New Name, Same Mission

by Mary Johnson, Children's Ministries and Director of All Thing Bright & Beautiful

For the past three years, Holy Comforter has been a member of the Winnetka Interfaith Council.  CHC was the host for the 2015 Thanksgiving Interfaith Service. Founded in 1967, the purpose of the Winnetka Interfaith Council is to foster interfaith understanding by providing a forum for interfaith dialogue and developing programs that provide a service to the community at large where there is a mutual respect for different faith traditions. In the 50 years this organization has been around, it has experienced a tremendous amount of growth and change. The most significant change is introduced this month as the name changes from Winnetka Interfaith Council to New Trier Multifaith Alliance

Over several months, the members have been discussing a name change.  At the November Board meeting, the new name was approved by a vote of the members. This is a summary of the thought process that resulted in the name change:   
                                                                    
Location: New Trier by definition includes the communities of Winnetka, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Northfield, and Wilmette, and these communities more accurately represent the current member faith communities. 

Purpose: Multifaith is appearing more frequently in contemporary usage to refer to groups that go beyond interfaith. The word promotes dialogue, tolerance and acceptance with the foundation of understanding and cooperation. 

Organizational Nature: By definition, council describes a body gathered to consult, deliberate, and set policy. Alliance refers to an organization that more actively works to multiply the resources and talents of respective member organizations for the better of the whole. 

One of the benefits of this group is the opportunity to engage in conversation on a variety of topics with individuals who have different perspectives.  There have been two forums sponsored by this Alliance: "Finding Inner Peace; What Do the Sacred Texts Teach?" and "In a World of Misunderstanding; What Do the Sacred Tests Teach?"   The third forum open to the public will be on March 14th and will be held at the Winnetka Covenant Church from 7:00 - 8:30.  The title of this event is "The Status of Women: Have we Come Far Enough? What do the Sacred Texts Teach?" This panel of four women will include Pastor Heath Howe who will speak about the Christian perspective on this topic.

The Baha'i, Jewish, and Muslim faiths will also be included in the panel discussion. Each panelist will select two passages from their faith's texts and respond to the questions asked in the title of the forum: what do they teach regarding the status of women, and have we come far enough? I am so excited to have Heath represent the Christian faith in this provocative topic, and I look forward to the discussion and Q&A that will follow the four speakers' observations.  I hope many members from our community will be there to listen and support Heath and share in this opportunity.