November 2011 Theme

Interfaith Organizations

Aspiring interfaith activists have a raft of opportunities for getting involved. The opening articles below provide overviews of grassroots groups, introduce five important international stakeholders, and explore why the North American Interfaith Network is a rare, one-of-a-kind organization.

Grassroots Interfaith Organizations
Religion’s New Face in the World by Paul Chaffee

The Big Picture
International Interfaith Stakeholders Today

Temple of UnderstandingReligions for PeaceCouncil for a Parliament of the World’s ReligionsUnited Religions InitiativeInterfaith Your Core

NAIN – a Profile
Seeding the Interfaith Movement by Paul Chaffee


The interfaith movement is young and still being defined. A number of leaders, however, have been actively involved for a quarter century or more. Often they’ve found themselves trying to build the airplane they’re already flying, to borrow an image William Swing used for United Religions Initiative in its formative years. Some of what these forerunners learned in the process is unpacked in the next five essays.

Local-Global Dynamics
Growing Grassroots Organizations Globally by Sally Mahé

Public Interfaith Ministry
Finding Sanctuary in an Amsterdam Airport by Ruth Sharone

The Long View
Lessons from 21 Years with the Parliament by Helen Spector

The Necessary Tools
Leaders for Tomorrow’s Interfaith Organizations by Janet Penn

Local Organizing
Three Tips for Interfaith Success by Vern Barnet


Interfaith culture is in such flux that it is difficult to get a handle on what it means, its goals, and ways to measure what’s been achieved. Bud Heckman, whose InterActive Faith [link to review in this issue] is reviewed in this issue, may have done the best job to date in the following article. Read it and file under ‘what I need to know when they ask me what the interfaith movement really means.’

Are We There Yet?
The $100,000 Question in the Interfaith Movement by Bud Heckman