Interfaith Service Day: Sunday August 7, 2022

Thank you to all of the Interfaith Service Day partners and volunteers who made this wonderful day possible!
Check back for more reflections and photo galleries of the day to be shared here in short order. 

Remember always,
“We do not need to agree on everything to work together for justice and peace.”

Serve Pray Heal Billboard
Our Seven Service Projects 
Hebrew Free Loan and Burial Association
At the Jewish Cemetery, a team of a dozen volunteers raised 32 stone markers and cleaned another 10. Among the deceased they reflect as they bring hope and life.  Thank you, Cemetery Restoration Crew! Thank you Paul Terman of the Hebrew Burial and Free Loan Association and thank you Rabbi Joshua!

Save the Sound
The “beach” bus was standing room only. A park along the harbor was cleaned of debris that pollutes the sound. This gallant group of forty removes 200 pounds of trash, a hub cap, a crumbling picnic table, over 2,000 bottle caps, and stopped over 2,000 cigarette butts from leaching harmful chemicals into our waterways.  Three cheers for the forty volunteers on the Save The Sound team, led by Kristen Schick. Great Job!

Community Soup Kitchen
A jolly interfaith crew of twelve or more laughed and chatted away in the Christ Church dining room. It is hot, the mood happy and determined, fully engaged, lighthearted, spreading mustard on bread with turkey, cheese and making PB&Js.  Great job Sandwich Team, and thank you Father Steven Holton and Christ Church for hosting.

Habitat for Humanity
At the Habitat for Humanity Warehouse,  our service team worked hard in the heat with brutal scrappy yard work and a helmet cleaning team in the basement. They held themselves well, with good spirits despite the humidity. So cheers loudly for this noble crew and thank you Habitat for Humanity for hosting and helping us provide housing for those in need.

Christian Community Action Agency
Twenty of our team boarded a bus to visit the New H.O.P.E. (Higher Opportunities, Purpose, and Expectations) transitional housing program. After a tour, many of our volunteers remained  to paint and clean and help them ready the building. Those returning to the Green were excited and hopeful. Blessings and thank you Charmain Yun for leading the tour and guiding the work flow.
The billboard mural was hand painted by clusters of friends and strangers: painting a wheelchair, a person praying, someone leaping, the colors and the message "Serve, Pray, Heal" jumping off the canvas. 

Swords to Plowshares Northeast

In the heat of the day on the Green, a line forms at the anvil where volunteers test their strength at the hammer. They pound glowing red steel, turning guns into garden tools, they pound. The hammer strikes and rings over the Green, “ping, ping, ping....” turning war into peace.

Project teams walked or boarded buses back to the Green to enjoy a pizza and salad lunch, hear reports from our volunteer team members, listen to interfaith reflections, and enjoy a live music performance.

“Gather around the pizza truck,” I called, (click on the photo  to see!) and shouted and sang until those not fasting feasted long and hard, each marking this day in their own way by their traditions; for this is Tisha B'Av and for some a day of fasting.

Half of you, bless you all, tired from the hot work, returned home after lunch. Half of you stayed for reflections from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Baha’i traditions. Each separate voice connected to the whole. Thank you Rabbi Joshua Pernick from the Jewish Federation, Reverend Luke DeVolder from Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green, Imam Bilal Ansari, and Rachael Gonzales Ryan and your team.

A wind, wild and hot, grew and blew down the music stands, but the syncopations of the Afro-Semitic Experience kept on keeping on, bass plucking, saxophone humming, trumpet popping, the groove lifting our hearts as we painted the last corners of the billboard grateful for this time of joy as we served, prayed, and healed each other.

Service Day Partners

Woodmont UCC Milford, Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel New Haven, Muslim Coalition of Connecticut,
Christ Church New Haven, Congregation Mishkan Israel Hamden, First Presbyterian Church of New Haven,
St. Peter's Episcopal Church Milford, First United Church of Christ Milford, OASIS Multi Church Youth Ministry,
Trinity Episcopal Church New Haven, Regional Baha’i Council of the Northeastern States, The Episcopal Church at Yale,
St Matthew's Episcopal Church Wilton,  Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church New Haven,
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Madison, The Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, St. Mark's Episcopal Church New Canaan

Interfaith Service Day comes in partnership with Jerusalem Peacebuilders and is made possible by generous donations from The Episcopal Church in Connecticut, Barrett Outdoor Communications Inc. and IWagePeace.Org

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