FaithBridge - The Importance of FaithBridge

By: Rabbi Maralee Gordon, Board Member

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Over more than a decade, FaithBridge has had an impact on our community. Through events such as our Interfaith Thanksgiving program and our Martin Luther King, Jr., Prayer Breakfast, we come together from various faith congregations. We visit each other’s houses of worship. We break bread together. Through our Faith to Faith classes, and our Salons, participants have had the opportunity to learn in depth about faith traditions and beliefs other than their own. This has meant increased understanding and increased respect for each other.

For myself, being Jewish, I used to feel uneasy when I would enter a Christian church. The proliferation of crosses and the stained glass depiction of New Testament figures were foreign to me. A decade later, I am particularly at home in the Lutheran, Presbyterian, UCC and Unitarian churches in my community, and many Christians in the community feel at home in our synagogue.

You know, many people look to “Love your neighbor as yourself” as a defining principle of the Bible. What’s difficult is getting to know and love those who are not like us. FaithBridge has been a place where I have gotten to know those in the community whom I viewed as strangers.

That is what is important to me as a board member of FaithBridge—to be able to help dispel the fear we feel with those who are not like us, by providing opportunities across faith and ethnic lines for people to get to know each other. 

As part of a small Jewish community in McHenry County, I meet people all the time who have had very little contact with Jews. Our interfaith programs at FaithBridge have helped others become more knowledgeable about Judaism and comfortable in our synagogue.

In the end it all boils down to remembering that we are each created in God’s image, and giving ourselves opportunities to interact with each other.