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Michigan Mosque Gives a Home to a Homeless Church

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 04/20/16

From The Lansing State Journal:

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Lansing’s new digs are taking a little longer than planned. Rev. Kathryn Bert said many neighbors of the congregation she leads, which has called 855 Grove Street home since 1972, offered worship space while their new home at 5509 S. Pennsylvania is completed. Not wanting to disrupt another church’s regular schedule, the congregation chose the best offer, the one from the Islamic Society of Greater Lansing. The Islamic Center does not hold formal worship services on Sundays. And the Unitarians maintain a posture of openness toward other belief systems. On a given Sunday, “I might have people with Jewish beliefs, people with Christian beliefs, people who are Hindu, people who identify themselves as humanist or atheist, people who just call themselves theists, spiritual but not religious,” Bert said. “The point of coming together is we agree that diversity makes us all wiser, and so it’s the conversation that’s interesting. We have a covenant to be with one another as we explore our own spiritual journey, but we do not expect agreement.” While the two faiths didn’t worship together, mosque members hosted coffee hour for the visitors after the first Sunday service, showed them around and answered questions. “Imam Chaudhry was very welcoming,” Lemmer said, “and it was an honor to be the guests of the Islamic Society of Greater Lansing.” Members of the two congregations had interacted before, each visiting the other to learn about their respective traditions. That made offering to share space for a time an easier decision, said Sohail Chaudhry, imam of the Islamic Center. “I told (our board) it was a learning experience for their members,” Chaudhry said. “Our board received the request positively, and they were very happy to assist.” With Friday being the main worship day at the mosque, “we’re not using (the center) as much (on Sunday) ,” Chaudhry said. “It worked out well for us both.”

Read more. 

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