By Jan True
To me, interfaith participation has been such an important and fulfilling part of my work for church, originally as Assistant Committee on Publication.
I started in a small town in New Mexico where the members of the interfaith council were of mostly the Christian churches and the one Jewish community. They had breakfast meetings once a month and mostly shared what their different groups were doing in the community. At one breakfast meeting I gave a presentation on Christian Science to the group, got some wonderful questions, and even gave out several copies of Science and Health. At another time we had a prayer meeting for the entire town where I was able to share our correlative scripture of I John 3 with a large group of attendees.
In Nevada County, California, I was part of a new interfaith group. Most of the group were what I would call faith groups sort of on the fringes. It included Unity, Religious Science, Christian Science, United Methodist, Unitarian Universalist, and Episcopal faith traditions, but also included different groups such as a local hospice, the local hospital chaplain, and individuals with different spiritual practices. Each month we met at a different church or other location. And each time we met we heard the story of one of the attendees. When I shared my story it was all about my progress in Christian Science and my service to church. But I was most impressed in hearing the others’ very inspiring spiritual journeys. The purpose of this group was to learn about and support the diverse spiritual traditions in the community
Currently I attend the interfaith council meetings in South Orange County and participate in some of their activities. Each year we host two events, the main one being the spring Prayer Breakfast with about 200 attendees, including government officials, diverse church groups, and individuals. It always includes an inspirational guest speaker chosen by the council. Next year the Christian Science church will be doing a prayer message along with two other faith traditions at this breakfast. Last fall at a panel event our church sponsored Brian Talcott as a lecturer. For the last two years I’ve led a prayer team to support the Prayer Breakfast. This has been gratefully acknowledged as making a difference in the harmony of the event.
What different ways might you find to work with your local interfaith group?