A “Best Spiritual Book of the Year.”
Spirituality & Practice

Interactive Faith: The Essential Interreligious Community-Building Handbook

Drawing on the knowledge and experience of interfaith leaders from the world's many faiths, this practical guide will help you effectively engage people of other faith traditions to increase understanding and acceptance in your community and beyond.

Edited by Rev. Bud Heckman
with Rori Picker Neiss
Foreword by Rev. Dirk Ficca

6 x 9, 304 pp | 978-1-59473-237-9

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A Practical Guide for Embracing the Growing Religious Pluralism in America

“In the process of [interfaith] engagement, we discover ... a world in which our faith is richer, deeper, and more contextualized, and God's very Self is seen in more of its fullness.”

—from the Introduction

This practical guide to the key methods and resources of the interfaith movement will help you effectively engage people of other faith traditions in order to increase understanding and acceptance in your community and beyond.

Drawing on the knowledge and experience of interfaith leaders from the world's many faith traditions—Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Bah‡'’ Faith, Jainism, Shinto, Sikh Faith, Taoism, Zoroastrianism—this comprehensive resource provides practical ideas for connecting with people of all faiths and backgrounds through common concerns and activities that promote respect and support. It enables communities rich with diversity to work together to create paths toward peace and justice.

“A powerful resource for anyone involved with or looking to become involved with interfaith activities.”


“Fascinating.... Useful hands-on essays.... 100% practical.”

Jewish Book World

“Serves as a primer to those who may be new to the movement or find themselves in need of fresh ideas…. Should be required reading for clergy and anyone interested in furthering the cause of pluralism.”

Publishers Weekly

“Provides vital [information] on how interreligious dialogue can be developed on a community level. Contributors … share valuable insights in a very readable fashion.”

John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, PhD, professor of social ethics and director, Catholic-Jewish Studies Program, Catholic Theological Union; president, International Council of Christians and Jews

“A critical resource for those leading their communities past intolerance and fear into hope, understanding, and social change. Inspires the reader while providing cutting-edge methods to help communities build trust and celebrate our diversity and common goals.”

Rev. Jennifer Butler, executive director, Faith in Public Life

“A wonderful handbook that should be on the bookshelf of every member of the clergy. It provides practical and inspirational resources for communal interfaith programming.”

Rabbi Leonard A. Schoolman, director, The Center for Religious Inquiry, Saint Bartholomew’s Church, New York; author of The Changing Christian World: A Brief Introduction for Jews

“Shows how practically dialogue can deepen our understanding and practice of our own faith traditions and at the same time help us to develop an understanding and respect for the faith traditions of others.”

Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, national director, Interfaith and Community Alliance, Islamic Society of North America

“A book that can make a dramatic difference. Will enable communities to think constructively about religious difference in conversation across the divides. Anyone seriously interested in dialogue and peace between the different religious traditions must read this book.”

The Very Rev. Ian Markham, PhD, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary

“A must read for those of us involved in national faith-based organizations and an excellent guide for working in our local communities. It has a wealth of background information and a very useful resource section. The guidelines for language use is very important for our dialogue in multifaith  groups. Our communication colleagues will find this a very important book to have in their libraries for reference.”

Shirley Whipple Struchen, executive director, Religion Communicators Council

Foreword by Rev. Dirk Ficca xi
Acknowledgments xv

Interfaith Dialogue: What Is It and Why Is It Important? 1

Creating Interreligious Community through Dialogue

1. Dialogue through Conversation—Spoken Dialogue 23
by Rev. Dr. Francis Tiso
2. Dialogue through Arts—"Opening the World's Door" 43
by Abby Stamelman Hocky, MSW, Rev. Susan Teegen-Case, and Rabbi Carol Harris-Shapiro
3. Dialogue through Observation and Participation— Interfaith Prayer Services 77
by Rev. Dr. Clark Lobenstine

Living Interreligious Dialogue through Service and Advocacy

4. Action through Service—From Shared Values to Common Action 111
by Dr. Eboo Patel, April Kunze, and Noah Silverman
5. Action through Advocacy: Many Faiths, Common Purpose 139
by Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy

Interfaith Resources

6. Brief Overview of Faith Traditions 157
7. Interfaith Organizations and the Web 191
8. Suggestions for Other Resources 215

Appendix A
A Taxonomy of Interfaith
by Bud Heckman 223
Appendix B
A Closer Look at Swidlerճ ҄ialogue DecalogueӼbr /> by Rev. Dr. Francis Tiso 231
Appendix C
A Formal Model: The West Coast Dialogue of Catholics and Muslims
by Rev. Dr. Francis Tiso 241

Notes 253
About the Contributors 257
About Religions for Peace 261
Index 263