Coalition Plans Interfaith Campus In Omaha

March 24, 2009

Author: Ben Harris

Source: JTA

An interfaith coalition in Nebraska is testing the viability of what is believed to be an American first: a joint campus to house a Jewish, Muslim and Christian house of worship.

The plan, under development by a local nonprofit called the Tri-Faith Initiative, would join a mosque, a Reform synagogue and an Episcopal church in a suburban Omaha location. No site has yet been found, but organizers are hopeful the project will come to fruition.

“The first week we thought about it we put the odds at a million to one,” Bob Freeman, the chairman of the Tri-Faith board, told JTA. “I think now there is a real possibility -- and I don't quote odds anymore per se -- but I think there's a real possibility it could work.”

The plan, which has been under discussion for years, will receive a significant boost Friday when national leaders of all three faiths join together for an event being billed as "Dinner in Abraham's Tent."

The evening will begin with worship services for each of the three faiths followed by a panel discussion, “Conversations on Peace,” featuring Rabbi Peter Knobel, past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis; Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America; and the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Mark Pelavin of the Reform movement's Religious Action Center will moderate.