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There’s nothing I like more than getting together with friends around a table, sharing food and conversation. Sue and I are blessed to live in a lovely home with plenty of space to offer hospitality. Meals are shared around our second-hand BHP Newcastle work desk that years ago we transformed into a dining table, or out the back on the deck in good weather – Weber BBQ is always ready and raring to go.

I’m not sure about you or your family, but we have ‘go to’ dishes we will offer when hosting guests, including Thai Chicken Rice. Good old-fashioned chocolate self-saucing pudding is also a staple. What dishes are your favourites when hosting a meal? Just hit reply!

Last week, rather than hosting a meal, I enjoyed the privilege of being a guest at a very special meal – an Iftar dinner, hosted by the Uniting Church and Affinity Intercultural Foundation. An Iftar dinner breaks the dawn to sunset fast during the month of Ramadan, which is celebrated by Muslims around the world. Our Iftar dinner was a magnificent Afghani feast, wonderful meat and salad dishes, curries and delectable sweets to finish. Every guest was also blessed with two beautiful small, lacquered bowls as gifts to take home.  

Around my table were new Muslim and Christian friends. Dotted at other tables were Jewish and Buddhist leaders. The room was filled with many cultures and the wonderful noise of engaged conversation. The night was interspersed with readings, speeches and cultural performances. It was enriching in every way. However, I did resist stepping on the bathroom scales the next morning!

Hospitality is a cornerstone practice of all the Abrahamic religions (Islam, Judaism and Christianity). In the Christian scriptures, followers of Jesus are told, “don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realising it!” (Hebrews 13:2).

Hospitality is also the heartbeat of our work at Wesley Mission. We invite people into conversations, into new homes, into new possibilities and opportunities. With compassion and resilience, we often meet people at a point of crisis, along the way walking alongside and empowering them to walk into better and more life-giving futures. This happens every day and in so many ways across the breadth of our work – and this is what it means to continue the work of Jesus in the way Jesus would have us do so. I am so grateful for this work, your work, underpinned as it is by generous, welcoming and humble hospitality.

The month of Ramadan concluded last night (April 9), and today (April 10) is the first day of Eid al-Fitr – the ‘festival of breaking the fast’. If you want to know a little more about this season, check out this article:

Thank you! Finally, to all my Muslim sisters and brothers – Eid Mubarak! 

Rev Stu Cameron
CEO and Superintendent, Wesley Mission

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