BEVERLY — The voices of immigrants, Muslims and refugees will fill St. Barnabas Church from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday.
The parish at 10134 S. Longwood Drive in Beverly will host the multi-faith event dubbed "You Are My Neighbor." It will feature speakers of various backgrounds, music, poetry and testaments from refugees.
The gathering comes after Cardinal Blase Cupich told Chicago's Catholic priests Tuesday not to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents onto church property without a warrant.
Cupich recently called President Donald Trump's effort — thwarted by the courts, at least for now — to ban entry to the United States for refugees and immigrants from seven predominately Muslim countries as "a dark moment in U.S. history."
“As Bishop Cupich says, this country has a long history of welcoming refugees fleeing for their lives. If we do not extend a hand to those most in need then who have we become?” said the Rev. William Malloy, pastor of St. Barnabas Parish.
Malloy said he does not see the recent calls for stricter enforcement of immigration laws and new policies regarding Muslim refugees as a partisan issue. Rather, he said, "We are called to help those in need as both Americans and people of faith.”
The speakers for the event include:
• Rami Nashashibi is the executive director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network. His group operates a community health center, provides transitional housing and job training for formerly incarcerated men, empowers local youths through leadership development and civic engagement and aims to inspire change through arts and culture programming.
• The Rev. Larry Dowling is the pastor of St. Agatha Parish in North Lawndale. Dowling has served on the Anti-Racism Implementation Team for the Archdiocese of Chicago and now serves as moderator of the Priests for Justice for Immigrants.
• Rabbi Amanda Greene is the assistant rabbi at the Chicago Sinai Congregation in the Gold Coast. Her faith community is dedicated to inclusiveness, social justice, spiritual development and life-long learning.
A group of more 28 Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith organizations will participate in the event, including many from Beverly, Mount Greenwood and Morgan Park. Childcare will be provided for children ages 2 and up.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve been told we should fear someone based on their country of origin or skin color,” said Mary Harkenrider, a member of the St. Barnabas' Peace and Justice Committee. “But as people of faith, we share a common humanity and purpose that is stronger than those that seek to divide us.”
For more information on the event including a complete list of the organizations involved visit youaremyneighbor.info.