A Blessing to One Another: Empowering Interfaith Collaboration
Our communities are facing challenging times. Not only are they experiencing unprecedented political divisions and fragmentation but critical issues such as equity, race, immigration and climate change demand stronger and more unified moral voices if our communities are to thrive. We believe that a new and powerful moral voice can emerge from our diverse faith communities not only engaging in dialogue but more importantly working collaboratively to address the issues our shared community faces.
Interfaith relations always begin in dialogue but interfaith collaboration has the power to not only change that dialogue but also to change the communities which we share. While interfaith dialogue most often is based in exploring the differences between faith traditions, collaboration begins with what they have in common – common issues, common values that define those issues and demand we act upon them and a greater community that we share in common. What we find is that once faith communities work collaboratively on a project, they return to dialogue but the conversation has changed.
The faith communities not only become a blessing to one another but to the community in which they coexist.
A Blessing to One Another will work to empower faith communities through collaboration and to empower their collaborative moral voice in the communities they share.
A Blessing to One Another: Empowering Interfaith Collaboration, builds on the legacy of a landmark interfaith exhibit A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People (www.blessingexhibit.org) and a long tradition of interfaith dialogue. The exhibit was created in Cincinnati with a long list of collaborators from various institutions in the USA, the Vatican, Italy, Poland, Germany and Israel. It toured the United States for almost 10 years, in 18 different venues from the east coast to the west and from the north to the south. In each venue the Catholic and Jewish communities worked together to mount the exhibit and to develop programming around it. It was exhibited in an equal number of Catholic and Jewish venues. It was visited by more than 1.2 million people and in every community it visited became a model for interfaith collaboration. In many of these communities it led to the Catholic and Jewish communities working together on projects after the exhibit had moved on.
Upon completing its run in the United States it opened to great acclaim at the Vatican Museum where thousands visited it. At the closing of the exhibit at the Vatican, it was presented as a gift to the John Paul II Sanctuary and Museum in Krakow, Poland where it is a major part of their permanent exhibit.