Welcome to IONA Masjid

Your place of worship and learning

IONA in the News


All Faiths Festival Set To Help People In Need (May 3, 2008)

Sunday Event In Roseville Will Include Free Counseling

One people, same needs.
That's the message metro Detroit religious figures of different faiths are delivering to people who need help with a variety of issues.
In the first-of-its-kind All Faiths Festival at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Roseville, Christian, Muslim and Jewish representatives are rallying together to reach out to area residents seeking spiritual guidance during tough economic times. They will provide free counseling to individuals and families who have experienced hardships ranging from unemployment, depression, substance abuse and mortgage foreclosures.
By addressing issues that extend beyond religious boundaries, the organizers hope to foster understanding among the various spiritual beliefs.
"Our objective is also to bring the faiths closer in terms of building bridges and helping one another," said Imam Steve Elturk of the Islamic Organization of North America in Warren. "Basically, the message that we'd like to get across to them is that we're here to help."
The idea for the festival came about earlier this year when a group of religious men gathered to discuss concerns that have been brought to their attention in recent years. Among the group: the Rev. Lawrence Ventline on behalf of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Elturk, David Kasbow from the American Clergy Leadership of Warren and Rabbi Mordehi Waldman of Mt. Clemens.
The group decided the event, which includes a panel discussion on faith and breakout sessions on various topics from financial problems to one that Ventline will lead for children coping with emotions in stressed families, could serve as a starting point.
The group is exploring the possibility of hosting a similar festival in the fall in another metro Detroit city.
As director of a program called Care of the Soul, Ventline counsels Catholics on their religion as well as mental and physical health. He said the event comes at a good time because he's noticed some alarming trends tied in with the depressed economy.
He has seen about a 50% rise in prescription drug and alcohol abuse along with people contemplating suicide in the past couple of years. While some people are referred to a psychiatrist, Ventline generally encourages them to take care of their bodies with healthy diets and exercise while turning to God.
"It's like a counter stool people sit on — three legs: physical, emotional and spiritual," he said. The free festival can accommodate up to 500 guests.
Contact CHRISTY OYAMA-ARBOSCELLO at 586-826-7263 or arboscello@freepress.com.