InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington
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|Motto||Uniting Our Community Since 1978|
|Reverend Clark Lobenstine (Executive Director 1979-2014), Rabbi Gerald Serotta, (Executive Director 2014 - present)|
The InterFaith Council of Metropolitan Washington (IFC or IFCMW) is an interfaith non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.. The organization was founded in 1978 and the Reverend Clark Lobenstine served as the first Executive Director from 1979-2014. Rabbi Gerry Serotta is the current Executive Director. The IFC brings together eleven historic faith communities to promote dialogue, understanding and community and to work on projects of common interest throughout the DC region. Through its events, resources and collaborations, IFC aspires to uphold the worth and dignity of all people and all life, to provide opportunities for interfaith engagement, increase religious literacy and promote mutual respect among diverse faiths.
In an interview with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs in 2011, Executive Director Lobenstine said, "The Interfaith Conference was founded by the Islamic, Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Jewish communities and was the first organization to engage the Islamic community back in a metropolitan area in both interfaith dialogue and interfaith collaboration for justice in 1978. Since then Baha’i, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Latter Day Saint, Sikh, and Zoroastrian believers have joined. We now represent eleven faith-based communities. The founders before I started were clear that the Conference wouldn’t do service, but rather enact justice by building a just community as well as through interfaith dialogue. These principles continue to guide us still and our Center for Nurturing Understanding is focused on applying those ideals to young people."
IFC Member Faiths
Goals and Programs
Upholding the Worth and Dignity of all People and all Life
- In our collaboration with Interfaith Power & Light, IFC promotes stewardship for the Earth and helps diverse religious communities find their own religious response to climate change by providing opportunities for education and action.
- Serves more than 300,000 people in need of critical services throughout metropolitan Washington with IFC’s up-to-date online Emergency Resources Directory, a searchable database of approximately 400 direct social service providers.
- Through our WIROC (Washington Interfaith Response and Outreach Coalition) initiative, IFC provides grassroots, public demonstrations of support by and for individuals and communities throughout the Greater DC Area and engages in pro-active outreach opportunities throughout the year.
Providing Opportunities for Interfaith Engagement
- Organizes the annual Interfaith Concert. Each fall, this “Celebration of the Sacred in Song, Dance and Chant” features singers, musicians, and dancers as well as other luminaries from half a dozen traditions.
- Sponsors the annual Interfaith Bridge Builders’ Awards, which celebrates the achievements of leaders in the DC region who have committed themselves tirelessly to building a more pluralistic society.
- Convenes the annual DC Interfaith Leadership Summit, a day of focused dialogue among young DC area leaders from a variety of faith traditions.
- Supports the Interfaith Dinner Dialogue Program in neighborhoods throughout the region.
Increasing Religious Literacy and Promoting Mutual Respect
- Sponsors the annual Unity Walk. Each September, this walk along “Embassy Row” brings together diverse people in a public demonstration of unity and solidarity.
- Resources educational institutions and promotes the study of comparative religions, especially through the Strengthening Teaching About Religion (STAR) book and its supplements.
- Through the Interfaith Speaker’s Bureau, IFC provides diverse speakers on topics of interest to the community.
- Sponsors a multi-faith worship service to commemorate MLK’s Birthday each year.
- Other special activities related to significant events in the history of interfaith relations.
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