Quick takes – March 12th

Relationship building

Columbus’ 15th annual Gospel Musical on Feb. 28 celebrated Christian unity and black history, drawing about 130 people — blacks, whites, Asians and others. That cross-section of residents is notable because the event served as another important effort to promote unity and understanding across the Columbus community.

The African American Pastors Alliance organized other events in August and December that addressed various aspects of race relations — important because of problems that have occurred nationally, including rising tension between black communities and police officers.

This was preceded by three programs to build understanding among various faiths in the first part of this year:

A group of Muslims and Christians held a public panel discussion Jan. 20 to discuss common values.

People learned differences between radical and normative Islam during a presentation on the Islamic State group Jan. 31 at First Baptist Church featuring David Carlson, Franklin College professor of theology and religion.

On Feb. 6, the inaugural Interfaith Wintertime Gathering at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus invited representatives from 20 different beliefs to highlight how they interpret the Golden Rule.

Local residents are to be congratulated for their ongoing efforts to foster diverse relationships and promote understanding through a variety of events. The community becomes better as a result.

Valuable opportunity

In an effort to foster relationships between police and city residents, Columbus Police Department is starting its “Coffee with a Cop” program from 9 to 10 a.m. March 31 at McDonald’s, 2205 W. Jonathan Moore Pike.

Many residents know of police only from what they’ve heard from others, or seen or read in the media. “Coffee with a Cop” is a good opportunity to meet police officers in person and understand them and their jobs better. The program is worth the time to check out.

Animal savers

Columbus firefighters went into a burning home Feb. 25 and rescued 19 pets — a mix of cats and dogs. They used special oxygen equipment designed to fit over small animals’ faces — donated by the Community Animal Rescue Effort (CARE) — to save a couple of cats.

The fire was the third in which the fire department has used the specialty masks, and at least one other pet’s life was saved with the oxygen mask.

The firefighters are to be commended for their courage and dedication regardless of whether they’re helping humans or animals, and CARE deserves thanks for providing the firefighters with the lifesaving specialty oxygen masks.