Guarding the religious diversity of the Ozarks

 
At one time known as the Springfield Interfaith Alliance, we ordinarily meet at Noon on the Second Monday of each month at South Street Christian Church, 500 South Avenue, Springfield, MO.  Visitors are appreciated and welcomed! Join us at our next meeting of an interfaith-filled 2019!

We subscribe to the Charter for Compassion, a summary of which follows. The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. It is necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. We therefore call upon all men and women to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion. We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Please see the full text of the Charter at https://charterforcompassion.org/the-charter and consider signing it, individually or corporately.
 
An interfaith service was held at Joplin's Landreth Park amphitheatre on Sunday, May 19, 2013. The event celebrated the many faiths in that community; a time of fellowship followed. The coming together was part of an ongoing interfaith effort that came out of the aftermath of the May 22, 2011, tornado. Participants and any other interested persons met again on Saturday, June 22, 2013 at First Community Church, 2007 E. 15th St. in Joplin for a panel discussion on core beliefs.
 
A program co-sponsored by United Ministries in Higher Education and LINKED presented Imam Lahmuddin from Joplin at South Street Christian Church on April 13, 2015; we thank those involved in hosting this important and well-attended event!
 
At the bottom of this main page you can access our subpages for further interesting and important information.  Our certificate of non-profit status can be found as an attachment on our "Important Links" page.

From the Springfield-News Leader article, 15 April 2014:
"The significance of observing Passover the day after a fatal shooting that targeted Jews near Kansas City was not lost on the congregation at Temple Israel... A group of about 75 people celebrated the start of Passover with a community Pesach Seder, a ritual feast that includes the retelling of the story of the Exodus. Standing out front, flanking each side of the entrance, Christian and Ba'hai members of the Interfaith Alliance [of the Ozarks] stood to welcome the celebrants and assure them of their support... About 15 members of the Interfaith Alliance stood out in the unseasonably cold night air to make a statement about their support of the members of Temple Israel. 'We are doing this in solidarity with our Jewish friends,' said the Rev. Janet Given, pastor of South Street Christian Church. Several of those attending the Seder made it a point to shake the hands of each of the people who stood vigil."

Discovering resonant voices outside of my own tradition that are struggling with some of the same problems and questions.

 
As Interfaith Theolgical Seminary puts it, the interfaith approach serves as a bridge for members of all religions and spiritual teachings to reach out in understanding and communion with each other. Interfaith affirms and supports the underlying goodness of each person and the healing of our planet. Interfaith does not seek to blend or homogenize religions. Rather Interfaith honors the sacredness and uniqueness of each faith and then creates ways by which the many paths can meet on common ground. Differences between various religions and philosophies need not divide and separate but can instead enrich our lives and deepen our capacity to love. Interfaith provides a structure whereby individuals of different faiths can dialogue and share their experiences making a safe place to accept and learn about each other. By providing a spirituality of openness and resources for change, interfaith encourages individuals and groups to discover new ways to worship and to participate in meaningful ceremonies of life.
 
David Nelson, past convener of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, says: "Why do I want to engage in interfaith conversations and activities? Here are five reasons: because I am curious; because it is life changing; because it is liberating; because it is necessary; because it is so much more fun. You meet these wonderful people, full of compassion and doing good things. You want to know them and know what energizes them."
 
Dr. Ataullah Siddiqui, who teaches "Islam and Pluralism, adds: "There is no inter-faith without faith. A meaningful dialogue is only possible when people have a deep conviction that their faith has something to offer to the wider society in which they live. In dialogue, mutual understanding cannot be strengthened unless both convergence and divergence are held in a creative relationship. Inter-faith dialogue is not based on a model of negotiation between parties who have conflicting interests and claims. Rather it sees its role as a process of mutual empowerment for the faiths involved. It is about engagement in public concerns and the joint pursuit of social justice, human dignity and constructive action on behalf of the common good of all citizens. In this endeavour followers of faiths are expected to draw upon their spiritual resources. In fact the demands that our faiths put on us, in a simple and straightforward manner, are demands that require enormous courage and charity."
THE ALLIANCE'S
ACTIVITIES
 
 We participate in the Springfield Adopt-A-Street Program.  Our segments cover one mile of Cherry Street (from Barnes to Belcrest).  The first litter pickup in 2017: June 24th.
 
We note with considerable regret the loss of the Muslim mosque and community center in nearby Joplin, destroyed by a fire of undetermined origin. (August, 2012, during Ramadan) 
 
"’Tis a privilege to thank volunteers from The Interfaith Alliance of the Ozarks for providing a surprise to students at Fremont Elementary when they returned from spring break on Monday. Several volunteers spent the day Thursday painting and sprucing up the playground equipment." ~Springfield News-Leader, March 27th, 2012 
 
The Alliance had a presence at the Missouri State University Diversity Summit, April 2011.
 
The Alliance held a reception following the April 2011 address by Stephen Prothero at the Missouri State University Public Affairs Conference.