Mennonites and Sikhs offer prayers together

In this month’s issue of the MB Herald (September 2011), an article called Interfaith relationships take root on greenway tells how two faith groups have joined together in a unique partnership by planting a garden. Pastor Sara Jane Schmidt of River East MB Church (REMB), Winnipeg, has partnered with a member of a local Sikh temple to “lead the two worshipping communities” in this common cause while furthering understanding between both groups:

On Aug. 2, some 120 people from the MB and Sikh congregations – and from the wider community and secular media – attended the sod-breaking ceremony and prayers offered by leaders of both churches. Afterward, members of the long-established Mennonite church interacted with those from the newer-immigrant Sikh gurdwara over Indian samosas and Mennonite platz in the basement of REMB, concluding the first official meeting of the two groups.

“We participate with the Sikhs boldly because of our identity as Christ-followers,” says Isaak, describing the growing relationship between the communities as bridge-building – effective when well-anchored on each side. “When we continue to name Jesus as the one we follow, while working together for good with others who believe differently, we live out the gospel in powerful ways.”

Hopefully their future meetings will involve sharing the gospel in spite of the “prayers offered by both churches” (Sikhs pray to a different god) followed a suggestion by the Mennonites to share food and have a seminar on Sikh religion and history during interfaith Sunday School classes.

“Bridges between faith communities are built as we speak clearly and with conviction about what we believe, and as we listen with respect to what the other believes,” Isaak says. Schmidt intends to keep working on this “bridge,” but, “maybe the ball for the next initiative is in their court.”
-‘Interfaith relationships take root on greenway’ – MB Herald

The trouble with finding common ground in order to understand one another through interfaith dialogue is that the Bible no where gives the message that we as Christians are to unequally yoke ourselves with other religions in order to seek common ground with false religions. Learning to respect false beliefs leads to lack of conviction and spiritual compromise – we will not be a strong influence if we merge rather than share the gospel truth with them. While we respect the person, we must not ‘respect’ their false religion that will lead them to hell. Part of true respect and love for others is telling them the truth, not taking the interfaith road to compromise.

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