, was one of our members who attended and commented, “I feel it is putting my faith into practice as love of neighbor. It is a privilege to be there for someone in distress-to lovingly stand with people who have been violated.”

Update March 29, 2014 from Peg Griffiths:

interfaithvisitOrlandParkMar2014 010I am happy to report on visit to the Orland Park Prayer Center. I had briefly met Imam Chahin that morning and handed him a letter with information about us and what we would do. He was able to talk with some of our group prior to the service. Our team dispersed around the men’s and women’s entrances, with greetings, signs of concern, and a small handout with the mission statement of the Interfaith Solidarity Network as well as a written message of concern. We were there from around 12:30 to 1:20, when the prayer service began in earnest.

We handed out 400 such messages and ran out of them. The Prayer Center clearly attracts a large number of worshippers, and we were able to interface with all of them. Many were clearly moved by our presence; they shook our hands, asked for pictures, said “Thank you.”

interfaithvisitOrlandParkMar2014 009The participants included the Szot family of 4 from Wildwood Pres (who deserve special mention as they brought their newborn, and toddler from really far far North). We had Pastor Wendy Boden, Heidi Shierry, and Floyd from Glen Ellyn Southminster; Brad and Doreen DeZur from Chicago Heights; Leslie Carey from Orland Park, Jill Ludwig from Palos Park, Pastor Adam Malak from Tinley Park; Chris Dederer and Karen Maurer from Homewood; Gale Kryzak from Chicago Fourth. A friend of Peg’s, Linda Kateeb, who hangs out with Presbyterians also participated.

An experience such as this is an uplifting event, and changes hearts on all sides. Thank you for participating, and for those of you who reached out to others, giving them the opportunity to participate, thanks to you. This event has a ripple effect and should affect as many Presbyterian (and other) souls as possible.

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