Cover Story: As 3 Faiths Celebrate, We Share 4 Hope-Filled Stories

Muslims pray outdoors in Somalia on Eid al-Fitr. Photo by Abdi Dagane, courtesy Wikimedia.

Muslims pray outdoors in Somalia on Eid al-Fitr. Photo by Abdi Dagane, courtesy Wikimedia.

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EID al-FITR, SHAVUOT and PENTECOST

HOLIDAYS IN ALL 3 ABRAHAMIC FAITHS—What a remarkable convergence! Jews, Christians and Muslims all are celebrating major holidays this week. The Christian and Jewish celebrations have a historic connection. Shavuot is an ancient harvest festival that falls 50 days after Passover, a holiday that celebrates God giving the Torah to the ancient Israelites. Christians celebrate Pentecost as the birthday of their church, because, 2,000 years ago, Jesus’s followers were celebrating Shavuot when they experienced the Holy Spirit descending on them in a powerful way.

Then, because the Muslim lunar cycles move throughout our solar calendar—the fasting month of Ramadan has moved into the springtime (in the Northern Hemisphere). Coincidentally, then, the world’s 2 billion Muslims are also celebrating this week. The last fasting day is Monday June 3, 2019. The morning of Tuesday June 4 will dawn with vast gatherings for Eid al-Fitr prayers, followed by lots of sweets and big family dinners throughout the day. Look for news photos from around the world. In some countries, Muslims gather for Eid prayer in the streets and open-air fields.

To mark this hope-filled week, this week’s issue of ReadTheSpirit is dedicated to hope!

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A Dose of Hope, Part 1 …

Click the photo to read the story, watch the video.

GIRL SCOUTS PROMOTING DIVERSITY—Want to be inspired? Read this story about author and peace activist Brenda Rosenberg’s work with the Girl Scouts—and watch the 4-minute video included with this story featuring many of the girls making pledges about ways they can improve our world. For many years, Brenda has used photography, theater, documentary filmmaking as well as books and online columns to teach about peace. Now, her work is officially a part of a new Girl Scout interfaith initiative in Michigan. Know a family involved in scouting in your part of the world? Read this story and follow Brenda’s example!

MEDIA MARKETING TIPS YOU CAN USE—Our Marketing Director Susan Stitt, then, dedicates our Front Edge Publishing column this week to explaining how a good-news story like this one about Brenda Rosenberg was developed. If you’re an author—or a media professional trying to expand awareness of your organization—read this column by Susan for her Tips on amplifying what we call Media Mentions.

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Hope, Part 2:
‘Pursuing Life with Love and Resolve’

SUZY FARBMAN—Over the years, Suzy’s profiles of hopeful men and women have inspired countless readers around the world. She has always called her column God Signs, the same title as her book-length memoir of overcoming a dire cancer diagnosis—along with lots of help from husband Burton as her principal caregiver. Now, it’s Suzy’s turn to share a true story of hope and resilience as Burton grapples with his own health crisis. His approach to coping—”You do the best you can with what you’ve got”—is a model for all of us. You’re likely to want to share this column with friends and family. Thank you Suzy for such a heart-felt story, this week.

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Hope, Part 3:
‘Struck by Hope’

ZAK PARKER, the Australian journalist, returns with another roundup of best books—this time focusing on the theme of hope. In his introduction, he writes, “Hope. What is it about that particular word that pushes people to give it all and then some in pursuit of whatever they are looking for, no matter how foolish or hopeless it all might seem? Hope is something that has kept people going since pretty much the beginning of humanity and it will not stop anytime soon.” And, thank you Zak for including our friend Jeanine Patten-Coble’s uplifting true story: Struck by Hope.

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Hope, Part 4:
Pride Month

REACH OUT TO A FAMILY YOU KNOW in June to mark Pride Month. The summer timing was chosen years ago to commemorate the Stonewall uprising, which took place in late June in New York City in 1969. That makes this year the 50th anniversary, so expect to see lots of news headlines this year. Millions of families nationwide include LGBTQ members and Pew Research shows an ever-rising tide of public support for inclusion, now well over half of all Americans. However, there is strident push-back in many part of the world and, within the U.S., the United Methodist church is struggling with this issue nationwide. Earlier this year, Editor David Crumm published a special Cover Story in our online magazine about the importance of inclusion for families. We’ve also got a list of recommended books. In June, choose one you’d like to read—then tell a friend about it.

Want to see all the stories about Holidays & Festivals & Seasons? Just remember www.InterfaithHolidays.com 

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Faith & Film

Click to learn more about the May issue of Visual Parables.

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:

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