N Street Village was delighted to co-host an Interfaith Prayer Breakfast with Luther Place Memorial Church on Tuesday, February 21st. Guest speakers included Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners, Linda Kaufman of Community Solutions, Rev. Ronald Braxton of Metropolitan Ame Church, Rabbi Susan Shankman of Washington Hebrew Congregation, and Rev. Dean Snyder of Foundry United Methodist Church. Gary Maring, a Village Board member and one of the organizers of the event shares his perspective on the day.
Today at N Street Village, people of faith from Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic traditions came together in prayer, reflection, and celebration of our nearly 40 years of interfaith collaboration to serve homeless women of the D.C. area. While too many in the faith communities fight over whose ‘values’ are more pure, we have demonstrated the power of faiths coming together to achieve justice in our communities. It was fitting that we had Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners as our keynote speaker; it was Sojourners who issued the call in the cold winter of 1976 for congregations to open their doors to the homeless. Luther Place Memorial Church’s response to that call was the beginning of the N Street Village programs for homeless women. Jewish and Christian congregations responded to the Biblical call for hospitality to the stranger in their support to N Street Village. In recognition of this response, key passages from both the Hebrew and Christian texts were inscribed on the entrance to N Street Street:
- Matthew 25:35 For when I was hungry you gave me food, when thirsty you gave me drink, when I was a stranger you took me in;
- Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to the stranger; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares;
- Leviticus 19:34 The stranger who sojourns in your land shall be treated as the native among you.
So, we celebrate today what we have accomplished together as communities of faith collaborating to promote social justice through ministries such as N Street Village. We come together today to renew our commitment to continue to respond in faith and pursue compassion and justice in our community and in our world. We affirmed keynote speaker, Lisa Sharon Harper’s suggestion that we make our commitment on three levels as follows:
- Individual: we will offer ourselves – our time, our talent and our treasure
- Communal: we will build community – seeking connection and communion with one another
- Systemic: we will stand with the poor and the oppressed in advocating for justice and peace in the political and economic environment
By Gary Maring – Gary is a member of Luther Place Church and one of the founders of N Street Village. He continues his commitment to N Street through membership on the Board of Directors and volunteer service. He also writes a blog on Faith, Social Justice, and Public Policy which can be accessed at: http://gary-maring.blogspot.com/