Recent events give monthly interfaith meetings new meaning

In the shadow of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and a reported bombing at a local mosque in Bloomington, Twin Cities faith leaders gathered Sunday evening to fight back against racism both here at home and across the country.

The gathering, called "Come Together," was organized by a coalition of area churches, faith-based organizations and everyday people who felt the need to stand up to hate. The idea became a reality after the police shooting of Philando Castile last summer.

It's a part of a greater series hosted each month at a different house of worship, which attendees say are increasingly important after the events of the last few weeks.

"Both with the mosque and what happened in Charlottesville, I think it’s really affected people a great deal," Ann Mongoven, Parishioner at St. Joan of Arc Church, said. "I know it's affected our church a lot just in the last week.”

The organizers hope that by gathering people to share their emotional experiences about isolation and discrimination, they can help others feel compassion and learn to live with one another despite our differences.

“We want to facilitate dialogue—specifically for people who don’t normally interact with each other or don’t have the same interests as each other or the same views as each other,” organizer Cynthia Manns said.