Newly Formed Interfaith Council of Monrovia Makes Service Its Mission

The group, nearly two years in the making, recently held its first event.

Photo courtesy of the Interfaith Council of Monrovia
Photo courtesy of the Interfaith Council of Monrovia
A new group recently formed in Monrovia is bringing the faith community together with a mission to serve.

The idea of the Interfaith Council of Monrovia started nearly two years ago with a conversation between city employees and members of the Monrovia Area Partnership, said Joannie Yuille, who was a MAP leader.

The city wanted a way to connect with the churches in town and Yuille suggested opening that up to various faith traditions, she said.

About a year after that, Yuille, Pastor Alena Uhamaka from Monrovia United Methodist Church, and Yuille's friend and fellow member of the Baha'i faith, Bobbi Rahmanian, got together to help get the group underway.

"We decided we were kindred spirits brought together," Yuille said. "That was almost two years ago."

The initial group meeting in December 2012 had only two other representatives from various faiths showing up, she said.  After more outreach, the group now consists of eight different faiths, with three others recently saying they want to join, she added.

"Our purpose is really that of service," Yuille said. "We also want to be a model that people of diverse religious backgrounds could come together in our community and be able to further and benefit all of mankind."

The goal of the group is to serve the community, not to proselytize, she said.

The council recently had its first event Nov. 21 at First United Methodist. At that Thanksgiving-themed service, participants represented various Christian denominations.  The service also included those from the Buddhist, Islamic, Baha'i, Hindu, Jewish, and Sikh faiths, she said. 

The event started with the Muslim call to prayer and closed with a Tongan song of Thanksgiving performed by the United Methodist Church.

In addition, the service included a food and donation drive to benefit Foothill Unity, as well as the collection of canned string beans for the Jewish community's Big Sunday celebration, Yuille said.

Rahmanian said the group was pleased with the turnout for its first event.

"It was just absolutely amazing," she said.  "We have work to do and it's a growing relationship, but it is going wonderfully."

The next major event will be the National Day of Prayer in May, but the group is looking for some other projects it might do in the meantime, she said.

Rahmanian was a long-term member of the Interfaith Council of Arcadia before Yuille asked her help get Monrovia's group going.

"They are a wonderful blueprint for us," she said.

She said having the council is a good way to get people from various faiths interacting.

"The Interfaith Council of Monrovia is not just about us," she said.  "It's about our faith traditions, not just the leaders, but everybody's faith traditions.  And it is about taking away the mystery of the unknown. It brings people together, and we learn more about each other."

Even though in her Baha'i faith, members learn about the prophets of all the various religions, Rahmanian said her knowledge has grown through her participation in Arcadia's council.

"Joining the Interfaith Council was really a big learning experience for me," she said.  "I've been to synagogues, temples, mosques. It's absolutely amazing."

Anyone interested in joining the group or wanting more information, contact Bobbi Rahmanian at 626-215-2704 or by email at  bobbir9@gmail.com.

ofelia December 04, 2013 at 05:32 PM
And here we go!!


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