Founded in the wake of 9/11
Most of the members of the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit were founding members of the Interfaith Partners, a group that started at a meeting on September 12, 2001. At that meeting, clergy and community leaders met in the aftermath of 9/11 to plan a joint prayer service, which was held at Detroit’s Fort Street Presbyterian Church.
Enlisting the congregations
The group continued to meet monthly, moderated by Rev. Daniel Krichbaum, then the executive director of the Detroit office of the National Conference for Community Justice, which later became the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion. Very early in its work, the group decided to take the interfaith effort to congregations rather than to confine their work to dialogue among individuals. Efforts focused on joint service projects to get congregations involved.
During this period, Rev. Dan Buttry, who is now secretary of the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit board, drafted a concept paper outlining the goals and plans for the Interfaith Partners, and that paper served as an important guide and outline for the activities of the interfaith community in the Detroit area for the past decade.
The group’s work continued to expand with the support of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion and its assistant director Steve Spreitzer, who was the group’s main contact.
“Reuniting the Children of Abraham”
In one of the Interfaith Partners’ signature activities, member Brenda Rosenberg started the “Reuniting the Children of Abraham” project, a theatrical production with a diverse cast of young Muslims, Christians and Jews, described as “a peace initiative that uses the creative arts to build bridges of understanding.”
Among numerous other honors, the Reuniting the Children of Abraham project received the 2004 community service award from the NCCJ and was featured in a CBS News special on religion in America.
The call to prayer
The Interfaith Partners also were key to resolving a controversy in Hamtramck in 2004 over the The Adhan,or call to prayer, being aired by some of that community’s emerging Muslim congregations. Through community meetings and interfaith advocacy, leaders of the Interfaith Partners were key to resolving the issue, leading the Hamtramck city council to unanimously pass a resolution allowing the practice.
Another important milestone came out of the education committee of the Interfaith Partners, the booksInterfaith Heroes, Volumes One and Volume Two, written by Dan Buttrey, have been the result.
The women’s interfaith group, WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit) has, as one of its co-founders, Gail Katz, who is a current IFLC director and was a former Interfaith Partner.
InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit
In 2010, leaders on the Interfaith Partners saw a need to create a new organizational structure for the group, and formed the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, a faith-based civic organization made up of independent, visionary clerical and lay leaders of many faiths. The goals of the group are to bring together, encourage and nurture interfaith groups and networks; to support conciliation between and among religious groups as well as the community at large through active conflict resolution; and to promote interfaith education so that the metropolitan Detroit community can benefit from the synergies and creative benefits that knowledge and understanding can provide.