During Lent, church to raise interfaith awareness

During the Christian observance of Lent, members of the First Congregational Church of Milford will look outward: Over the next four weeks, the church will host leaders from different religious groups who will discuss their faith.

The weekly talks in the church’s Common Ground Interfaith Forum, which is open to the public, will feature leaders from four area religious institutions: St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Natick; Islamic Masumeen Center of New England in Hopkinton; Milford Gurduara Sahib, a Sikh center; and Temple Etz Chaim in Franklin.

“We’re becoming more and more diverse in our society,” said the Rev. Eric Quinney-Burnard, pastor of the First Congregational Church, “and most people know very little about other people’s faith. Most of the time it’s misconception. The purpose of this is to enlighten.”


Quinney-Burnard said he taught a class on world religions at a Catholic high school in Wisconsin before he moved to Massachusetts, and had invited representatives from 26 different faith groups to speak to the class. He arrived at the United Church of Christ congregation in Milford in 2010.

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He said First Congregational hopes to expand the interfaith series, and may hold sessions later in the year.

The interfaith forum’s series of 7 p.m. talks at First Congregational, 4 Congress St. in downtown Milford, will begin this week with a presentation Wednesday on the Coptic faith by the Rev. Kyrillos Gobran, from St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church.

The series continues:

 March 6 with a presentation on Islam by Shauzab Ladha, president of the Islamic Masumeen Center of New England.


 March 13 (tentative) with Malkit Singh, president of the Milford Guruwara Sahib, discussing the Sikh faith.

 March 21 with a talk on Reform Judaism by Rabbi Tom Alpert, spiritual leader of Temple Etz Chaim.

Kathleen Burge can be reached at kburge@globe.com.