The interfaith movement is alive and well in the town of Omaha, Nebraska where Christian, Jewish, and Muslim houses of worship are working together to bring their congregations to a shared campus— the Tri-Faith Commons is the first of its kind not only in the US but the world. “Obviously you can find churches/synagogues/mosques all in proximity to one another in many places (unintentionally), and there’s a start-up effort in Berlin called the House of One (inspired by the Tri-Faith) where the three faiths are moving in to one building. It’s a landmark step in strengthening all three faiths,” says the Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes, pastor of Countryside Community United Church of Christ, one of the three participating congregations in the interfaith initiative.
“It affirms that people of different faiths can live in harmony, finding common ground they didn’t realize they had, and learning about each other through their differences,” Elnes said. “Each faith gets stronger when they are in conversation with one another.”
Dr. Elnes received his Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary and served as Senior Pastor of Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ in Scottsdale, Arizona from 1995 to 2008, when Countryside welcomed him as their Senior Minister. Eric Elnes is also the author of Gifts of the Dark Wood, which WCC studied in 2017 during Lent.