Welcome to the Secular Franciscan Order - USA Ecumenical / Interfaith Committee Network
Winter 2018 Newsletter
"Our vision is to educate and to raise the awareness of our Franciscan sisters and brothers in the United States to the ecumenical and interfaith movements in the Church."
Ecumenical Franciscans and Secular Franciscans
Working together in Oklahoma
By Neal Dunnigan OEF
800 Years Later, an Inter-Faith Dialog Continues
In 1219, during the worst days of the Fifth Crusade, across a grim battlefield groaning with death and horror, Malek Al-Kamil, nephew of Saladin and Sultan of Egypt, welcomed an odd looking Christian into his well-appointed tent. A humble friar, from a small mendicant religious order, pledged to poverty and nonviolence, dressed in rough woolen robes and bare feet. At great personal risk, the friar had chanced everything to cross the battle lines. That friar, was named Francis of Assisi. He had modeled his life in the imitation of Jesus, and was seeking to bring an end to the decades-long war between Christians and Muslims.

The story of Francis of Assisi and Al-Kamil reinforces how true dialogue requires courage, humility, and faith. Paul Moses’ forensic scholarship brought the story of Francis of Assisi and Sultan Malek Al-Kamil out of the old hagiography and and makes it accessible to a
contemporary book audience. Unity Productions Foundation (UPF), with cooperation from the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) produced a vivid rendition of the story in the form of The Sultan and the Saint docudrama. Additional follow-up content was developed by George Dardness, Marvin Krier, and Kathleen Warren. All-in-all, a wealth of information.

Yet, as beautiful and as inspirational as the story of Francis and Malek Al-Kamil is, it is just history depicted in a movie, played by actors. The real story is our contemporary witness and the way in which we reach access the the climate of hate and fear in our own search for love, peace, and reconciliation. Certainly there are many different ways of engaging a discussion around the events of the Francis/Al-Kamil story and its many parallels to today.

To Continue reading Neal's article tap on the link button below
From Donna Hollis OFS
The Sultan and the Saint”
Peacemaking at Its Best

“They should go forth as witnesses and instruments
of her mission among all people,                                                                                                       . . . fostering an open and trusting
dialogue of apostolic effectiveness and creativity.”
                                                                              Article 6, The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order

           As an Ecumenical Interfaith Committee, we are promoting Christian unity in persons of different religious faiths. We are delegated to take action in search for mutual respect and common ground with our brothers and sisters reaching out to build bridges of understanding and friendship that is designed to tear down the walls of isolation and fear.

           When I viewed the premiere of the Docudrama “The Sultan and the Saint” in Albuquerque, I was delighted to see that the Islamic Center and Franciscan Friars, OFM, were hosting this event together. Watching the film brought clarity and understanding of what peacemaking is all about on a realistic down-to-earth level. The Sultan and St. Francis were on a journey of their own when the unlikely meeting took place. It was a crossroads moment for them that changed history. They were both men of faith, one an itinerant Christian preacher and the other the ruler of a Muslim Empire.

           Dialogue between the Muslim community and those of us that attended the event occurred after the film. This was an opportunity to clarify misconceptions. Common ground began here in the realization of our faith and acceptance of God/Allah as our Creator.

To Continue Reading Donna's Article Tap on the link Below
Upcoming Events
Ann Arbor Michigan

The Sultan and the Saint
A True Story of 
Muslim-Christian Peacemaking

Viewing of the Docudrama with the joined community entering into dialogue

January 31, 2018, 7:30 PM
Genesis of Ann Arbor; The home of St. Clare's Episcopal Church
Sponsored by
  • St. Clare's Episcopal Church Ann Arbor
  • The Islamic Center of Ann Arbor
  • Secular Franciscan Order, USA Ecumenical & Interfaith Committee

To Register for this event contact
Mike Carsten OFS @ Mikecars10@gmail.com
Washington DC

  • Fri, Apr 20, 2018 - 10:00 AM  Mon, Apr 23, 2018 - 11:00 AM
  • Washington DC 20032 United States (map)
2018 Theme "A World Uprooted - Responding to Migrants,
Refugees and Displaced People"

