This episode features Scott and Jon chatting with Steve Stone. In 2016, Starbucks debuted an original content video series called Upstanders. Upstanders highlighted ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities to inspire others to be better citizens. Steve Stone was a featured personality in one of these short story videos.
At that time, Steve pastored a United Methodist Church in Memphis, TN called Heartsong. As pastor, Steve challenged his congregation to follow the teachings of Jesus, but then... an Islamic Community Center purchased property across the street from the church and began building a facility. Steve faced a challenge on how to respond to this Muslim community because American Christianity generally calls such groups outsiders. Steve decided that the teachings of Jesus called him to embrace his new Muslim neighbors, not as evangelistic targets, but as equals. Steve encouraged his congregation to do the same.
Scott and Jon's chat with Steve is both a beautiful and encouraging story of what it looks like for people of different religions to unite in peace for the greater good of humanity.
Steve has since retired from pastoring but is now the Executive Director of the Friendship Foundation in Memphis. This non-profit organization spurred from the friendship birthed between Heartsong UMC and the Memphis Islamic Center and they have plans to build a $12M friendship park to promote greater peace and unity in their community.
WATCH THE STARBUCKS UPSTANDER VIDEO ABOUT HEARTSONG CHURCH AND THE MEMPHIS ISLAMIC CENTER: Click Here
SUPPORT THE MEMPHIS FRIENDSHIP FOUNDATION: Click Here
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