We continue to witness how politics, religion, and race tear at the fabric of our society. Groups talk at each other, not with each other. If we fail to understand one another, we shackle our ability to collaborate with each other. While Interfaith work has been a platform to raise an understanding of the tenets of a particular faith with members of another faith, it has fallen short of addressing the divisiveness we are collectively experiencing today.
This past year the Interfaith Committee has taken significant steps to build collaboration with other faith traditions and address the divisiveness in the local community.
CIOGC hosts an Iftar (meal to break the daily fast for Muslims) with members of the Archdiocese of Chicago. The Iftar has served to build a relationship between Catholics and Muslims. This year, at the urging of the leadership of both faiths, both groups are working to build a framework for collaboration to address social injustices. While there is a wide breath of issues suggested by both sides, the objective of both groups is to initiate joint programming in the coming year and to establish a working structure that assures their collaboration becomes long-term.
The Interfaith Committee is also promoting the Mustard Seed Project. The Mustard Seed Project grows out of the work of One America Movement, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to combat polarization among groups who do not share the same religious beliefs or culture by facilitating open discussion among them.
CIOGC’s Interfaith Committee joined with MPAC and One America Movement to sponsor a Mustard Seed Project event at the Mecca Center. The event brought Evangelical Christians and Muslims together for open and honest discussions about themselves, their beliefs, and their aspirations. The event provided a foundation for mutual understanding among the participants and the motivation to continue to “detox” relationships among those attending. The Interfaith Committee is collaborating with their co-sponsors to bring more of these discussions to the CIOGC community and to engage more of our members as participants.