UCC to replace Episcopal Church as member of Omaha Tri-Faith Initiative

TriFaith_fade.jpgThe Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha Nebraska is in the process of gaining a new Christian partner in the project to build an inter-faith campus. Temple Israel has already begun building at the site and the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture plan to break ground this fall. The Episcopal Church is changing its role to one of support for a new full partner Countryside Community Church (UCC). Countryside voted Sunday to enter into this partnership with study and funding implications.

Some background on the Tri-Faith Initiative is found at Episcopal News Service.

Discussion and video of the vote by Countryside Community Church (UCC) is at their website.

The following motion was voted on and passed.

“We authorize the Church Council and its designees to undertake whatever additional steps are necessary to determine the potential costs and implications of relocating our Church to the Tri-Faith campus, as well as what resources are available to cover the costs. The Church Council will provide the Congregation with a report of their findings so that the Congregation can vote at a future meeting of the Congregation, whether to relocate our Church to the Tri-Faith campus.”

The vote tally was as follows:

326 Aye

159 Nay

2 Abstentions

From the Rt Rev Scott Barker of the Diocese of Nebraska. Via email:

Both the timing and the cost have been challenging for the Diocese of Nebraska. The church on the Tri-Faith campus needs to be sufficiently large and vibrant that it can be in equal partnership with a particularly robust Jewish community in Temple Israel. Starting such a congregation from scratch, and constructing a church building to house it, has proven to be a difficult challenge for our diocese. We would have accomplished the work given enough time, but the other faith-partners are far ahead of us in terms of both congregation building and fundraising. In order for the larger project to move ahead, the Christian presence needed a jump-start.

Countryside Community Church has a long history of interfaith ministry and is exactly the kind of large and vibrant local church needed by the Tri-Faith effort. They are welcoming our ongoing support and I know we will offer that in real ways.

I am so proud of the contribution of our Episcopal Church to the Tri-Faith Initiative. We stepped up when no other Christian denomination would, and embraced this vision with over six years of prayer, hard work and an investment of nearly two million dollars. It would not have happened without the Episcopal Church.

+ J. Scott Barker

Time line of the initiative is here.

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