In an effort to express its faith commitment to love thy neighbor, the Wisconsin Council of Churches reached out to its Muslim neighbors with a message of solidarity, and respect for the holy season of Ramadan.
Ramadan began at sunset on Tuesday, May 15 and lasts until sunset on June 14. Members of the organization are committed to be compassionate neighbors, bearing witness to the love and justice of Christ when those of other faith traditions experience prejudice.
For the last two years the Minnesota Council of Churches ran a yard sign campaign during Ramadan, to show support for their Muslim neighbors. This year they decided to invite Councils around the country to join their effort.
Reverend Kerri Parker, Executive Director for the Wisconsin Council of Churches (WCC), did not have to think twice, “loving our interfaith neighbors is loving our neighbor, and that is part of our mission.” With limited time to advertise, this year the group decided to start small. They printed 100 signs and invited churches across the state to display them.
The signs read, “To Our Muslim Neighbors, Blessed Ramadan.”
Although most of the signs are being displayed in Madison and Milwaukee, they can also be found in Eau Claire, Stevens Point, and Appleton. Co-sponsoring the campaign are the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice which is based in Madison.
Tom Heinen, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee immediately embraced the opportunity to co-sponsor the project. He brought the idea to the Conference’s executive committee and found them to be extremely supportive.
“The process of moving beyond tolerance to inclusiveness is the heart of what we are trying to do at the Interfaith Conference.” Heinen added, “By calling Muslims our friends and our neighbors, this not only normalizes good relationships, but this type of terminology makes us a community!”
The Wisconsin Council of Churches is a community of Christian denominations that covenant to engage in a common ministry focused on church unity, peacemaking, social and economic justice for Wisconsin’s most vulnerable residents, and revitalizing congregations. It encompasses 19 denominations with approximately 2,000 congregations and over one million church members.
Wisconsin Muslim Journal