Picnic Brings Together Those Of Diverse Faiths

August 16, 2009

Author: Erin Julius


After talking with a Jewish woman at an Interfaith Coalition picnic Sunday in City Park, David Washington, a Christian, plans to attend a Friday evening service at Hagerstown’s temple.

Building such relationships is what draws people to the annual picnic.

“We’re intentionally trying to build bridges,” said David Baker of Hagerstown, director of spiritual care services at Washington County Hospital.

For Baker, participating in the Interfaith Coalition events allows him to network with people of other faiths so he can better understand those he serves at the hospital.

He said he believes people develop a sense of safety and security when they understand each other better.

The Interfaith Coalition came together shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said Gwen Skrabak, the coalition’s coordinator. Coalition coordinators wanted to be a visible presence in the community, building bridges and promoting peace, justice and compassion during that tense time, she said.

Its annual picnic, held for about five years, evolved as a way for the community to casually come together, Skrabak said.

See also: Interfaith