September 11, 2022
By Ashley Brown, Odyssey Fellow, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
“I launched my fellowship by hosting an interfaith halal meal and inviting a large portion of my community into my home in an act of hospitality (learned at Rose Castle).”
I was highly influenced by radical hospitality and took that lesson with me back into my own community at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. I hosted a halal interfaith potluck dinner for our new President, Dr. Jose Irizarry, Theological Professor (and professor of World Religions), and for our refugee community on campus. Our neighbors in Hyde Park and on campus also attended.
We had 45 attendees, ranging in age from 3 months to senior citizens. We had Buddhist, Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Hindu, and Tao faith practitioners, as well as attendees from Puerto Rico, United States, Iran, UAE, Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Korea.
Over dinner many new friendships were formed, and existing friendships were deepened. It was a wonderful experience. A few days later, the invitation was extended back to me from my Afghan neighbors. They prepared a fatted goat and hosted their own halal meal for the community. This meal of unity was hosted incidentally on the 21st anniversary of 9/11. In a world of division — there is still hope.