Interfaith Center Receives Award
By The Rev. Mary Vano | December 1, 2016
On November 17th, the Interfaith Center of St. Margaret’s was awarded the 2016 Mimi Dortch Award for Unity and Relationships by Interfaith Arkansas.
It was Interfaith Arkansas’ Annual Assembly, and we gathered at the Islamic Center of Little Rock for a day focused on the topic of Religious Liberty. Imam Mahmoud Al-denawy began by talking about religious liberty from the Islamic perspective. Islam teaches that no Muslim may interfere with the religious beliefs of another. It is fruitless to force someone to believe in a creed, because true faith requires a change of heart that cannot be imposed.
We also heard Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Christ speak on the separation principle that requires government to be neutral toward religion; and from Charles Watson of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, who reminded us that the separation of church and state makes both the church and the state stronger.
After panel discussions and lunch, the Interfaith Center of the Institute for Theological Studies at St. Margaret’s, was recognized for its work in promoting interfaith dialogue and for the pioneering “Friendship Camp” for children offered at St. Margaret’s this summer.
Others recognized that day included All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Bentonville for their efforts to create a Tri-Faith Worship Space, Carl Rose of the Interfaith Fellowship of Fort Smith, Ms. Anna Cox for her Mission and Service, and the Arkansas Church Women United.
We celebrated in good company for this important work.