Omaha’s Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities are going to get a lot closer. From the World Herald:
Omaha Jewish, Muslim and Christian organizations have purchased land for neighboring houses of worship, and at least one, Temple Israel, plans to begin construction in the spring of 2012, leaders of the Tri-Faith Initiative said Tuesday.
Construction also is expected to begin next year on a planned fourth building, called a Tri-Faith Center, with social, educational and conference facilities that all the groups could use.
A synagogue for Temple Israel, a mosque and study center for the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture, a church for the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska and the Tri-Faith Center would be built near 132nd and Pacific Streets, as part of a development on the site of the former Ironwood Country Club….
Barker, who said the Episcopal diocese had invested $1 million so far, called Tuesday a day of great rejoicing. “We hope to be nothing less than a witness to the world of what is possible when people of different faiths work together,” he said.
The article notes Barker’s observation that community-building will precede any construction.
Last week, the National Council of Churches announced it would honor Episcopalians in Omaha as models of interfaith cooperation.
World Herald columnist Michael Kelly provides a little background, including some speculation about what has made the Tri-Faith Initiative work. He says there may be an intangible phenomenon at play call the “Midwestern ‘politeness’ factor.”