& Arabs share a meal at St. Stephen's, Reno
A message of peace and tolerance was spread by members of the Sierra
Foundation, who joined St. Stephen's on Wednesday, February 16 as guests
at the first Lenten Supper of 2005. The Sierra Foundation, an organization
dedicated to the practice of Inter-faith Dialogue, presented a power-point
slide show to a receptive gathering of St. Stephen's members.
The presentation was given by Ferhat Ozturk and covered the initiation
of the Interfaith Dialog movement in Turkey and the current goals of the
organization. Interfaith Dialog is a practice that seeks to identify commonalities
in world religions, especially the Abrahamic faiths, in order to lessen
cultural and religious tensions in the world and, eventually, to strive
for world peace.
As Mr. Ozturk pointed out in his presentation, living and working together
in diversity is a challenge. Religious beliefs and differences in cultures
can unleash deep emotions, and these misunderstanding can sometimes take
destructive forms. In order to build a better future, the Sierra Foundation
will work hand in hand with other communities and groups that recognize
the same mission in order to work for a better and more peaceful future.
In addition to Mr. Ozturk and his wife, Hafsa, Ismail Ozdemir, the president
of the organization, and his wife, Meral, joined about twenty St. Stephen*s
parishioners for the potluck dinner and presentation. The other members
of the Sierra Foundation who attended the event were Volkan Akbas, Mehmet
Eser, Fatih Yilmaz, Emre Aksoy, and Tekin Tuncer.
Mr. Tuncer brought a delicious Turkish desert, "Noah's Pudding,"
to share with St. Stephen's. Muslims prepare Noah's Pudding every year
in the month of Muharram, according to the Islamic calendar. In remembrance
of what Noah and his people went through, this pudding is made by mixing
dry beans and wheat together and is then shared with neighbors and friends.
The event was considered a great success, as the Sierra Foundation and
the Episcopal Church have common goals for spreading religious understanding
and tolerance. We plan to schedule future joint events, and the Sierra
Foundation will inform St. Stephen's of other Interfaith Dialog events
in the Reno-Sparks community.
Published in The Pilot of St.
Stephen's Church, Reno, Aoril 2005