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Acceptance key to ending fear

Acceptance key to ending fear

Today’s Portland Press Herald features a column focusing on Christian hospitality and last week’s Islamic prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral:

As children of God, whether representing the Episcopal Church in Maine, all 60 congregations across the state, or the few thousand Muslims who call Maine home, we believe that the urgent task is to stand together to cast aside fear – even though we, too, may feel vulnerable – and to work together to help our neighbors find solutions to problems they face.

Ultimately, the fear that creeps around us can be defeated only by demonstrating love for your neighbor: Welcome the stranger, visit the sick, feed and shelter the hungry and the displaced.

Here in Maine, a better future can be ours when more of us, from different faith traditions and across class and political divisions, join hands and make friends. Acting as neighbors to one another creates the light necessary to battle such darkness.

For the full story, please visit the Portland Press Herald here.


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Chaz Brooks

Do you have anything interesting or relevant to offer this discussion, JC?


…and round and round it goes. Chaz Brooks pointed a finger at Weston Matthews/Portland Press. I reacted (not directly to anyone in particular’s “emotional state”, but whatever. There was a correllation, inarguably). So then Chris Harwood and David O’Rourke point at me.

In all of these situations of finger-pointing, I think the “remember, three fingers point back at you” rule applies.

Full-disclosure: I earn $115/month (and yes, I tithe to my parish). I *will* donate that $5, but I think those w the “3 fingers” should ALSO give, according to their ability to pay. Happy Thanksgiving.

JC Fisher

David O'Rourke

I thinks JC owes $5 to Episcopal Relief and Development.

Chaz Brooks

Thank you for clearing up that misunderstanding, Heidi. In the original context these statements are actually quite admirable.


Let’s be clear here about what the column, co-authored by Maine’s Episcopal bishop and a Maine Muslim scholar, actually says. The intro to this Cafe posts says “Today’s Portland Press Herald features a column focusing on Christian hospitality and last week’s Islamic prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral.” No where in the post does it mention worship at the WNC, it talks about standing together as friends and acting as neighbors to cast aside the fear of the “other” that is evident in Maine and across the country. The column calls for many different kinds of people to stand together. The use of the photo from the WNC prayer service was an editorial choice by the newspaper. That’s how headlines and photos work: editors choose them.

Portland, Maine, surprisingly to many I suspect, is home to several thousand Sudanese immigrants and many hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers from central Africa, Iraq, and soon Syria. Lewiston, Maine, is home to a very significant Somali population for a small city.

On Friday night Richard Lobor a young Sudanese man was murdered in Portland. He and his family are members of Trinity Episcopal Church and All Saints, an African congregation that meets at Trinity. Richard and his younger siblings are well known in diocesan youth ministry. The heartbreak over his death is great.

What Mr. Jalali and Bishop Lane have done in this column is important for us. If religious leaders can stand up publicly and stand together to call people to acting as neighbors, then we’ve made a start.

Heidi Shott

Canon for Communications and Advocacy

Episcopal Diocese of Maine

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