Church News and Events

Women of Many Faiths Gather for Day of “Loving Community Service”

Contributed By By the Relief Society General Board

  • 5 May 2014

The Taylorsville Utah Stake Relief Society presidency, consisting of Oriana Erekson, Ruth McGowan, and Natalie Ethington, with Ismat Hasnain and Aliya Zaidai from the Islamic Center.  Photo by Maria Torres.

Relief Society sisters from the Taylorsville Utah Stake recently organized and invited women of other faiths from their community—including members from the Shia Muslim community, the Sikh Temple, and the Samoan Seventh-day Adventist congregation—to join with them in offering a day of “loving community service.”

This diverse group of women gathered with the intent to help others in need within their own community. Their efforts were evidence of the natural “feelings of charity” among women as taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

The women worked side by side assembling hygiene kits and making handmade greeting cards, quilts, sandwiches for the homeless shelter, and pajama bottoms for family emergency shelters. They collected previously crocheted hats for cancer patients, stuffed animals, items for hygiene kits, books for children, and canned goods for the local food pantries.

Serving together gave the women the opportunity to come to know each other better in a comfortable setting. As they spent the day eating lunch, talking, and working together, they were able to foster relationships with each other—ones that will last for years.

Relief Society sisters said they were twice blessed as they developed friendships with women of other faiths, realizing they have much in common and a common desire to help others in need.

The Taylorsville Utah Stake Relief Society presidency, consisting of Oriana Erekson, Ruth McGowan, and Natalie Ethington, with Ismat Hasnain and Aliya Zaidai from the Islamic Center. Photo by Maria Torres.

Ismat Hasnain from the Shia Muslim faith said that it was wonderful to work together “since we are all children of the same creator.”

To promote understanding, the stake Relief Society printed a small handout outlining the fundamental religious beliefs of each faith so that women would have a basic understanding of each other’s tenets and convictions.

“This has been a really wonderful experience for us,” said Ruth McGowan, a counselor in the stake Relief Society presidency. “We visited, as a presidency, each of the congregations invited. I know we have been able to dispel some previously held negative perceptions as a result of our activity.”

Natalie Ethington, stake Relief Society president, said, “We are hoping that the positive results of this initial invitation will result in these sisters joining with us next year in the planning process, as well as an increase in the participation.”