It is with great sadness that the Abraham Festival mourns the loss of Sister Ruth Hennessey of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Sr. Ruth approved our applications for refugee sponsorship under the Settlement Agreement Holder plan of the Catholic Diocese of Peterborough; thus began an extraordinary new task for Jews, Muslims and Christians in our group. Sponsoring two refugee families helped us see first-hand the compassion, generosity and confidence in each of our Faith traditions. Sr. Ruth trained us in the complexities facing newcomers to Canada: housing, health care, education and learning English. Always an avid supporter of the Abraham Festival, she believed it made perfect sense that we would work together.
The AF committee were honoured to present the AF Hospitality Award to Sr. Ruth and Casa Maria Refugee Homes a couple of years ago. This award is presented annually to an individual or an organization that demonstrates the hospitality Abraham showed when he kept his tent open on all four sides to strangers travelling through the desert. Bravo, Sister Ruth!
by Dr. Dan Houpt
“I wrote this song after the massacre of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh October 27 2018. I re-recorded it to commemorate the one year anniversary.”
Written and performed by Dr. Dan Houpt. Vocals by Kate Suhr.
The Abraham Festival has been honored with a Certificate of Appreciation, issued by the Minister of Citizenship, Refugees & Immigration, The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, PC, M.P. in recognition of our sponsorship of two Syrian refugee families and was presented by Dr. Bashar of the Syrian Club of Peterborough.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Peterborough, Ontario 18th March 2019
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ (Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un) is a part of a verse from the Holy Qur’an which translates to “We belong to God and to God we shall return.”
Muslims all over the world have been uttering these words since Friday, devastated by the cold-blooded massacre of 50 Muslims (including children) & the injuring of 50 more at jummah prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Abraham Festival committee of Peterborough, consisting of Jews, Christians & Muslims, extends their sincere condolences to the families of the victims; we pray that God will ease their suffering, and that He will receive the souls of the victims into heaven.
An attack on one faith group is an attack on all people of faith; and by extension, on all humanity. Jewish tradition teaches us that every person is created in the Divine image, and that one who takes a single life destroys an entire world. In the Qur’an, God says that if someone takes a life, it is as though he kills all of mankind. And Jesus of Nazareth taught people to “Love your enemy”.
At times like this, it is more important than ever that we come together to promote education, understanding and acceptance. The Abraham Festival was established 16 years ago to bring together Jews, Christians & Muslims, to celebrate our heritage in our common ancestor Abraham, and to demystify ‘the other’. We invite the community to work with us to spread the love and acceptance that each of our faiths teach.
“For every act of hatred, there is a greater love and friendship that we are surrounded by in the community. It is this love and friendship that I look to, to counter the hate”: Dr. Shegufa Merchant, Abraham Festival committee member.
Our AF committee members are involved in many community activities!
Shown here are some members of the AF committee at last year’s gala, including Shaikh Habeeb Alli, the founder of the One Love Gala.
One of the members of the Abraham Festival committees was honoured at the gala for her work visiting Muslim inmates.
Join Us for the 15th Annual Abraham Festival
Saturday, April 21st, 2018 – 4 pm, at The Mount Community Centre
Everyone Welcome – Admission by Donation (Suggested $10)
the Three Faiths. Featuring the music of Anwar Khurshid & Demetrios Petsalakis
sandwiches/wraps, veggie tray, cheese & crackers, cake, cookies etc.
Rev. Anne Gowans-Blinn – Dr. Dan Houp – Shaikh Habeeb Alli
“MARK YOUR CALENDARS”
… don’t miss out on the friendship and the learning.
We all know how incredible the Abraham Festival is!
Many in our congregation have participated since the beginning;
and now 15 years; such a milestone.
“That We May Know One Another – Spiritual Awakening” sounds like a wonderful theme. Thank you everyone for giving Peterborough this important annual event!”
The annual Reframe Film Festival is one of the cultural highlights in Peterborough and the Abraham Festival is honoured to have been a sponsor over the last three years.
This year we not only sponsored a film – Things Arab Men Say – we also hosted a post-film panel and discussion, with one of the Abraham Festival founding members, Elizabeth Rahman, as one of the panelists, and Shegufa Merchant of the AF committee was the facilitator.
Again, this film fit nicely into our mandate to educate ourselves and our community. Things Arab Men Say paints a picture of Arab men that is vastly different from what we’re accustomed to.
The film was followed by a discussion about the issues raised in the film, and included a Skype interview with director Nisreen Baker. The room was packed and the conversation was lively and sometimes pointed, but that’s how understanding is advanced! We hope to continue our relationship with Reframe and many other progressive groups and non-profits to build a more cohesive and happy Peterborough.
The Abraham Festival was one of several groups nominated for a Spotlight 150 award by the National Council of Canadian Muslims. We did not win, but it was an honour to be standing with such dedicated people at the dinner in Toronto on May 6, 2017 (four of our AF committee members attended).
Congratulations to all the incredible groups who were nominated for Spotlight 150 – the full awesome list is on our website at www.nccm.ca/votenow