Islam: Separating Fact From Fiction Free Event in Sunnyvale, Aug. 22

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truthislam_1In an era of misinformation prompting fear and wondering about Islam and Muslims, a Sunnyvale church is hosting a free community dinner and discussion on Thursday, Aug. 22, featuring a Silicon Valley “Woman of Influence” who is the founder of a national Islamic outreach group, and a local Christian author of a new book on Islam.

The goal of  “Islam: Separating Fact From Fiction”, taking place at 6:30 p.m., inside Fellowship Hall at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church, 728 W. Fremont Ave., is to help people better understand their estimated 300,000 Muslim neighbors and coworkers here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Speakers Maha ElGenaidi, founder of Islamic Networks Group (ING), and Ben Daniel, a local Presbyterian pastor and author of The Search for Truth About Islam; A Christian Pastor Separates Fact From Fiction, will speak and answer audience questions.

Advanced registration is encouraged. Register at https://islamfactfromfiction.eventbrite.com. [Read more…]

La Mesa Verde Gardeners Growing Community

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Debbie Cullati Meza

Like a flourishing vine extending outward, Debbie Cullati Meza’s tender loving care for two raised beds full of delicious and healthy vegetables goes beyond her back yard into her surrounding San Jose neighborhood.

Meza, a.k.a. the “Urban Garden Diva”, is a volunteer for La Mesa Verde, an urban gardening program at Sacred Heart Community Services, located in the Washington-Alma area. When she signed up to plant and tend the beds in her own yard, she jumped in to help grow the program for the entire neighborhood.

She writes a blog at urbangardendiva.blogspot.com, chronicling her experience tending the beds in her yard, has a Facebook page, and helps La Mesa Verde Program Manager Malin Ramirez in numerous other ways.

“It’s been incredible,” Meza said.  “This gardening has been a really important way for me to reconnect with people and for healing…it’s therapeutic and satisfying, plus now I’ve connected with a bunch of people.”

On Spring Planting Day back in April, after Meza received all the materials to create her new garden, she volunteered herself and her husband and son to help with more deliveries. They dropped off supplies and met with 14 other families that same day.

After a successful season with her own beds, she was excited for Fall Planting Day on Saturday, Sept. 29. And just as she had in spring, Meza was busy volunteering again, this time in the kitchen at Sacred Heart’s headquarters making coffee for more than 100 people.

The festive event included planting demonstrations in English and Spanish, testimonials from participants, and a time for families to pick up seedlings of broccoli, lettuce, peas, and other cool season crops to take home to their backyard gardens. [Read more…]