Five Miller beach congregations have come together in Gary to install an Interfaith Bench at Marquette Park on Lake Michigan to send a message of harmony and unity.
Temple Israel, Bethel Lutheran, Marquette Park United Methodist Church, St. Barnabas in the Dunes Episcopal Church and St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church put in the black metal bench, which is inscribed with the names of all the congregations and the message "Sharing Our Community Together" as a symbol of diversity.
Each of the congregations chipped in money to buy the bench from Friends of Marquette Park, a group created in 2016 by the Legacy Foundation to raise funds for special projects at the park.
“Mary Ann Best from St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church and I brainstormed this idea after the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service,” said Lisa Giglio of Temple Israel. “We wanted to find other things that our interfaith community could do together, and Mary Ann mentioned that Friends of Marquette Park sells memorial benches. Together we contacted various churches and made this happen. Carol Smith, the Chair of Friends of Marquette Park, was phenomenal in assisting us.”
A ribbon cutting will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 23 near the Aquatorium at Marquette Park. The public is invited to the ceremony, which will include a prayer or blessing from each congregation, a group photo and a light snack.