Tri-Faith Initiative of Omaha’s vision of intentionally co-locating a synagogue, church and mosque on a collaborative campus is nearing reality. The organization is comprised of members of the three Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—has announced both the confirmation of the Christian presence and a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Islamic facility on the Tri-Faith campus. This will complete the envisioned tri-faith partnership when they join Temple Israel, constructed in 2013.
“This is one religious interaction that brings people together,” said Bob Freeman, chairman of the Tri-Faith Board of Directors. “It offers a hopeful and specific plan for building long-term collaborative communities.”
Countryside Community Church (United Church of Christ) announced on Sunday that its congregation voted in favor of relocating their church to the Tri-Faith campus, becoming the Christian presence of the Tri-Faith Initiative.
“We have spent many months visioning, discussing, and praying over this decision and as a congregation we have reached the belief that we have been called to relocate our church and to become the Christian presence of the Tri-Faith Initiative,” said Senior Minister Eric Elnes, Countryside Community Church, said.
In 2011, Tri-Faith Initiative of Omaha, Temple Israel, the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska, and the American Muslim Institute (AMI, formerly American Institute for Islamic Studies and Culture) purchased a combined 35 acres of land. The Episcopal Diocese originally planned to build a church at the site and subsequently agreed to sell their land to Countryside Community Church upon the congregational vote for relocation.
AMI secured funding for construction of its nondenominational mosque contingent upon a Christian presence. A ceremonial groundbreaking will take place May 21 with construction starting in the fall.
“We look forward to an enduring, mutually respectful partnership,” said Dr. Syed Mohiuddin, founding member and AMI president.
A shared interfaith center will anchor the campus, which will welcome people of all Abrahamic faiths and provide social, educational and conference facilities. A capital campaign is planned to begin immediately.
Tri-Faith Initiative is governed by a local board of directors with representatives from each faith partner and the community. To date all funding supporting the project is from local sources.