Getting Started in Interfaith Relations

Finding ourselves in faithful company

How have you become interested in interfaith relations? What drew your attention to the many religions of your neighbors?

There are many ways by which we become more engaged with our neighbors who follow religious traditions other than our own. Perhaps you have a new co-worker who is a Hindu. You may live in a dormitory with people of many different religious beliefs and practices. Perhaps, after several years of living on the same street, you have just learned that your neighbors are Muslims. You may have been invited to celebrate an occasion in the lives of Sikh friends. Maybe you have invited acquaintances of many different faiths to discuss an issue at your children’s school.

Or, you might have decided that you just need to know more about people of other religions.

However you start, your interest is a gift — to your neighbors and to yourself. In most cases, your desire to understand your neighbors and their faith traditions will be received with gratitude, and may well open the door to even deeper relationships. Your interest is also an invitation to yourself and others in your congregation, inviting you to new learning about your own faith.

Getting started in exploring other faiths or in building interfaith relationships may seem complicated or daunting. Like anything new, it will require you to learn new skills and it will involve reaching out to people whose perspectives are different from yours. A little courage is needed, but the interest and curiosity you already have put you well on your way!