Ohio Interfaith Group Comes Together To Build Community and Understanding

By Robyn Lebron

URI North America is thrilled to welcome one of our newest Cooperation Circles. We know that we are stronger together!

SAFE ALLIANCE OF INTERFAITH LEADERS (S.A.I.L.), Columbus, OH

  • Contact Person: Greg Davis, Secretary, sail@uri.org
  • Purpose: The Safe Alliance of Interfaith Leaders is formed solely for charitable, religious, and educational purposes to foster peace, tolerance, and understanding among different faiths through constructive dialog, education, and community activities and service. The Safe Alliance of Interfaith Leaders will fulfill its purpose by creating an interfaith community among faith-based congregations, organizations, and individuals in the Northwest Columbus area who share an interest in working together toward mutual understanding and action for the well-being of all people, and to promote respect, friendship, and trust within our community.
  • Areas of Focus: Community Building, Interfaith and Intercultural UnderstandingandDialogue
  • Website: safeallianceofinterfaithleaders.org

“We value opportunities for people to come together, face-to-face, to get to know people from different faith traditions and backgrounds. We value opportunities to share with the public the fact that people of many different faith traditions and backgrounds can share common goals and be friends.”

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As Barb Anderson, president of Safe Alliance of Interfaith Leaders (S.A.I.L.), spoke about the organization’, she had a sense of pride in her voice.

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Northeast Tennessee Group Debuts Interfaith Storytelling Event

Fr. Peter Iorio, Facilitator of the URI in Northeast Tennessee Cooperation Circle, with Arif Choudhury (L) and Noa Baum (R).

To paraphrase a quote from Gene Knudsen Hoffman, Compassionate Listening pioneer and international peacemaker, “A stranger is one whose story you’ve not yet heard.” Getting to know one another can be as simple as listening to each other’s story. When that story is shared by someone you might see as one of “the others”, a bridge of the heart can truly be built.

Thanks to the hard work of the United Religions Initiative Northeast Tennessee Cooperation Circle, two talented storytellers, Noa Baum and Arif Choudhury, debuted an impactful interfaith program titled “In The Heart of The Other: A Muslim and Jew Sharing Their Stories.” Through the Appalachian Storybridge to Peace program of the Northeast Tennessee Cooperation Circle, the program was produced four times over the two days of September 14-15, 2017 at the International Storytelling Center at Jonesborough, Tusculum College in Greeneville, East Tennessee State University and the Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Johnson City, Tennessee.

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Interfaith Groups Use Music to Connect Across Difference

A choir performs at the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County’s International Diversity Day concert in May 2017.

The Bainbridge Island North Kitsap Interfaith Council has been organizing annual concerts for fourteen years.  However, quite recently, the concerts have evolved.  What started out as a choir concert has turned into something much larger.

During the first concerts, different choirs would participate throughout the festival, performing different songs, before gathering together at the end for a combined piece.  When Tiffny Weighall took over planning the festival four years ago, she transformed it into a festival with different types of musical expression.  

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