‘Open doors of friendship’

Interfaith cooperation begins at the local level, as they say.

The Rev. Doug. Leonard, pastor of the Reformed Church of Cortlandtown, recently visited the Islamic Community Center of Mohegan Lake with a gift.

He brought a framed watercolor from Oman, where Leonard’s denomination, the Reformed Church in America, is very involved in Christian-Muslim relations. Leonard visited there last summer.

He plaque showcases these words: “There will always be an open door of friendship and love between the members of the Reformed Church of Cortlandtown and the members of the Islamic Community Center of Mohegan Lake.”

According to a release: “The framed piece also contains verses from the Christian and Muslim scriptures, emphasizing the two principles of the love of God and love of neighbor, shared between the two faith-traditions. Reverend Leonard, who has long been involved in interfaith dialogue throughout the Westchester and greater New York area, is continuing the work outlined in the document A Common Word between Us and You, published by 138 Islamic scholars under the leadership of Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan in late 2007.”

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.