“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
Those words credited to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. echo the sentiments of Thursday evening’s planned interfaith service at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Santa Clarita, said Rabbi Jay Siegel of Congregation Beth Shalom, a co-host of the event.
The Islamic Center of Santa Clarita Valley, Congregation Beth Shalom and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church invite the public to the service, which is intended to promote peace, tolerance and love. It is scheduled at 7 p.m. on Thursday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church at 24901 Orchard Village Road in Santa Clarita, and will also be livestreamed on Facebook on the @StStephensSCV page.
Siegel said that while King’s message is an important one to pass on, it’s also a sentiment that he feels the community has been longing for.
“You know, one of the things that we saw over the past couple of years is the importance of our communities coming together,” Siegel told The Signal in a telephone interview this week. “And there’s just a lot of interest, I think, in all faith-based communities to show support and to show, really, a unity.”
The rabbi believes that a need to come together became more apparent after a couple of recent mass shootings, including the one in May at the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Orange County that left one dead and five injured in what some called hate and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
“We brought in the NAACP and we had the Santa Clarita Human Rights Council, and then we did a service with a couple of different Muslim communities, my community, and then St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, and we did it at St. Stephen’s,” Siegel said. “So, we decided to come together.”
Siegel and others wanted to continue the interfaith work they’d started, and so, with MLK Day approaching, he said, they thought it was the perfect opportunity.
Thursday’s service is to be about an hour long with a focus on the things King said during his prominent years as a Baptist minister and civil rights activist, who preached nonviolence and combatted racial inequality.
“It will focus on sayings of Martin Luther King, and then different readings from each faith-based tradition,” Siegel added. “That will really highlight those ideas, focusing on tolerance and peace and love. Those were the kind of ideas that were central, I think, to Martin Luther King, but also central to every faith.”
Following the service, the hosts will offer a fellowship opportunity for guests, with dessert and drinks, “so people can get a chance to meet each other,” Siegel said, “and to share with each other.”