Faithful Build Bridges with Books

November 30, 2005

Author: Jane Lampman

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. – Laughter rings out in the salmon-colored living room of the parsonage at First Church in Cambridge, Mass. More than a dozen women - Christian, Jewish, and Muslim - are sharing insights garnered from "Gilead," a 2004 novel about the faith and struggles of a Christian minister in Iowa.

The easy camaraderie as they discuss their distinctive approaches to prayer reflects three years of monthly meetings of the Daughters of Abraham, as they call themselves. The book club has explored the realms of the three monotheistic faiths - and blossomed into comfortable relationships that reach into each other's daily lives.

"My hope was we'd come to know and respect the other two faiths while deepening our commitment to our own," says the Rev. Anne Minton, a retired college teacher and Episcopal priest. "What I didn't anticipate was the deepening of relationships in the group."

In fact, 10 of the 18 members traveled together to Spain last January, where they explored sites of the medieval golden age of Muslim-Christian-Jewish coexistence, which spawned an intellectual flowering. They are planning a trip to Jerusalem next May.