DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It may be the most unlikely place for a Palm Sunday service. But Temple Shalom in Dallas is playing host to Mercy Presbyterian Church on this and every Sunday morning.
Rev. Rob Hamby, Pastor of the church says, “We’re the guest and Temple Shalom has been an incredible host. And one of the things that they made clear to us out of the gate was they desired us not to feel like a guest. They wanted us to feel a part of the community and a part of the life of Temple Shalom, and we felt that way from the very beginning.”
In another part of the synagogue, Jewish children are preparing for Passover in their Sunday school classes.
Temple Shalom’s Senior Rabbi, Andrew Paley, says they didn’t hesitate to extend a hand to a young church in need of a place to worship. “It’s not only something that is in our mission and our tradition, something we share obviously but something that God calls us to do every single day and how could we not.”
Temple Shalom has come full circle. When members of the congregation was just starting out 53 years ago, they were offered space at Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas.
Now, the synagogue is returning the favor.
Paley says, “Northaven United Method Church was a wonderful place to start when Temple Shalom began. They were gracious, they were hospitable in every way. The founding members remember that and remember that gratitude. To be able to do that at our home was a thrill for them.
Both Paley and Hamby say the church began holding services at the synagogue at 5 p.m. on Sundays in January of 2014 and continued doing so for two years. Hamby says the church then held its services at a hotel, but returned this past January, because members felt more comfortable in a house of worship.
“There’s so much richness for us to enjoy and appreciate that we felt on Sundays especially when we gather here, we’re coming to a feast and this is an amazing space. Every member of our congregation really feels just the overwhelming sense of thanks and gratitude for the privilege we have to be here.”
The Rabbi and his staff are also sharing their clergy office with the Pastor and his assistant.
Pastor Hamby says, “We enjoy the dialogue we have in the office. There’s a lot of common ground.”
Rabbi Paley agrees, “It’s a pleasure. The opportunity we have to not just share the space but to remind each other that we’re in this sacred work together.”
Paley says It’s a symbol of peace they say in this often troubled world. “A Temple named Shalom and a Church named Mercy would come together and put out into the world the image of loving, of kindness, of caring, of wholeness, and of peace and that’s possible.”