Rhode Island State Council of Churches Distributes Signs with Holiday Message to RI Muslim Community

ramadan signMay 24, 2016, Providence, RI – The Rhode Island State Council of Churches (RISCC) invites all faith communities to post free lawn signs that say “To our Muslim Neighbors: BLESSED RAMADAN.”  Ramadan is the month of the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset.  In 2016, it’s from June 6 to July 5.  This annual observance is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is performed to learn compassion, self-restraint, and generosity.

“From the current political atmosphere to neighborhood hate crimes, we see negativity directed against Muslims. But this is not who we are in Rhode Island.  When we are our best selves, we are a welcoming, caring, respectful community,” said Barbara Scott, the Council’s President. “Signs on our front lawns is one positive way to demonstrate a caring spirit towards Muslim Rhode Islanders…”

To get a free sign delivered to your address in Rhode Island, please email Paul Alexander at RISCCVolunteer@gmail.com with your contact information. The plastic signs are white with black type measuring 18 x 24 inches, similar to lawn signs used in political campaigns.

According to local Muslim scholars, one website is recommended to learn more about Islam: www.islamreligion.com.  (Vocabulary nuance: Muslims are the people who practice Islam.)

The rest of the press release can be read HERE

In Response to Vandalism Outside Ohawe Sholam Synagogue (Pawtucket, May 22, 2016)

Statement from Rhode Island State Council of Churches President Barbara Scott:

temple oluhwe“The Rhode Island State Council of Churches stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of Ohawe Shalom in this time of sorrow and hurt. The vandalism perpetrated upon this loving community of faith serves to strengthen our determination that civil and holy justice prevails in the face of hatred. We join with all Rhode Island faith communities in our prayers and our acts to see that the beloved community is lifted up here in Rhode Island and our world.”

RI Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty Conference – May 11, 2016

povertyWhat a tremendous conference put on by Emily Jones and the RI Coalition to Reduce Poverty (May 11, 2016 – Rhode Island College).  Clergy,  Advocates, Politicians and Concerned Faith Leaders from around the state gathered to discuss poverty issues in Rhode Island.  Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism  was the keynote speaker. His reflections were centered on the theme of Tikkun Olam/Repairing RI.

You can view videos of the Keynote Speech and other contributors to the conference below.  You can also view a slide show movie of the event.

Video of Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Keynote Speaker, HERE.

Video of Rev. Nikita McCalister and her opening prayer HERE.

Video of Rev. Dr. Donald Anderson (Executive Minister of RISCC) HERE

Video of Rabbi Alan Flam HERE

Video slide show of conference attendees HERE

Station Fire Memorial – May Faith Community Fundraiser – Donation Information

station night clubMay 2016 is All-Faith Community Support Month. Over 500 congregations and communities of Rhode Island are asked to raise funds using their own traditions, such as second collections, special events, suppers, individual/family giving or budget donations, for example.  You can view how WJAR TV 10 reported the kick-off HERE.

“This is a historic effort where all faith communities can help bring healing, peace and solace,” said Rev. Dr. Anderson, Executive Minister for the Rhode Island State Council of Churches.

Faith communities should send ONE check, payable to “SFMF”. Checks should clearly indicate the name of the Faith Community sending the check. Checks can be sent to either:

Rhode Island State Council of Churches, # 101, 100 Niantic Ave., Providence, RI  02907

Station Fire Memorial Foundation, 78 Wilbur Ave., Cranston, RI  02920

Still need to get the information out to your Faith Community?  This video tells the whole story.

MAY is Station Club Fire Memorial Fundraising Month!

station night clubFaith communities of Rhode Island have been involved from the first hour as they worked together to support victims’ and survivors’ families. “Rhode Island communities of faith have had a profound impact on the healing process, but we recognize there is still great pain and healing ahead of us,”said Rev. Dr. Donald Anderson, Executive Minister of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches. “We welcome the opportunity to work together to help build this much-needed Memorial.”
View a NEW short video interview with First Responder Clergy and survivors of the fire HERE.
May 2016 is All-Faith Community Support Month. Over 500 congregations and communities of Rhode Island will be asked to raise funds using their own traditions, such as second collections, special events, suppers, individual/family giving or budget donations, for example. “This is a historic effort where all faith communities can help bring healing, peace and solace,” said Rev. Dr. Anderson.
For further information about how YOUR Faith Community can contribute, please click HERE

PRESS RELEASE: RI Faith Communities Support Fundraising Efforts for the Station Fire Memorial Park (March 23, 2016)

Providence, RI — On the cold night of February 20, 2003, Rhode Island’s worst tragedy occurred.  One hundred people died in the Station Nightclub fire that has been described by many as Rhode Island’s 9/11.

