Vision, Mission, & History
A community that pursues peace through interfaith understanding and cooperation.
Center for Interfaith Cooperation provides safe environments, resources, and opportunities for service to increase religious literacy, build empathy between faiths, and facilitate interfaith encounters.
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.
Center for Interfaith Cooperation was created in 2011 out of the International Interfaith Initiative, founded by current Executive Director Charlie Wiles.
Headquartered in the Indiana Interchurch Center, Center for Interfaith Cooperation was created to bring together Hoosiers of many faiths in community.
Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) is an outgrowth and extension of several earlier interfaith initiatives in Central Indiana, including the Interfaith Alliance of Indianapolis and the International Interfaith Initiative (the latter of which was a program of the Peace Learning Center from 2006-2011). CIC is proud to build on and expand many of the good projects that appeared in Central Indiana over the last two decades.
Since its formation, CIC has built a robust and diverse network of partnerships with Central Indiana faith congregations, colleges & universities, and civic & community organizations. CIC’s most essential assets in fulfilling our mission are the diversity and activity of our Board.
CIC organizes two signature events every year. The Festival of Faiths is one of the Midwest’s largest one-day celebrations of religious diversity and vitality, attracting thousands of attendees on a Sunday afternoon in downtown Indianapolis to explore the booths of more than 100 congregations and dozens of community organizations and institutions of higher learning.
CIC’s other annual signature event is our Interfaith Banquet, where we honor an Interfaith Ambassador of the Year. We attract an audience of several hundred key civic, educational, philanthropic, and religious leaders to break bread together, celebrate the contributions of one of our community’s interfaith mavens, enjoy a bit of entertainment, and yes, raise some money for CIC!
With a focus on increasing organizational capacity, sustainability, and scalability over time, CIC recognizes that it must graduate from its historic model of operating as a working board bolstered by a small staff and, in its place, adopt a more sustainable model in which the executive director focuses their staff on day-to-day operations, and in a partnering role, the governing board focuses on organizational oversight.
CIC organizes frequent interfaith educational and community events and programming in partnership with other organizations.
- Religious Diversity Training
- A New View Film Series
- Sacred Spaces Tours