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The Value of Our Interfaith Relationships

Last November several church members met two weeks in a row with friends from Main Line Reform Temple, and their rabbi, David Strauss, to study scripture together. While one week we focused on the very difficult story of the sacrifice (or near sacrifice) of Isaac, our other week was spent in study of the Love Commandment that we find in both the Old and New Testaments:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength,
and love your neighbor as yourself.

 Our time was spent in reflecting on this essential teaching that we share as Judeo-Christians - to love God and to love one another. It doesn’t get more basic than that.

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We will gather again at BMPC on Mondays, March 13 and 20 for another round of study and conversations that will again push us to find the places in our faith where our traditions intersect and the places where we complement one another.

Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church’s longtime relationship with Main Line Reform Temple is one of the great treasures of our community. It is in weeks like this, when our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community have come under attack, that we should be especially grateful for these kinds of relationships and our shared command to love.

For more than 10 years, BMPC has also had a strong relationship with the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, and in this season when more and more of our Muslim neighbors are feeling less safe in our communities, I especially value the way the Center helps us to reach out and stand in solidarity with our larger community.

Next Tuesday (March 7), we will have the opportunity to celebrate and recognize all of our interfaith relationships and our place within the interfaith community as we host the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia’s annual event honoring and featuring interfaith leader Eboo Patel.

As many of you are already aware, Patel is the author of our One Book-One Church selection Acts of Faith. We have almost sold out of the 100 copies of Patel’s book in our Book Center. (Don’t worry, more books are on the way.) We look forward to gathering as a community to discuss the book on the morning of Sunday, April 2.

I hope you will join us to hear directly from Patel and his vision for how we work together as interfaith leaders in our communities in these days. When tragedies strike, we can easily feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to respond. I have found again and again that the best responses can be found not in dramatic gestures, but in nurtured relationships. The best of those relationships are watered and nurtured long before we find ourselves in moments of crisis. I look forward to finding more ways for everyone in our congregation to be a part of nurturing and growing those relationships.

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