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Resources and Reflections for Religious Leaders

As we weather the coronavirus crisis together, the ICJS is committed to collecting interreligious resources to help religious communities and leaders think creatively and to have space to reflect on the choices they are making to adapt to these singular times. Please check back here for regular updates and new posts.

October 27, 2021

A Deeper Dive: An Interview with an ICJS Fellow

An interview with Congregational Leaders Fellow Rabbi Dana Saroken
October 26, 2021

Toward Personal and Congregational Growth

In the midst of the pandemic, my congregation, St. Matthew Catholic Church, has also experienced a transition in leadership. While the congregation has gone through the process of grieving the loss of a beloved leader, his legacy of welcoming and reaching out to communities not considered “mainstream” has remained. As a congregation we are committed to engaging in interreligious and intercultural relationships, hence our participation in the ICJS Congregational Leaders Fellowship.
October 8, 2021

Reimagining a More Expansive Idea of Faith

Religion and faith did not play a huge role in my life or in how I identified myself, or in how I related to others. When I converted to Judaism in 2018 one of the things the rabbi with whom I worked said to me, and that stuck with me, is that practicing Judaism is about coming together in community to worship and observe, and about sharing that community with others.
October 7, 2021

Adding Heartbeats to the Beloved Community Through Interreligious Engagement

While there are differences in beliefs and practices it seems that the essence of the God we honor is love. As an interreligious leader it is this love demonstrated through empathy, and the ability to seek to understand rather than be understood, that is at the heart of connecting with someone no matter what religion they adhere to.
October 7, 2021

Discovering Common Ground with the Bible in One Hand and the Newspaper in the Other

My involvement with ICJS’s Congregational Leader Fellowship has helped me build bridges across inter/intra-religious differences. I have used a four-step approach to make this happen.
October 1, 2021

An Interreligious Opening

The ICJS Congregational Leaders Fellowship (CLF) cohort has encouraged me to acknowledge this bias, work to address it, and foster a sense of what I will call “an opening,” which is an acknowledgement that truth is not contained in one religion. This acknowledgement transforms my thinking and understanding and allows me to seek truth that may be communicated in a different way. The people in the cohort, by virtue of their presence, have already taken on a sort of “opening,” and because of this our lives are enhanced when we become students of each other’s belief system and the kind of life it encourages and produces.
September 22, 2021

What Does It Take?

As a member of a local synagogue and as a member of the ICJS Congregational Leaders Fellowship, I am discovering pathways to become an interreligious leader. I am also learning that there are many entryways into interreligious dialogue and collaboration.
September 15, 2021
one love with colorful heart

Seeing Myself as an Interfaith Leader

Although prior to the ICJS Fellowship I would not have called myself or seen myself as an interfaith leader, having participated in the program for more than six months now, I do feel that many of my cross-cultural global experiences, my personal faith, and my professional exposure to other faiths have changed my perceptions of myself as an interfaith leader.
August 25, 2021
Diverse people sitting in circle and sharing their stories in group therapy session

Forming a Different Kind of Torah

When I hear the stories of my cohort and share stories of my own, I feel us forming a different kind of Torah. Looking to the future, I wonder what it will be like to return to these stories again and again, year after year, as our relationships deepen. As we engage with one another around these stories we practice curiosity, compassion, and self-reflection. And from here, we will build a whole new interreligious culture, and a new tradition.
August 23, 2021
Diverse group of people supporting each other

Relationship Before Task

To me, the most fascinating proof of the importance of “relationship before task” came in a somewhat unexpected way as a member of the ICJS Congregational Leaders Fellowship (CLF).
July 7, 2020
Heather Taylor

Addressing Food Insecurity and Hunger

ICJS Emerging Religious Leaders alumna and Bread for the World Director of Strategic Communications and Campaigns Heather Taylor joined ICJS’ final weekly Congregational Leaders’ call to discuss how COVID-19 has affected and expanded hunger and food insecurity, as well as ways in which our advocacy can lead to change during these trying times.
June 22, 2020
Rev Dr Carletta Allen and Rabbi Andrew Busch

Reflections from Religious Leaders’ Advisory Group on Reopening

The Rev. Dr. Carletta Allen and Rabbi Andrew Busch, both members of an advisory group of religious leaders advising Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on reopening, discussed their experiences during ICJS’ weekly Congregational Leaders’ call on June 18.