The purpose of the Carbondale Interfaith Council is to make God’s love visible in our community by fostering interfaith cooperation, sharing religious experiences, engaging in service, discovering unity while respecting our differences, and speaking with courage and strength for justice. (Statement of Purpose adopted c. 2001)
A Brief History
The Carbondale Interfaith Council is proud of more than 40 years of building bridges between people of faith in our community and working together to make God’s Love Visible! The Interfaith Council first formed in May 1971 as a Christian association, inspired by the Consultation on Church Union. Over the past thirty years, that initial ecumenical spirit broadened into a true interfaith perspective. Today the Council includes representatives of major Protestant and Catholic faith traditions as well as active Muslim, Jewish, Mormon, Unitarian, Pagan, Buddhist, Sufi, Hindu, and Baha’i participants. The Council continues to form vital partnerships between organizations that support interfaith work, spiritual well-being, justice, peace, and equality. The Council also values its long relationship with Southern Illinois University. Faculty members helped to form the Council. University staff and students continue to participate in dialogues, service, and membership.
What We Do
The Carbondale Interfaith Council embodies its vision to “Make Love Visible” in a variety of ways.
The Council’s faith communities pooled resources to open the region’s first homeless shelter. Good Samaritan Ministries, established in 1985, also provides a transitional house, food pantry, and emergency services. Other charitable works include facilitating the Spirit of Christmas project, which delivers Christmas gifts to economically disadvantaged children in the region, and Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.
In 2004, the Council undertook responsibility for coordinating Carbondale’s Ralph Anderson Interfaith Dialogue series (formerly known as the Jewish/Christian/Muslim Dialogues). The Council sponsors several dialogues a year that educate on specific faiths and practices, and invite multi-faith perspectives on current events and issues. The Council also has hosted special guests at the forefront of faith, justice, and peace work.
Other work of the Council includes annual interfaith events such as Carbondale in Thanksgiving, and ecumenical events such as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In recent years, the Council has held several special events such as Interfaith Week and the community’s tenth anniversary remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001. The Council also supports and promotes community events such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Service and the Alternative Gift Fair.
President: Scott Martin, Baha’i Community of Southern Illinois
Vice-President: Dr. Mazhar Butt, Islamic Center of Carbondale
Secretary: Rebecca Marten, Congregation Beth Jacob
Treasurer: Jack Wides, Congregation Beth Jacob