National Gathering & Congressional Lobby Day
Richmond Virgina

  • Thu, May 3, 2018 - 6:00 PM  Sat, May 5, 2018 - 12:00 PM
  • Roslyn Retreat Center, (map)


An Interfaith conference to celebrate the Unity and common life we share In the Holy One. To be held May 3-5, 2018 at Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond, Virginia. This conference is led by Masud Ibn Syedulllah and Garrett Mettler, both Episcopal Priests.
Masud is a member of the Joint Committee on Franciscan Unity. For information and registration go to  www.rootsandbranchesprograms.org
St. Louis, Missouri

  • Thu, Jun 21, 2018 - 5:00 PM  - -  Mon, Jun 25, 2018 - 11:00 AM
  • Pallottine Renewal Center (map)

Jacksonville, Florida

Christians Building Bridges with Spiritual Neighbors
A one day workshop

July 14, 2018

Sacred Heart Church in Jacksonville, Florida
sponsored by St. Bonaventure Fraternity.
Donna Hollis, OFS, speaker

From the Joint Committee on Franciscan Unity
The Joint Committee on Franciscan Unity is pleased to present this Formation Video for you and your fraternities.
"The Joint Committee on Franciscan Unity is a committee made up of two representatives each from the Third Order Society of St. Francis, Province of the Americas (TSSF, Anglican Communion), the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans (OEF), the Lutheran Franciscans (OLF) and the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS, Latin and Eastern Rite Communion). This committee was formed with the hope and goal of bringing together Christians of various lineages who seek to follow the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in the footsteps of St. Francis." 

Updated and Revised! Includes Glossary of Popular Religious Symbols

We North Americans live in a remarkably society, and it's increasingly common to be invited to a wedding, funeral or other religious service of a friend, relative or coworker whose faith is different from our own. These can be awkward situations ...

What will happen?
What do I do? What do I wear? What do I say?
What should I avoid doing, wearing, saying?
Is it okay to use a video camera?
How long will it last? What are their basic beliefs?
Will there be a reception? Will there be food?
Should I bring a gift? When is it okay to leave?

These are just a few of the basic questions answered in How to Be a Perfect Stranger. This easy-to-read guidebook, with an "Everything You Need to Know Before You Go" checklist, helps the well-meaning guest to feel comfortable, participate to the fullest extent possible and avoid violating anyone's religious principles―while enriching their own spiritual understanding. For people of all faiths, all backgrounds.

African American Methodist Churches • Assemblies of God • Bahá’í Faith • Baptist • Buddhist • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) • Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) • Churches of Christ •Episcopalian and Anglican • Hindu • Islam • Jehovah’s Witnesses • Jewish · Lutheran • Mennonite/Amish •Methodist • Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) • Native American/First Nations • Orthodox Churches • Pentecostal Church of God • Presbyterian • Quaker (Religious Society of Friends) • Reformed Church in America/Canada • Roman Catholic • Seventh-day Adventist • Sikh • Unitarian Universalist • United Church of Canada • United Church of Christ

Does your regional fraternity already have an OFS - Ecumenical/Interfaith representative working with your regional council?
Does your local fraternity have an OFS - Ecumenical / Interfaith representative working with your local fraternity council? 

If yes, please help us connect.
If no, why not? 

If you're interested in becoming a member of the OFS-USA-EIC Network, just send me a note. 
Please send us your Ecumenical/Interfaith related articles/stories, photos and event information as well as any suggestions or comments. 

If we can help in any way, regionally or locally please let us know.

Peace be with you


Desk - 313-309-1277 
E-mail - mikecars10@gmail.com

Web Site - ofsusaecumenicalinterfaith.org
From the Editor

We at the OFS-USA Ecumenical/Interfaith Committee invite our reading audience to give us comments and/or suggestions. It is through our continued journey together as brothers and sisters that we grow in our understanding of each other.
OFS-USA Ecumenical / Interfaith Committee
Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat (CC)
Mike Carsten OFS - Chair
Rabbi Dorit Edit (CC)
Donna Hollis OFS