Religion is often blamed for many of the world’s conflicts. We believe religions can, and should, work together to serve their city and protect religious freedom for everyone. Evangelicals have largely been absent from previous interfaith activities and we are changing that. Multi-faith allows for us to hold on to our exclusive theology while still building deep relationships with other faiths and serving our city together. It is where theological conviction doesn’t put you in opposition. Where you can build friendships without compromising your beliefs. Where you can work together for a common goal of resilient communities while having deep theological differences. Overall, for Christians, it’s following Jesus’ call to love your neighbor as yourself.
Multi-Faith Neighbors Network is the program that convenes Pastors, Imams and Rabbis from cities across the United States. Currently, over 180 congregations representing nearly 500,000 have been involved. MFNN has also been done in Pakistan and can be used in any country where religious conflict and tension exists.
MFNN provides a platform for people to connect with one another by building empathy. Only then can one begin to relate to others who think differently, and thus find common ground. MFNN is intentionally multi-faith. It respects the fact that different religions have exclusivist beliefs about spiritual realities. MFNN encourages the multi-faith community to serve their city together, stand up for each other’s religious freedom, and respond to a crisis together.
Following the initial two-and-a-half day MFNN retreat, conversation, community building, and partnership continues in the following ways:
1. Sharing a Meal
Clerics open their homes to each other and break bread with one another. This allows a comfortable, familiar, and deeply personal space where these clerics can get to know each other.
2. Socializing as a Multi-Faith Community
Moving from engaging clerics to building bridges between faith communities is critical. Clerics involved in the program will host “mixers” at their individual places of worship for the other religious community members to attend, fostering a dialogue of multi-faith understanding and acceptance.
3. Participating in a Community Project Together
Many people talk about interfaith dialogue, but we aim to focus on multi-faith engagements. These shared experiences allow people of different faiths to work together toward a common good.
4. Standing Up for Each Other During a Crisis
MFNN is focused on creating longtime bonds that build community through religion, not in spite of it. Resilient cities are those that respect people who are different than themselves, respond to change easier, and are better prepared for unexpected events.