Break some bread and create some good will.

The Flushing Interfaith Council (FIC) will host a Community Interfaith Dinner at St. George’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, May 25, at 7 p.m.

Attendance is free, but it’s organized in a potluck style, so attendees are asked to bring something to share. One of the organizers, John Choe, plans to bring kimbap, a sushi-like Korean dish made from cooked rice and other ingredients wrapped in seaweed.

Choe, an FIC board member who is also the executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, stressed that it’s an informal (dress comfortably) event with conversation as the main focus. “It’s more social,” he said, “an opportunity for people to get to know each other.”

Ramadan — the Islamic month of reflection, contemplation and daytime fasting — runs from May 6 to June 4 this year, so this event will include a traditional breaking of the fast in solidarity with the Muslim attendees. There will also be time to share spiritual reflections and discuss each other’s beliefs.

FIC organized its first ever Community Interfaith Dinner last May. A few dozen people attended, including an imam. This year’s meal is expected to attract even more attendees, partly because it has a personal aspect. Rev. Wilfredo Benitez, who has been St. George’s rector since 2012, will become the Provisional Priest in Charge at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Stamford, Connecticut, in June. Thus, this will be the final community event of his tenure in Flushing.

It’s also part of the United States of Love Over Hate campaign, a nationwide, multi-agency effort to connect non-Muslims to Ramadan Iftars (evening meals) to facilitate relationship building.

St. George’s Episcopal Church is located off Main Street at 135-32 38th Ave.

Active since 2013, FIC is a coalition of nonprofit entities dedicated to increasing tolerance and honoring the Flushing Remonstrance, a 1657 document that called for religious freedom in NYC, which was then a Dutch colony known as “New Amsterdam.” Among other activities, the group spearheads the annual Unity Walk, which wanders through Flushing, stopping at faith centers. FIC members include the Bahá’í Faith Community in Queens, Eckankar Community of Queens, Flushing Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Free Synagogue of Flushing, Hindu Temple Society of North America, Morningside Quaker Meeting, Muslim Center of New York, Muslim Progressive Traditionalist Alliance, Pax Christi Metro New York, St. George’s Episcopal Church, the Sikh Center of New York, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Queens.

Image: FIC


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