Famington Valley American Muslim Center Moves into New Avon Home
The group is starting an interfaith center in partnership with The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.
It's been about a month since the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut announced a partnership with the newly formed group to open an interfaith center in the Valley.
"We hope to build up our community, establish our programs, and create partnership with the Diocese that can be a model for others to replicate not only in America, but in Muslim countries where the need for such partnership is even greater," Khamis Abu-Hasaballah, Ph.D., FVAMC president, wrote in an email to Patch.
Before the FVAMC formed, area Muslims had to drive as far Berlin or Hartford to worship in mosques. They have since been renting space to worship.
The organization is is excited that they have found a more permanent home in Avon.
"The facility is beautiful and we now drive (and in some cases walk) a short distance to get there," Abu-Hasaballah said. "I am sure community members who are like everyone else lead busy lives with work, kids, and sports will appreciate that. We have a place to store all the supplies we had to carry around in our cars from rented venue to another; getting ready for community events should be easier."
The FVAMC is leasing the space from the Diocese.
"We love the facility, but what we are excited about the most is what will go inside it; the interfaith programs and fellowship, studying and learning, community gatherings, youth activities, and the opportunity to worship and reflect in a peaceful quiet place," Abu-Hasaballah said.
The group is still in the process of setting up the interfaith center, but is working to get the facility ready for its first event at the end of the week.
"To create prayer space, we moved enough pews to the back of the sanctuary to clear an area big enough for congregational prayers. As you may know, Muslims pray standing and prostrating on the floor, which requires nothing more than a clean, open space," Abu-Hasaballah said. "Also, since the facility has not been used for a while, we did a lot of scrubbing and vacuuming. A lot of work remains, but we've done enough to get us started for our first event this Friday. We will work diligently in the coming days to get the facility inside and outside in tiptop shape."
On Oct. 4, FVAMC will hold "evening congregational prayer" at 6:30 p.m., "followed by reciting the Quran, and then potluck dinner and study circle," Abu-Hasaballah said.
"These potluck dinners and study circles will recur every Friday evening," he said.
The church is roughly 12,000 square feet, he said. As the group transitions into its new building, it will not be using all of the space "right away."
Abu-Hasaballah said that the group welcomes civic groups from Alcoholics Anonymous to Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts to inquire about using available space there. The nursery school previously housed there closed months ago, but FVAMC has discussed the possibility of re-establishing the school there. Parents have expressed the desire to have play groups at the facility.
FVAMC plans to have a formal grand opening ceremony in November for the community and area leaders to attend.
"We are planning the event around Thanksgiving to thank the Lord not only for the partnership and our wonderful community, but for choosing us to be His instruments for this amazing work," Abu-Hasaballah said.