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PNC churches show solidarity with Muslims

Banners and church signs have popped up at about 20 PNC churches so far since Ramadan began June 5.  Organizing ordering signs and sharing of ideas was facilitated through Facebook and the PNC’s Yahoo listserv.

Steve Clagett, chair of the Justice and Witness Ministries Committee for the PNC, helped coordinate efforts, suggesting where to order signs and offering several designs.  He helped order signs and delivered them to Admiral, All Pilgrims, Kirkland, Richmond Beach, United Churches of Renton, Broadview, Normandy Park, North Shore, Wayside and United Churches of Olympia.

Alki Congregational UCC displays banner. Its banner included blessings from Kol HaNeshamah synagogue that shares its building, said Diane Darling, Alki’s pastor.

Alki UCC’s banner included blessings from Kol HaNeshamah synagogue that shares its building, said Diane Darling, Alki’s pastor.

Veradale UCC bought a four-by-eight-foot banner that uses Arabic words and the word “peace” in 12 languages.

Bellingham, Eastgate, Tolt and Westminster are among those using their signboards.

Magnolia ordered from their regular banner provider.

Plymouth in Seattle, where Muslims have held Friday prayers for 15 years, put up a two-by-10-foot banner, said Janice Randall, communications director.

Mercer Island, Fauntleroy and Renton have joined in, too.

Veradale UCC's banner has peace in 12 languages.

The idea grew out of conversations Conference Minister Mike Denton had with other members of the conference, denominational leaders and leadership in the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

They proposed supporting Muslim neighbors during Ramadan from June 5 to July 5, particularly given that these are times of increased anti-Muslim rhetoric, Mike said.

“We came up with a simple plan we hope can begin to build bridges where bridges might not exist and get to know each other better,” he said.

Every day during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Muslims spend daylight hours fasting, abstaining from food, drink

Members of Broadview UCC put up banner.

and physical needs, as a way to purify the soul, refocus on God and practice self-discipline.

Churches were invited to participate in several ways.

1) They can hang a banner, change their church sign or add a sign to say: “We stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors” or “Love your (Muslim) neighbor as yourself.”

2) At sunset each fast day during Ramadan, there is a meal to break the fast called iftar, said Mike. Most of these happen in people’s homes but there are frequently iftars held at mosques. Community members are welcome at these gatherings and, so Mike suggested that at least

All Pilgrims displays banner in Seattle.

once during Ramadan, pastors and church members call in advance and ask to attend an iftar and bring greetings from their churches, the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ, and our General Minister and President, the Rev. John Dorhauer.

3) Churches can also offer an event to support the Muslim community during Ramadan, such as hosting an iftar or educational event such as a forum, or a film festival.

Through the PNC Yahoo listserv and Facebook, pastors and congregations began sharing their ideas and plans.

When Mike told John Dorhauer about the efforts to support Muslim neighbors during Ramadan, John expressed pride is seeing the expression of love for Muslim peoples.

“They speak deeply to me about how the love of God binds us all together,” he said.  “The public narrative about how Christians and Muslims relate to one another is inconsistent with our core beliefs about what the gospel calls us to. Many of our Muslim neighbors live in constant threat of retribution from

Eastgate Congregational UCC in Bellevue uses its reader board.

Christians who have been taught and told to live in fear of their Muslim neighbor.”

John said that UCC churches have a “duty to change that narrative. Love will reign.  We will do all we can to ensure that such love governs our speech and actions.

Mike started a Facebook group so people can share pictures and stories.

The group, “Honoring Sacred Time: An Interfaith Ramadan Campaign,” is at

For information, call 206-795-9475 or email

Copyright © June 2016 Pacific NW UCC News

Plymouth Congregational UCC in Seattle

Kirkland Congregational UCC includes banner beside a banner with its call.









Normandy Park UCC in Seattle


Fauntleroy UCC in Seattle







Northshore UCC in Woodinville


United Christian Church in Renton






United Churches of Olympia

Tolt Congregational UCC in Carnation

Richmond Beach UCC in Shoreline







University Congregational UCC banner

University Congregational UCC readerboard. It also has a banner, right. Carol Ingram noted that as it was being hung, two women who appeared to be Asian stopped and admired the banner, took a picture with one by it and thanked those hanging the sign.












Wayside UCC in Federal Way

Westminster Congregational UCC in Spokane uses its readerboard.








Admiral UCC in Seattle

UCC banner was taken to an Interfaith Economic Justice Coalition rally against islamophobia during a Seatac City Council retreat June 9.  Briana Frenchmore and Steve Clagett of the PNC’s Justice Witness Ministries Committee held two UCC banners silently at the back of the room.










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