This summer we welcome our neighbors to come and share about their lives, work, passions, spirituality and inspire us about how we can serve “our neighbors as ourselves,” following what Jesus called the second greatest commandment (Leviticus 19:17-18, Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 10:25-28). See speakers list below.
In late March, our congregation hosted an Iftar dinner for our Muslim friends and neighbors. Iftar is the nightly meal for breaking the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan. It was a joyous, convivial evening. Over 200 people showed up, including members of 12 different Brookline faith communities, our state rep, local police and dozens of our Muslim neighbors. We enjoyed a presentation on the meaning of Ramadan, a fashion show of children and youth wearing celebratory outfits from various Muslim cultures around the world, and an elucidating panel discussion and Q&A on the meaning of Islam, from five different perspectives.
AND there was great Pakistani food…toned down in spiciness for general consumption.
Behind this fantastic celebration were 18 families, known as Brookline Muslim Friends. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know two of their leaders, Faiza Khan and Raana Mumtaz, since they held their first community Iftar dinner at First Parish-Unitarian Universalist six years ago.
Since then, Raana and Faiza have become regular participants with the Brookline Interfaith Clergy, helping expand our religious diversity and offering a very helpful window into the Muslim American experience. Others in our congregation have gotten to know these remarkable women through the local chapter of Daughters of Abraham, a discussion group of Jewish, Muslim and Christian women. In all of this, they have been unfailingly gracious, generous, kind, open and honest — true gifts of friendship.
This Sunday, I am excited to share this beautiful friendship with more of you, as Faiza and Raana come to share more about their experience of neighborliness with all of us. I encourage you to come to give them a warm, United Parish welcome and hopefully learn more about how to deepen this friendship.
Summer Worship Series: Who is Our Neighbor?
August 13 — Raana Mumtaz and Faiza Khan, Brookline Muslim Friends
August 20 — Matthew Kossack, Executive Director, Artbarn Community Theater
August 27 — Aba Taylor, Executive Director, Brookline Community Foundation
September 3 — Arlene Hill, Brookline Housing resident
July 2 — Tommy Vitolo, Massachusetts State Representative, 15th Norfolk
July 9 — Raul Fernandez, former Brookline Selectman
July 16 — Rachel Silverman and Erin Venkatesh, Thrifty Threads
July 23 — United Parish Mental Health Group
July 30 — Reverend Carrington Moore, Executive Director, common cathedral
August 6 — Reverend Erik Hoeke, visiting pastor
Image credit: United Parish in Brookline and Brookline Muslim Friends Iftar, March 25, 2023