The Herald, Sharon, PA Published Saturday, November 2, 2002

Church women unite for peace,
share varied faiths

By Kristen Garrett
Herald Staff Writer

Women of various faiths united in Sharon Friday in the hopes of promoting peace in the world.

Local members of Church Women United, a national ecumenical interfaith organization, hosted a service for about 60 Christian, Jewish and Muslim women at Oakland Avenue United Methodist Church. The program, "Daughters of Abraham Called to Peace," was based on an international program for World Community Day.

"We need to learn about our different sisters of faith if we're going to get along in the complex world today," said Joan Bradley, president of Church Women United. The program is called Daughters of Abraham because he is a figure in the three faiths.

The program challenges women around the world to reconcile. "We need to reach out to one another, now more than ever," Mrs. Bradley said.

Margot Maynard, lay leader for Temple Beth Israel, Sharon, spoke about the Jewish faith. She explained that the role of women in Judaism has grown over the years and now promotes tolerance and greater understanding of women in other religions.

The congregation of Temple Beth Israel is very involved in the community, and the League of Jewish Women has helped found many organizations that are not Jewish-based, she said. She added that she's grateful that members of her temple have not only been tolerated but accepted in the Shenango Valley.

Debbie Mageed and Randa Abdel-Azeem, members of the Islamic Center of Greater Youngstown, spoke on behalf of the Muslim community. Ms. Mageed explained that the word Allah is Arabic for God, and people of her faith believe everyone is equal in the eyes of God.

She said they also believe peace is a result of obedience to God, and the religion helps them find inner peace.

Marcia Moyer, a member of First Presbyterian Church of Sharon, said she has learned that a person can live for 35 days without food, a week without water and six minutes without air, but she can't live one minute without faith.

Mrs. Moyer said she relied on her faith and the support of many friends of different faiths when tragedy struck her family. "Sisterhood is powerful ... Church is a place to teach compassion," she said.

Becky See, a former Shenango Valley resident who now lives in Crown Point, Ind., spoke to the women about her missionary work in Guatemala. Members of Church Women United collected aprons to send to the women of Guatemala.

The service also included prayer, readings and singing. The leaders of the service were Dorothy Bieber and Gwen Blackwell.

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