Walla Walla Interfaith Peace Project seeks sense of unity, community

Several local religious leaders have joined forces with area Muslims to promote peace.

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WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla Interfaith Peace Project seeks to identify and emphasize common ethical values from the three Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Islam and Judaism, said retired Whitman College Professor Patrick Henry, spokesman, in an e-mailed statement.

The project's purpose is to increase understanding and establish a sense of unity and community among people of different faiths, ultimately promoting peace, the statement said.

To that end, the group plans to meet regularly and to hold a variety of activities together. The Yom Kippur Interfaith Forgiveness Forum hosted Sept. 29 by Congregation Beth Israel was a significant first step.

Leaders hope people of all faiths in the Walla Walla area will join in the activities and plans of the Interfaith Peace Project, and are asking all places of worship to consider sponsoring or cosponsoring events, which would include:

Establishing joint worship services, in which two or more churches, mosques or synagogues will plan interfaith services and invite their congregations.

Having an interfaith day of community service, in which people from different faiths would collaborate in socially beneficial projects, such as collecting food, working for Habitat for Humanity, preparing meals at the Mission.

Holding an interfaith community potluck, which several community places of worship would sponsor. Such an interfaith potluck dinner recently took place at the Tri-Cities Islamic Center.

Planning a Children of Abraham Annual Dinner, a meal together that respects the dietary restrictions of all attendees. It would be sponsored by Christian, Jewish and Islamic places of worship.

Observing a different religions week, in which individuals will be encouraged to visit different places of worship and houses of worship will open their doors to people of other faiths.

Local and regional leaders involved are: Henry; The Rev. Fr. Tim Hays, Assumption Catholic Church; Brother Yehia Ibrahim, Tri-Cities Islamic Center; Noah Leavitt, president, Congregation Beth Israel; the Rev. Joel Ley, pastor, Christ Lutheran Church; Richard Middleton-Kaplan, Congregation Beth Israel; the Rev. Steven Woolley, retired Episcopal priest, and Brother Hassan Ziada, Tri-Cities Islamic Center.

Catherine Hicks can be reached at catherinehicks@wwub.com or 509-526-8312.

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