Over the course of the past decade, HCRJ has proudly embraced efforts to build bridges of understanding between faith communities. These efforts have been most strongly developed within our relationship with the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).
At the heart of this noble endeavor has been a desire to restore civil discourse and deepen our trust in each other. For ten years, we have sought to establish a common vocabulary to help us engage in topics that challenge us day to day. Our time together, as clergy and laity, has helped to diminish some of the fear and suspicion that seems to permeate society today.
We can be very proud of the work we have done to date. We have learned that building bridges of trust demands a level of intimacy that comes from the shared experiences of everyday life. In short, we have come to know each other as people, as neighbors and as friends.
Michael Duke of the Jewish Herald-Voice wrote this article last week. In it, he recorded an intense conversation on abortion which took place between two rabbis, three ministers and an imam. Our ability to engage each other as a clergy team (which we lovingly call The Galleria Gang) is evidence of the trust that we have developed though our ongoing work together.
This kind of honest conversation has enabled us to see where our values and beliefs differ, but we are also able to see that our commonalities far exceed our differences. As we continue in this important work, it is my hope that our time together can model how a willingness to listen respectfully to those with whom we may not always agree can broaden our capacity to work together.