Cleveland is known for its blue-collar ethos and its status as the “Rock and Roll Capital of the World.” Situated on the southern shore of Lake Erie, Cleveland was once a thriving manufacturing and commercial stronghold. Despite the fact that Cleveland’s population has dropped by half over the past century, it is also known as the “Comeback City”: in 2005 The Economist named Cleveland one of the nation’s “most livable” cities. Cleveland’s vibrant kaleidoscope of religious communities and interfaith efforts seek to bridge racial and economic divides, making the city’s religious landscape far from monochrome.
Cleveland, a city with a population of 396,815, is home to a striking number of interfaith initiatives. Of the nearly thirty interfaith organizations in the city, almost a quarter of these are campus-based. This includes an endowed chair of interreligious studies at John Carroll University. Building Bridges is an organization that successfully engages campus, religious, and broader communities in interfaith dialogue through public mural projects. One of the city’s most vital efforts, InterAct Cleveland, recently closed their doors after 20 years due to rising financial challenges in a weakened economy. The organization was a coalition of over sixty faith communities, community organizations, and campus groups that sought to meet the challenges facing greater Cleveland, “including religious diversity itself.”