A statewide fundraising effort is underway to open the Station Fire Memorial Park in fall 2016 on the site of the tragedy.  So far, over $1,650,000 has been raised of the $2 million goal to build the permanent Memorial Park.
Faith communities of Rhode Island have been involved from the first hour as they worked together to support victims’ and survivors’ families.  “Rhode Island communities of faith have had a profound impact on the healing process, but we recognize there is still great pain and healing ahead of us, “said Rev. Dr. Donald Anderson, Executive Minister of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches. “We welcome the opportunity to work together to help build this much-needed Memorial.”

May 2016 is All-Faith Community Support Month.  Over 500 congregations and communities of Rhode Island will be asked to raise funds using their own traditions, such as second collections, special events, suppers, individual/family giving or budget donations, for example. “This is a historic effort where all faith communities can help bring healing, peace and solace,” said Rev. Dr. Anderson.  Read the rest of the Press Release HERE.

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Protect God’s Creation: New England Ocean Treasures

On Saturday, March 12 from 1:30-3:30pm, faith community members in the Providence, Rhode Island area will gather at the Save the Bay Center to learn about natural wonders 100 miles off our coast. There is new movement to permanently protect New England’s ocean treasures for future generations, and the movement needs the support of faith-filled people who will heed the moral call to care for God’s creation. Come learn more, and after the teach-in, we will be led by Fr. Andrew George of the Greek Orthodox Church in a traditional Blessing of the Waters ceremony. We will also have time to share food and fellowship. Join us! Info and Registration HEREblessing of the waters

Press Release: RI Faith Leaders Support Muslim Community

Press Release, December 15, 2015

RI Faith Leaders Unite in Support of Muslim Community;

Imam Farid Ansara also announces the first in a series of
open-house gatherings at local mosques 
this Saturday, December 19 at
The Islamic Center of Rhode Island,  39 Haskins St, Providence.

Providence — The Rhode Island Community for Muslim Advancement today held a press conference as a forum for leaders of the state’s faith communities to speak out and show support for the local Muslim community. Among the speakers were:

Bishop Nicholas Knisely – Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island
Bishop James Hazelwood – New England Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Rev. Dr. Thomas Wiles – American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island
The Rev. Andrew Mook – Sanctuary Church
The Rev. Dr. Don Anderson – The Rhode Island State Council of Churches
Rabbi Sarah Mack – Rhode Island Board of Rabbis
Toby Ayers – Rhode Island for Community and Justice
Jim Vincent – NAACP

Imam Farid Ansari, of the Islamic Center served as moderator and invited all Rhode Islanders to visit a mosque in the coming weeks. “Come see who we are and what we’re about,” he said. The first open house will be held this Saturday, December 19, from 1 to 3 pm, at the Islamic Center of Rhode Island, 39 Haskins St, Providence. The public is warmly invited.

According to Imam Ansari, “We join all faith communities and people of conscience in condemning the heinous actions, such as in Paris and San Bernadino. Openly and unambiguously, we declare that these acts do not represent Islamic faith and practices. Through all this, in recent weeks the American-Muslim community has seen unprecedented support from public officials, law enforcement, faith communities and fellow citizens, and we are indeed grateful.”

“With Donald Trumps’ call to block Muslims from entering the United States, he becomes the very definition of demagogue,” said Rev. Dr. Donald Anderson, Executive Minister of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches, “who preys upon and takes advantage of peoples’ fear and ignorance for his own political aims. We need leaders who will stand up for the rights of citizens without tarnishing the Muslim community. This is an issue of morality and those who would ostracize and demonize an entire community are just plain wrong,” he said.

For more information, please call Imam Farid Ansari at (401) 274-3986
or Rev. Dr. Don Anderson at the Rhode Island State Council of Churches (401) 461-5558. ###