My interfaith work with Lynnewood started when I retired in 2012. I had always had to work very hard to be both a major source of income and a mom, so I never had time to learn about the community of Pleasanton. When Pastor Heather came to Lynnewood, one of her many goals was to create more interfaith experiences for the congregation, and I thought that there was no better way for me to learn about the people in my community than to help.
I discovered an existing organization working to promote interfaith experiences that provided all sorts of the types of activities I was looking for. Interfaith Interconnect is a group that formed after 9/11 to promote the gift of cultural diversity and faith which has grown to be a mainstay in the Tri-Valley area. I decided to join their leadership to have Lynnewood support some of their events, and I also serve as a liason for the rest of the congregation to keep them informed of everything Interfaith Interconnect is doing.
Working with Interfaith Interconnect has really touched my heart, and I think that is how it affects others who participate too. I feel like I have always gotten so much more than I give from working with them. It has provided a rich experience of knowing and appreciating people in my community who come from totally different experiences but ultimately, are not so different. I’ve found that we have more in common than we have different, even in our faith.
I remember one very popular event where we re-enacted the weddings of three different faith groups. I was working in the kitchen at with an LDS (Latter-Day Saints) woman and I really formed a bond with her. I could see that she cared so much for everyone, and everyone cared so much for her. It was deep relationship with someone I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.
I am proud that Lynnewood is a congregation that embraces different viewpoints and recognizes the importance of multiple faith experiences. I remember when we created our mission statement of “dare to question, love, and serve.” That started two pastors ago and it’s not going away. It seems to be pretty well rooted in Lynnewood and people are really bringing it to life. We dare to question, and the love follows.