SEABROOK SAYS: Quietly and effectively, the Interfaith Trialogue has been working for the future of Gaston County. Who are they? Better find out! The issues this group tackles are becoming more important every day. If you do not know, start to learn right now. NOW THAT YOU KNOW, WHAT WILL YOU DO?
You may or may not know this, but Jews, Muslims and Christians have been meeting in Gastonia on a regular basis since the months following 9/11.
Also, you may or may not know that we have not only a synagogue, but also a mosque right here in Gastonia, too.
This group of Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Gastonia (we call ourselves the Interfaith Trialogue) have been gathering for the purposes of better understanding one another’s beliefs and practices (and hence our own), to remove barriers of misinformation and distrust, and to build strong relationships within our community.
Meetings are held the third Monday of every month, taking turns at various houses of worship throughout the community, including the Islamic Center, Temple Emanuel, and at a variety of churches around Gaston County.
A main study method used is called “Scriptural Reasoning”, whereby passages are chosen from the holy texts of each faith, comparing and contrasting the verses to learn the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian perspective of each reading.
Significant outcomes of Trialogue have been personal spiritual growth for participants, and the development of close relationships built on mutual respect and trust. We do not proselytize or attempt to convert one another to our respective faiths, nor to homogenize our differences, but rather gather in the spirit of mutual deference and understanding.
Over the past few years, the media has highlighted the Islamic faith, both in a good, but mostly bad, light. Meeting with local Muslims in a posture of learning serves, among many other things, to counter the negative narrative. Our last meeting at the Mosque drew 35 people, and, on a positive note, our numbers continue to grow.
In the interest of community awareness, members of Gaston Trialogue have organized a “Walk for Peace” starting at 8:00 am on Saturday, July 9th. We will begin at First United Methodist Church on Franklin Boulevard and walk to the Temple, various churches in Gastonia, and then end at the Islamic Center to enjoy an “Abrahamic meal” to celebrate. Fellowship, prayer, refreshments and transportation will be available along the way. If you have more interest in our group and/or the “Walk for Peace”, please feel free to send an email to email@example.com.
Rev. Dr. Joan C. Martin