Opinion

Interfaith Initiative Centre County | Share your faith beliefs with others

If you, like me, are an active member of your faith community, then that community places lots of demands on your free time.

My own church encourages members to attend weekly service and Sunday school, participate in an additional weekly group and be involved in church committees and activities.

Between faith community involvement and work and family commitments, there is little free time left for other activities.

But I hope to convince you to add participation in interfaith activities to your busy life, or at least inspire you to make sure your faith community is represented in the interfaith discussion.

You do not need to be an official representative of your faith community to attend Interfaith Initiative Centre County events. You can participate as an individual for your own enrichment.

State College is a diverse community. People from all over the world come to live here and be our neighbors. IICC provides a wonderful opportunity for each of us to step out of our comfort zone and learn about another community’s way of life.

Taking part in IICC, you are invited to attend events of faith communities other than your own. You take part in respectful discussions to understand how your beliefs compare and contrast with other faith communities. You build communication, cooperation and compassion with people outside your normal dialogues. You are a peacemaker.

Why is it important that your faith community have a voice in the interfaith community dialogue facilitated by the activities of Interfaith Initiative? Lack of involvement by your faith community could be interpreted as apathy about the voices of other communities in Centre County and as a lack of respect for the members of those communities.

But more important than the risk that your faith community may be perceived as an uncaring neighbor, your faith community is missing out on an opportunity to teach those of other faiths the distinctive attributes of your own faith community.

For example, would a Christian who believes in infant baptism really want someone who does not believe in infant baptism explaining the reasons for that belief to non-Christian members of Interfaith Initiative?

Your faith community’s voice needs to be part of the interfaith dialogue.

IICC events promote respect, understanding, cooperation and friendship among Centre County’s faith communities and their individual members. We welcome you to attend an event and see for yourself.

Interfaith coffee hours, a small setting for discussion and sharing, take place at Panera Bread each month; the next one will be 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Larger events, such as an Interfaith Harvest Feast to celebrate giving thanks, on Nov. 19, are taking place soon too.

Contact i nterfaithinitiativecc@hotmail.com for more information.

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