Diverse faiths gather to form Madison Interfaith Council

MADISON – Motivated by their common goal, a group of Madison residents met on Sept. 24 and put aside any differences to work together for their unified intention.

The group counselled together to create a charter for the new Madison Interfaith Council. The assembled group were pastor representatives

A representative from a Catholic church, Seventh-day Adventist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Lutheran church, non-denominational faith and the Baha’i faith sat together around a table to discuss the parameters for the new council.

“This group discussed the benefits of gathering, learning more about each other and the potential to tear down walls,” Charity Stratton said. Stratton is Communication Director and JustServe Specialist for the Madison Alabama Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Individuals who attended the charter meeting were Barlow Blake, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Diana Bottin, Messiah Lutheran Church; Eugene Folks Jr., Grace Covenant Worship and Outreach Center; Ruhi Hiebert, Baha’i Faith; Kenric Smith, Most Merciful Jesus Catholic Church; Charity Stratton, Executive Secretary; and Ronald J. Wright, Oakwood Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“A palpable spirit of unity was present as the group openly discussed the benefits of working together for the good of the community,” Stratton said.

One general definition of the interfaith council is a collaborative body of clergy and pastor representatives who meet regularly to identify, discuss and provide compassionate, humanitarian service to people in Madison, regardless of religion, nationality, race or creed.

“These representatives (for Madison Interfaith Council) plan to use their unique perspectives to identify and discuss the needs of not only the people that they serve in their church, but the community. The goal of this group of faith representatives is to collaborate to find ways to provide compassionate, humanitarian service to Madison County and the surrounding areas,” Stratton said.

“The quality of the pastors and clergy in our community is unparalleled,” Stratton said. She acts as Executive Secretary for Madison Interfaith Council. “These are good people who dedicate their lives to serving others, and they exude goodness.”

“I am humbled by the willingness of these good people to sacrifice their time to participate in this council. Our hope for Madison Interfaith Council is that we can unify our efforts to magnify the good that can be done in our community,” Stratton said.

To organize the September meeting, individuals mailed invitations to 85 churches in the City of Madison. Council participants will continue to mail invitations as the group grows.

Madison Interfaith Council will meet again on Oct. 22 at 9:30 a.m. at Madison Public Library, Auditorium 2. All pastors and clergy are welcome. For more information, email charitystratton@bellsouth.net.

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