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The Annual Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s Tapestry Gala brings Houstonians from diverse backgrounds together to celebrate

Photo Credits: Quy Tran

The Celebration

The Hilton Americas – Houston welcomed Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s (Interfaith Ministries) Tapestry Gala on Saturday, November 4, 2023. The event, which celebrated dialogue, collaboration, and service, was cochaired by Karen and Jay Harberg and Tehmina and Dr. Faisal Masud. Brigitte and Bashar Kalai were the honorary chairs. The Master of Ceremonies was Ernie Manouse of Houston Public Media. Susan and Dan Boggio were the recipients of the IM Tapestry Award. The recipients of the IM Spirit of Respect Award were Pastors Juanita and Rudy Rasmus of St. John’s United Methodist Church.

For over 60 years, Interfaith Ministries has brought together people of diverse backgrounds to serve Greater Houston. Interfaith Ministries embodies the strength of shared beliefs through Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston and Galveston County/Animeals, Refugee Services, Interfaith Relations and Community Partnerships, and Volunteer Houston and SERVE HOUSTON through the Vic Samuels Center for Volunteerism and Civic Service.

The Story

Attired in black tie or international dress, close to 600 guests came together to celebrate dialogue, collaboration, and service and “Welcome the World.” During the mocktail reception, guests had the opportunity to view an exhibit of ARTifacts of Faith from various cultures, paintings on loan from the Islamic Arts Society, and drawings created by the youth in Interfaith Ministries’ refugee art program. There were also live art demonstrations in various traditional styles, including Thuluth-style calligraphy and Turkish paper-marbling. Participants were led into the venue’s ballroom by Brass Animals, recreating a New Orleans-style musical parade. The elegant three-course meal prepared by the culinary team of Hilton Americas – Houston featured an entrée of grilled chicken Marsala, pan-seared seabass, sauce pomodoro, portobello mushroom with saag paneer, asparagus, and carrot purée. There was also a vegan option entrée for those who ordered it in advance. The dessert sampler was designed to delight all palettes with white cake with blueberry compote and passionfruit chocolate pavé with salted caramel drizzle mango passion sauce. The Perfect Touch artfully adorned the elegant dining space with fuchsia and magenta florals and table dressings. Following the program, attendees were treated to a musical set featuring Sara Sachi, John Ryal del Bosque, and Selmer’s Arch of Stages Theatre, Alley Theatre, and Theatre Under the Stars.

The Moments

The program began with a shared prayer for peace and understanding delivered by a group of multi-faith leaders.

The IM Spirit of Respect award was presented to Pastors Juanita and Rudy Rasmus by the Harbergs. The award is bestowed annually to faith or community leaders who embody Interfaith Ministries’ philosophy of “respect thy neighbor.” The couple, who led St. John’s Methodist Church in Houston for over 30 years, founded Bread of Life, and have been fundamental to numerous crucial initiatives benefiting local and global communities.

Brigitte Kalai and Masud presented  the IM Tapestry Award to Susan and Dan Boggio, accompanied by a presentation that recognized their many accomplishments. The Boggios are the only Interfaith Ministries’ donors to have received all three of the organization’s annual awards: Tapestry, for overall service; For All Humanity for supporting Interfaith Ministries’ Refugee Services program; and Wags & Whiskers, for supporting Interfaith Ministries’ Animeals work. While the Boggios support many Houston-based programs, their philanthropy is global in nature as they help the most vulnerable worldwide from India to Jordan and beyond, focusing on children, animals, and refugees. Dan Boggio has donated significant in-kind services to Interfaith Ministries through PBK, and the Boggios have been lead donors, volunteers, and advocates for the organization for several years.

During her heartfelt acceptance speech, Susan Boggio said this about Interfaith Ministries and its meaning to so many: “We are all here tonight truly because of IM (Interfaith Ministries). IM has helped in almost countless ways providing meals on wheels for homebound seniors and even their pets. IM has helped refugees who flee their countries where they have at times been horrifically abused or persecuted. IM helps them not only survive by providing the basics, but by helping them thrive by healing their wounded hearts and minds in the new land in which they find themselves.”

Making the point that no one gets to decide the times in which they live, Boggio concluded her remarks with the following quote from The Fellowship of the Ring movie, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

The event raised over $730,000 to support the organization’s services.

The presenting sponsor was Shell USA, Inc.

Guests: Interfaith Ministries Board Chair Randall Evans; Board Members: Ann Kaesermann; Saied Alavi; Wendy Cooper; Vican Sun; Charlene Chuang; Rev. Dr. Tamla Wilson; Henry Florsheim; Nadia Tajalli; Kathy Flanagan, MD; Dr. Marla Fielder; Nihala Zakaria; Jacques D’Rovencourt; Mark Eddings; Rabbi Steve Gross; and Chris Hollins; Margo Martin; Charly Weldon; Aliza Dutt; Farida Abjani; Sandra Smith Cooper; Raquel Lewis; Alex Blair; Mandy Kao; Christina Zhou; Connie Kwan-Wong; David Leebron and Y. Ping Sun; Eric and Stephanie Nielson; Casey Curry; Louise Eng; Paul-David Van Atta; Gregg Harrison; Tama Lundquist; Tena Lundquist Faust; Eileen and Kase Lawal; Amy Pierce; Karen Labat from Shell USA Inc.; George and Laura Pontikes; Robert Sakowitz; Franelle Rogers; Alison Comstock Moss; Beth Wolff; Joyce and Arthur Schechter; Paula Sutton and Bill Gross; Philamena and Arthur Baird; Julie and Richard Chi; Regina Rogers; Nasruddin Rupani, and Mary Gwen and Ben Hulsey.

About Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston

A United Way agency, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (Interfaith Ministries) brings people of diverse faith traditions together for dialogue, collaboration, and service, as a demonstration of our shared beliefs. Interfaith Ministries provides the following main services: Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston and Galveston County delivers more than two million meals each year to over 5,000 homebound seniors and people with disabilities across four counties; Refugee Services, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department and Episcopal Migration Ministries, resettles hundreds of refugees in Houston annually; Interfaith Relations and Community Partnerships provides community services and education fostering understanding, respect and engagement among Houstonians of all faiths and no particular faith; and the Vic Samuels Center for Volunteerism and Civic Service through Volunteer Houston, which connects volunteers in transformative projects with area nonprofits, and SERVE HOUSTON, which forms the leaders of tomorrow while meeting the community needs of today.

For more information, please visit

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