PHOENIX, Arizona — On Sunday, September 11, 2011, twenty-five Muslims and Christians joined together to build peace by serving a meal to 160 homeless residents of Watkins Emergency Shelter in Phoenix. Abrahamic Alliance International united members of Trinity Mennonite Church, American Muslim Women's Association, Islamic Community Center Tempe Mosque, and Al Kawthar Community. Islamic Community Center Tempe hosted volunteer orientation and meal preparation led by Imam Basir Ali, Pastor Hal Shrader, Gul Siddiqi and Aliya Ghani. After a tour of the mosque, volunteers were paired into Muslim-Christian buddy groups and got to know each other with fun discussion questions about life, culture, and faith. Buddy groups then worked alongside each other to make green salad, fruit salad, potato salad and an artistic berry dessert resembling the stars and stripes of the US flag, symbolizing volunteers' united prayer for God to bless America. Halal chicken was prepared by King Tut Catering in Tempe. Volunteers then brought the food to Watkins Emergency Shelter. After serving all residents, volunteers sat together to enjoy a meal and ongoing conversation. Imam Basir Ali and Pastor Hal Shrader closed the service with prayers of thanksgiving for the new friendships made and for the bridges of peace and understanding built between our communities. A blessing was then prayed over all shelter residents and volunteers, petitioning God to help us continue serving him by loving our neighbors together. Amen.
Photos courtesy of Tanmi Kabir and Jesse Bontrager.