Prayer is a longing of the soul," Mohandas K. Gandhi once said. At Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, prayers have multiplied as worldwide terrorism has increased. So has the longing — to listen, educate and connect with people of other faiths in the congregation's diverse neighborhood.
"We are praying for peace in the Middle East and for our immigrant communities," says Pastor Khader El-Yateem. "We continue to pray for safety. And we also pray for the people who still carry a lot of hate in their hearts since Sept. 11."
A $30,000 grant from Lutheran Disaster Response-New York enables Salam to provide mental-health services. "Our people have a lot of bad history," El-Yateem says. "They're from countries where there are wars, tensions, occupations — and they internalize [their emotions]. Now they have an opportunity to speak, vent frustrations, and hopefully build trust and strength."
In an interfaith effort, Salam participated in a summer prayer service with Muslims, Jews and other Christians at neighboring Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers