Creating a bridge and building understanding with faith leaders
September 22, 2023 / By Kristina Clark, Director of Missional Engagement
Every month, faith leaders from various traditions come together for a powerful roundtable to discuss justice issues. The group is called InterFaith Works and it’s been meeting for 46 years. There are representatives from the Hindu Community, Islamic Society of Central New York, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Quakers, American Baptist, Episcopal Church, Catholic Church, Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, The United Methodist Church among others. In my role as Director of Missional Engagement, I’ve been representing The United Methodist Church on this particular roundtable.
This month, United Methodists of Upper New York were honored to host the roundtable of faith leaders at the Conference Center in Liverpool. The meeting was a time of powerful conversation on how faith leaders can work together to address food justice, relationships with the Onondaga Nation, ending antisemitism, and ending racism this year.
Promise Land Church pastor, Erik Eure, addressed food security and highlighted food deserts in the Syracuse-area. He mentioned one community in particular where the closest grocery store selling fresh food is 12 miles away.
“You can buy apple flavored nicotine at the corner store in that community, but not an actual apple,” exclaimed Pastor Eure.
Michael Balanoff from the Jewish Federation of Central New York led the discussion on ending antisemitism.
“Antisemitism is not a Jewish problem. It’s a community problem. It’s all our problem.”
There was also a powerful discussion about how when a society takes away rights for one group, it sets a stage for a society to start deciding who is valued and is not valued as a human.
The meeting concluded with a tour of the United Methodist Center and discussions about how United Methodists of Upper New York can use their space and resources to partner and support the work of InterFaith Works as well as the other faith traditions.