Bridging The Gap, Connecting The Faithful has been blessed to have many wonderful events and programs, some with media coverage as well. Below is a sample list of events we’ve conducted in the past.
Living Generously: A look at Abrahamic Traditions of Almsgiving
Continuing Bridging the Gap’s efforts to look at specific, shared religious practices, this seminar explored charity or almsgiving. Speakers discussed how the practices of Jewish tzedakah, Christian tithing, and Muslim zakat have historically addressed society’s chronic issues of poverty, while exploring the future of giving alms in a changing world. The event was also featured a presentation on Habitat for Humanity’s House of Abraham, a project that brought faith leaders together to build houses for the less fortunate.
Jewish High Holy Days, Islamic Ramadan, Christian Feast of St. Francis
By coincidence (or because of something greater), the three Abrahamic faiths happened to share major religious events this month. Bridging the Gap brought members of each faith together to in an effort to recognize and strengthen our respective observances.
The Three Faiths Examine Our Environment and Health
As part of the Earth Charter Summit, Bridging the Gap hosted this important conversation examining the relationship between the natural environment and our health, all through a religious lens.
One Mosque, One Synagogue, One Church: A Tour
Bridging The Gap has not only sought to bring different communities into conversation, but also bring communities into each other’s homes. During this unique event, participants took a bus tour to visit three distinct houses of worship, where they were greeted by leaders who explained the practices that take place inside. By exploring a synagogue with a poignant Holocaust memorial, the architectural expressions of Christianity in a church, and the simplicity of a mosque, visitors gained a new, intimate understanding of other faiths.
What I Value in Your Religion
As a departure from the usual interfaith discussion, Bridging The Gap encouraged leaders to share what they value in other faiths.
Three Abrahamic Faiths: Reconciliation, Mercy and Forgiveness
This seminar had special significance, as it took place during the Muslim holy month of fasting, Ramadan. Before the presentations, our diverse participants broke bread together for a special breaking-of-the-fast meal.
Interfaith Coffee Hour
Foregoing the typically more formal interfaith program, Bridging the Gap invited participants to a more informal gathering. Friends new and old shared their beliefs, values and, of course, coffee.
Workshop on Peace Learning
During this unique, interactive event, Bridging the Gap took interfaith education out of the classroom. After brief seminar presentations, participants were invited for a nature hike to observe, reflect on and discuss faith in nature.
Ethnic Wedding Traditions: The Bride Wore Red
With a festive tone, this Bridging the Gap meeting brought various communities together by exploring a universally celebrated event: weddings. South Asian, Chinese, Greek, Korean and European traditions were represented. Together, we brought to light not just the colors and festivities that go into planning a wedding, but also the roots that these practices have in faith and culture.
Working Together to Build Understanding
Following on the success of our earlier seminar, this event began with a discussion of the shared background of the Abrahamic faiths. A specialized diversity facilitator engaged participants in exercises that recognized and celebrated their diversity.
9-11 Community Fair
Bridging the Gap took part in the 9-11 Community Fair, organized by the United Way. The event was meant to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11/01–which had taken place just a year prior–by practicing the essential American democratic values of civic participation and service.
Seminar: Working Together to Build Understanding
This informational seminar was one of the first formal gatherings of Christian and Muslim leaders in the Indianapolis area. The event was a great success, engaging our participants in intimate discussions around our shared values. Afterwards, Bridging the Gap received several requests from other places of worship for similar meetings.
Families Talking About Faith Traditions
Speakers from the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths explored their collective mission in creating a more loving and peaceful world for their families. The event was covered widely by local media.
Annual Governer’s Address: Indiana House of Representatives
In his annual address, Governer Fran O’Bannon of Indiana recognized the work of Bridging the Gap’s Rafia Syeed in educating her fellow American about Islam following 9/11, as well as her lifelong work in promoting tolerance and healing.
Faith & Cultural Traditions: Fasting in Different Faiths
For this meeting we highlighted a form of worship practiced by a number of faiths: fasting. Representatives of the Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Sikh traditions all described how they practice fasting in their respective religions. By exploring this shared practice in-depth, our shared values came into sharper relief.
Intercultural Understanding and Faith Values
Newly formed, Bridging the Gap was planning for this seminar for several months when the attacks of 9/11/01 occurred. The tragic events gave our mission increased immediacy and relevance, and BTG held this seminar, our first, less than two weeks afterwards. We brought together a diverse group of participants, who were enthusiastic about creating a strong intercultural, interfaith community in our changing world.