Prior to the second Gulf War, there was a growing concern in the local community about how to achieve and maintain a peaceful relationship with people from different religions. A Multi Cultural, Multi Racial Task Force was exploring how to tackle this issue at the local level.
The objective was to create an event that was inclusive of all religious perspectives.
Attendees should be mixed so that everyone gets exposure to different faith communities.
A program should be developed that is inclusive and focuses on the best of what we want in the world as opposed to the problems currently facing us.
What was done?
An interReligious organization and several faith communities joined together to sponsor an event where people from different faith communities would be invited to attend, share information about their faith community and engage in a process to envision a better world. A system was developed that encouraged having attendees sit beside someone from another religion that they did not know. A program was presented using the Appreciative Inquiry process.
Attendees included over 100 people from the following: Unity, Jews, Bahai, Unitarian, United Church of Christ, Quaker, Hare Krishna, Christian Scientist, Baptist, Moslem, Buddhist, Episcopal, Catholic and Methodist faith communities. After the three hour program, the comments were supportive of the effort and people stayed around after the formal session to continue the dialogue with the people they had just met. The program was a huge success in bringing together people of different faiths and for envisioning a better world.