Oak Lawn churches have been working with members of The Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview to provide a unique opportunity for interfaith cooperation and service to others. The goal is to provide three meals this summer for those who are hungry or lonely or who simply want to come together to eat.
On July 15, August 26 and September 23, interfaith teams of volunteers that include Christians, Muslims and others will prepare and serve free meals for up to 100 guests at the Menard Center in Oak Lawn.
I’ve been part of a team of Oak Lawn clergy and members of the Bridgeview mosque who have met almost monthly since last summer. We initially came together to plan an interfaith commemoration of 9/11 which was held last September at Oak Lawn Community High School.
The commemoration brought together equal numbers of Christians and Muslims plus others in the community and fostered better relations as we shared our stories and then shared refreshments together afterwards. It built bridges. It was good!
The group that planned that occasion continued to meet and sought other ways to work together for the common good. We decided that if we could get people to work together on a common project of serving others then volunteers would get to know and understand each other better in the process. Hence, “One Community: One Meal Prepared Together, Shared Together” was born! If you’ve ever helped in your church kitchen or with a community clean up day or a PTA project, you know that working alongside others is a wonderful way to get to know each other.
The interfaith food team that is going to set up and cook and serve and clean up for the first meal has met several times and is pumped about this opportunity to work together to serve others. They are not sure whether to be afraid that no one will come or that they will need to turn many away at the door. Hopefully all will come away with some new friends and happy memories.
If you want to help with future meals, just let me know!