VISITING A HOUSE OF WORSHIP or a religious gathering brings the tradition alive. Hearing special music, participating in ritual, being within the art and architecture of an inner sanctum, sensing candlelight and incense, experiencing the quiet and spaciousness, feeling the community… there is no substitute for being there.
Visiting each other’s “spiritual homes” has long been an important practice within our community interfaith group. For example we have participated in Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Quaker, Unitarian-Universalist, and Jain services. We have also attended life cycle events such as weddings, funerals and memorials, holiday events such as Iftars , and ceremonies like the ordinations of some of our Board Members.
The purpose of this website section is to encourage Interfaith Visits and to share some of our actual experiences. Here you will find ideas about identifying places of worship in your community, preparing for an interfaith visit, initiating the visit, making it most worthwhile and avoiding pitfalls.
Discovering Faith Communities In Your Midst
If you , alone or with family or friends, wish to explore the variety of nearby religious communities you can investigate:
The Internet- Location and Name of Religion
Newspaper Listings of Religious Events
Calendars for Religious Holidays
Places of Worship of Your Friends and Neighbors
Preparations for Making an Interfaith Visit
For the interfaith visitor, entering the world of another’s faith community is not just an external journey. Your experience may be strongly influenced by your own beliefs and customs.
Hosts, of course, will want to be sensitive and welcoming guides.
Both interfaith visitors and hosts can consider:
1. How can I show the appropriate respect and avoid being inadvertently rude? How can I respect others’ practices without compromising my own beliefs?
2. How can I be open to rituals and practices that differ from my beliefs?
3. How can I learn more about rituals and practices from a member of the guest or host faith?
We recommend these sites that have important suggestions for your interfaith visit:
Interfaith visits made by MCWRET board members and friends
Pilgrimage to Siddhachalam (Jain) – by Guest Journalist Jennifer Lieberman
Visit to a Sikh Temple – by Guest Journalist Jennifer Lieberman