The Interreligious Communities Project

The Program 

The Interreligious Communities Project (ICP) brings together religious and spiritual communities to visit one another’s sacred spaces, learn about each other, extend hospitality, equip themselves with some of the tools of interfaith dialogue, and build an interfaith community. ICP is designed to engage religious diversity within a safe and tested format, and to widen participation in interreligious activity, education, and skill across each geographic context.

Our Process

In each location where we launch the initiative, we first develop a core team representing 6-10 congregations. This team meets once per month to engage in design and planning activities, and to dialogue on commonalities, values, stereotypes and bias, and community and/or civic life. 

Meanwhile, we engage in the site visits to each other’s sacred spaces. These visits are open to each congregation as well as to the wider public. Each visit is thus more than a ‘tour’ or ‘open house’ and must contain specific elements:

 

1. An architectural tour of the space

2. A brief history of the community’s history

3. An introduction to the religion

4. A sharing from members

5. A dialogue or a shared activity

6. A shared meal 

ICP creates understanding through embodied “spatial” experiences, and it is this sense an entirely new approach to interfaith relatedness. The program’s focus is ultimately to build trust across difference, generate goodwill, and foster a greater sense of community together. The program culminates with the implementation of a joint, interreligious civic action democratically chosen and designed by the core team, but with the support and resources of the full spectrum of our participating congregations.

Proven Results

Post-program interviews reveal participants in the program gain:

  • a wider perspective

  • breakdown of stereotypes

  • loss of defensiveness and fear

  • deep knowledge of difference

  • an overcoming of one's own limitations

  • impeccable, fun experiences

  • relief and satiation of curiosity

  • feelings of solidarity

100% of people who have attended our events state they would like to attend another.

WHAT  PARTICIPANTS  SAY

Venkat Gade

The Chinmaya Saraswati Ashram

Dr. Thomas Lovia Brown

The Dixwell Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ

Sarah Berry

Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel (BEKI)

Steven Yates

St. Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church

KellyAnn Carpentier

Lay Dominican

Dr. Charles Warner, Sr.

The Dixwell Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ

Jane Whelan 

Roman Catholic

Jane Bedell

The New Haven Society of Friends

Imagine: a world in which religious difference is leverage for peace, a world in which people of all faiths receive each other in warmth and grace; and a world in which the interfaith reservoir of friendship and trust becomes a cradle of mutual understanding, support and protection that stands up to the ills of the world.

 Vanessa Avery

Sharing
Sacred
Spaces

         contact@sharingsacredspaces.org 

         (224) 616-2770

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