Minute for Mission: World Interfaith Harmony Week begins Feb. 1

 

February 1, 2024

World Interfaith Harmony Week is observed every year by the United Nations during the first week of February. It was unanimously adopted by the U.N. in 2010 and is based on the pioneering work of The Common Word initiative, which began in 2007. According to the website, the initiative “called for Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental religious Commandments; Love of God, and Love of the Neighbour, without nevertheless compromising any of their own religious tenets.”

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-workers who serve in Muslim-majority countries are faithfully fulfilling this call to live in harmony with those of other faith backgrounds. For example, Farsijana Adeney-Risakotta teaches in the Master of Management in Social Entrepreneurship program at Duta Wacana Christian University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She is also the founder and director of the House of Authentic Sense, a community-based cooperative comprised of village entrepreneurs from throughout the province. She works closely with Christians and Muslims helping them collaborate in grassroots poverty elimination and advocacy for a just and peaceful society. She highlights these accomplishments in her quarterly Mission Connections letters.

In her latest letter, Farsijana writes:

Mrs. Endang, a member of the House of Authentic Sense (Griya Jati Rasa), held a plate containing a bouquet of jasmine and woven dry leaves. She danced softly inviting the audience to follow her to the side yard where the “Rumah Adiluhung” would be inaugurated. “Rumah” means house. “Adiluhung” comes from the Javanese words “adi,” which means high, and “luhung or luhur,” which means noble or glorious. It is hoped that this noble house will produce and exhibit member products to solve societal problems. I had previously sprinkled water on the new building as a sign of blessing. Then Mrs. Endang and I held up strands of woven leaves and a garland of jasmine, which were cut by Mrs. Linda, Mrs. Istiatun and the head of the co-op, Ustad Beni.

This ceremony took place on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, when the co-op officially moved to occupy two rooms in the house Bernie and I built more than 20 years ago that we named Pondok Tali Rasa and is situated in the middle of a Muslim community. For almost 10 years, the Griya Jati Rasa Foundation rented two store houses next door to our house to be used as a workspace and gallery from the co-op.

The Rumah Adiluhung is a new building, a pavilion built in the corner of the empty area of Pondok Tali Rasa specifically to be used by the co-op as a room for repacking products and a gallery for displaying the products of its members. Previously, every time a repacking activity was carried out, the kitchen island of Pondok Tali Rasa was cleaned according to the exacting standards of the Health Service. This allowed the kitchen island to be repurposed according to halal standards and to be used as a product repacking station. The co-op has received permission to repack tea and coffee products produced by its members. Repacking products allows cooperatives to sell their products directly to consumers. Sales of the “Griya Jati Rasa” brand are made online or through direct sales in malls.

On this occasion, there was also a soft launching of “Taman Kopi and Teh Adiluhung,” which will market coffee and tea products as drinks to be consumed by the co-op members and the wider community. The sales hours are when the co-op staff work from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. I also added one “milk” product, namely “yogurt” and “salad” with various choices of carbohydrate and protein toppings that can be purchased. Offering milk products, namely yogurt, has been carried out to answer the provincial government’s challenge to cooperatives to help reduce stunting problems in children whose height for their age is below the WHO child growth standards median. Surprisingly, it is not only happening among residents who live in poverty areas in Yogyakarta but also among the educated and rich young people in the regency of Sleman where the co-op office is located.

Opening a coffee and tea venue with special sales of yogurt and salad packages is expected to attract young people to start consuming dairy products as a source of vitamin B12 and nutritious vegetables with a variety of carbohydrate and protein toppings. For the opening of the new venue, I cooked the milk and fermented it for eight hours to create yogurt and prepared the ingredients for the salad by cleaning it properly so that it was safe to consume raw.

Mrs. Setyo Hastuti, a government official supervising co-ops and small enterprise businesses, gave a speech at the activity and appreciated the culinary products produced by co-op members. She hopes that offering cooked items at prices that students can afford will attract students. Muhammad Husein, a business faculty student from Yogyakarta State University who is doing an internship at the co-op, attended the event. Husein was very enthusiastic about preparing a social media story about the event.

It is hoped that the community will be able to enjoy the sales of products from the Adiluhung coffee and tea venue regularly beginning in October. With Wi-Fi access in the area of the pavilion and its park, students can connect to the internet while enjoying the beverages and food. The members who attended the inauguration sampled coffee, tea, yogurt and salad. They are optimistic that the co-op can contribute to overcoming nutritional deficiencies in the younger generation and can lead to healthier babies being born.

To read more about Farsijana’s work with partners in Indonesia, visit pcusa.org/bernie-and-farsijana-adeney-risakotta.

Stephanie Caudill, Associate for Resources and Promotion in World Mission, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus: World Interfaith Harmony Week begins Feb. 1

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Cheryl Barnes, Mission co-worker serving in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, World Mission, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Rebecca Barnes, Coordinator, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Compassion, Peace & Justice, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Let us pray

Gracious God, we are grateful for our Muslim brothers and sisters who express their faith through acts of kindness and service to their neighbors. Through interfaith works, we can share your love to all peoples. Amen.


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