The Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia was founded in April 2006, in order to build relationships of mutual support, offer a moral and spiritual voice in the region, and identify issues of local concern for dialogue and action. Co-convened by Archbishop Nelsen Pérez, Rabbi David Straus, Imam Anwar Muhaimin, and Bishop Daniel Gutiérrez, the Council is the first of its kind in the city, with more than 30 member communities, representing more than two million people of diverse faith traditions from across the greater Philadelphia region.
Highlights of the Council’s work have included Interfaith Inaugural Prayer Gatherings for Mayors Michael Nutter and Jim Kenney, an Interfaith Memorial Prayer Service honoring the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and other interfaith gatherings during times of particular need in the city. Since its inception, the Council’s focus has been to identify ways in which its members’ communities can come together to address the city’s growing epidemic of violence, to appeal for the respect and dignity of all persons, and to invigorate our region's leaders to lift up those most in need of support and prayer.
In these efforts, the Council has issued a jointly-created Pledge for Peace; a Call for Civility in Political Discourse; public policy statements on Illegal Possession of Guns, Immigration Reform, Anti-Islamic Advertising Campaign in Philadelphia, and the Syrian Refugee Crisis; and press releases following acts of hate and vandalism at a local mosque and Jewish cemetery. Through its community-wide initiative, Zones of Peace, the Council has committed the resources of its congregations, members, and rich religious traditions to carrying through the mission of creating a Philadelphia region free from fear, filled with respect, and marked by deeds of kindness.
Zones of Peace is a region-wide interfaith movement of churches, synagogues, mosques, other houses of worship, schools, and community-based organizations working to address the root causes of violence and make us safer in the communities where we live, work, and play. Zones of Peace recognizes organizations that are pioneering creative responses to violence and elevates their leadership.