MONTREAL -- Parishioners at the St-James United Church were treated to a different kind of sermon on Sunday morning as part of Quebec’s Muslim Awareness Week.

Reverend Arlen Bonnar turned the pulpit over to Muslim scholar Imad Balkis who used the stories of Jesus and Mary to connect with the Christian congregation.

“This week is about bringing the different communities together,” said Balkis. “There’s a lot of commonalities among the three monotheistic communities.”

The goal of Muslim Awareness Week is to combat fear of the other. Bonnar said that in order to do that, people must be willing to listen.

“To have a Muslim speak at our pulpit or an Imam as we’ve had two or three times already… We’ve had rabbis at the pulpit. It’s a wonderful and delightful thing,” said Bonnar. “It doesn’t take anything from us but makes it just richer.”

Balkis said building bridges requires only mutual understanding.

“Let’s focus on what brings us together,” he said. “There are things that separate us and God says, literally, leave those to me. You’re all coming to me in the end. Let me judge about those things.”