For Immediate Release June 14, 2018
Contact: Taneeza Islam, SDVFP Executive Director
Sawyer Vanden Heuvel
Director of Communications
South Dakota Synod ELCA
Two ELCA Lutheran Congregations host first ifthar meal for Sioux Falls Muslim Community During Holy Month of Ramadan
June 14, 2018 Sioux Falls, SD: The digital sign in front of Augustana Lutheran Church/Pueblo de Dios read “Ramadan Mubarak to our Muslim neighbors” last night. Nearly fifty Lutherans and Muslims gathered at Augustana Lutheran Church and Pueblo de Dios at sunset June 13, 2018 to celebrate the breaking of a fast on the 29th evening of the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the holiest of months in the Islamic calendar, where 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide/ and about 3000 Muslims in Sioux Falls, SD, abstain from food and drink from dawn (4AM) to sunset (9PM) for an entire month. It is a month of spiritual renewal, charity, and community building. “This was the first time the Muslim community has been invited by our Christian brothers and sisters to break fast during Ramadan. It was a significant night in furthering our relationships as religious communities and as neighbors,” said Taneeza Islam, executive director of SD Voices for Peace.
As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we share a responsibility for this church’s relationships with people of other faiths and traditions. We believe that the grace of God is an undeserved gift that re-orients our relationship with God. With that gift comes the invitation to love and serve the neighbor and we are freed to do so through Jesus Christ. “It is not just a recommendation that we love our neighbor — it is a commandment from Jesus,” said Bishop David Zellmer of the South Dakota Synod, ELCA.
The ELCA is committed to fostering unity among the children of God for the sake of the world. We will continue reach out to our multi-religious community to hold conversations and share a meal together again.
Ramadan ends tonight, June 14, 2018. Tomorrow Eid Ul Fitr (pronounced Eeed-ul-fith’er), the most significant holiday in the Muslim calendar will be celebrated worldwide. Congregational prayers will take place in the morning followed by food, presents and community.
The South Dakota Synod is one 65 synods in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a church so deeply and confidently rooted in the Gospel of God’s grace that we are free to give our lives joyfully in witness and service. The South Dakota Synod consists of over 200 congregations across the state of South Dakota. Our vision is that that all may be fed.
South Dakota Voices for Peace’s mission is to empower South Dakotans with accurate information about Islam, Muslims, immigrants and refugees to fight Islamophobia and anti-immigrant bigotry in order to nurture informed, inclusive, and civically engaged communities.