Statements & Press Releases
Center for Interfaith Cooperation is about words. Words that express our humanity and help to define our relationship to the divine through our relationship with one another across a beautifully diverse religious landscape.
Sacred texts and words of wisdom from all our faith traditions help to guide daily actions as well as inform thoughts about eternity.
Our goal in producing statements is not only to seek common language and understanding regarding particular events, but also to illuminate the places where we have honest differences. CIC’s mission is to build empathy for other positions while further defining and challenging our individual convictions.
We have never hesitated to stand in solidarity when any one of our faith communities is attacked. We all vigorously support an open pluralistic society where everyone feels free to worship as they choose or not to worship at all. Our challenges come when it when we approach social issues and the pursuit of equity in all we do. We pride ourselves in building trust across theological and ideological difference.
Below are more statements from CIC and community partners. We hope that you join the conversation and bring your voice to the ongoing conversation.
CIC Values Statement
The Board, Officers and Staff of Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) value and respect people. As a result, we appreciate diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, socioeconomic background, age, religious belief, and any other differences that have been used to divide people. We work to ensure that our membership represents the fullness of the community in which we are located. We are dedicated to diversity in our positions of leadership and in decision-making conversations.
CIC emphatically renounces occasions throughout history where faith and religion have been used to encourage and justify antisemitism, racism, white supremacy, war, discrimination, genocide, sexism, violence, poverty, and any other form of bigotry or oppression. CIC recognizes that these practices are antithetical to the teachings of all religious traditions. The Board, Officers, and Staff of CIC acknowledge their own conscious and unconscious biases that perpetuate injustice and commit themselves to continuous learning and actively pursuing behavior that demonstrates the intrinsic value of all people.
CIC is focused on education and service. It is not an advocacy organization and does not typically track or comment on legislation or lobby for political action at the local, national, or international level. However, CIC believes in seeking equity, diversity, and inclusion. We will collaborate with individuals, faith communities, and organizations that share its values and support interfaith initiatives that build relationships, support the vulnerable in our community, and create hospitable spaces for dialogue and service. CIC recognizes the wisdom, reflected in all religious traditions, of treating others as we would like to be treated.
CIC recognizes, respects, and celebrates the fact that each of the world’s faith traditions is unique and that many of the differences between those traditions are irreconcilable. However, CIC is also aware that there is commonality across all faith traditions that share a deep longing for a more peaceful, just, and verdant community, both in central Indiana and across the globe. The Board, Officers and Staff of CIC understand that differences in our religious traditions can make it challenging to find consensus, but we believe that there is strength in these differences. We do not seek to dictate specific policies for the governance of organizations and groups with which we are associated. However, we do commit to certain behaviors within CIC:
• We are actively working to eradicate racism and discrimination from our
organization, striving to vigilantly address macro and microaggressions.
• We strive to operate with transparency.
• We seek to listen actively and share openly.
• We are adaptable, understanding that change is integral to growth.
• We are dedicated to the wellness of our community, including our staff, board,
volunteers, and AmeriCorps members. We aim to provide a workplace that fosters
physical and mental health.
• We value hospitality. We extend invitations openly, and we strive to provide
accommodations where necessary to ensure equitable experiences.
Founding CIC Board Chair launches initiative to recenter Indiana politics
2023 Interfaith Ambassador - Jerry Zehr
“Jerry Zehr is an ordained minister and has been a parish minister for over 35 years. He has had a passion for interfaith work from the beginning of his ministries. In 1989 while serving his first pastorate, he helped form and became the President of the Indianapolis Interfaith Alliance. Before this time, there were Jewish/ Christian dialogue groups but no organization that included Muslims, Bahai, and other faith traditions.
He has been a leader in Interfaith ministries for over 35 years, helping to create four interfaith organizations, including the Carmel Interfaith Alliance and the Indiana Multifaith Network. He was a member of the Northern Kentucky Interfaith Commission. He was on the planning team that hosted the Yom Ha Shoah service every year for Jewish and Christian remembrance of the Holocaust in Florence, Kentucky. He was on the Board of Associated Churches and United Way in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
He was the Chairperson of Vision Southside (a coalition of Faith communities and businesses seeking to make the Southside of Fort Wayne, Indiana, a more viable area for business and residence). They developed a video that received three different awards from the state of Indiana.
Rev. Zehr led congregational efforts that have made possible many specific projects in the rebuilding of Bosnia after the war in 1995, including supplying tractors, orchards of fruit trees, and 50,000 of seed money for micro-credit loans. The different faith communities were required to work together, or they would not receive these funds. He has led several Habitat house builds resulting in over a dozen local churches funding and framing seven houses.
Retired from parish ministry after serving Carmel Christian Church in Carmel, Indiana, he received the Range Line Pioneer Award from Mayor Brainard in 2021.
He has a new book entitled “The Peacemaker’s Path: Multifaith Reflections to Deepen Your Spirituality.” Through daily readings that explore the tenets, teachings, writings, and prayers of these diverse faith traditions, you will gain new insight, understanding, and connection with people from different religious backgrounds. Each day offers a reflection, scripture passages from the world’s religions, questions to contemplate, a call to action, and a closing prayer.
Jerry and his wife Diane have been married for over 37 years with two daughters and two grandchildren.”