FUSE (Fellowship of Urban Suburban Engagement)
Rabbi Jeremy Gerber
FUSE (Fellowship of Urban Suburban Engagement) is a partnership between houses of worship, community groups, and non-profit organizations in Delaware County, PA. FUSE members are Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. They come from different racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds; and they bring a wide range of cultural traditions to the table.
Creating and maintaining relationships is challenging. The most frequently offered FUSE program is a monthly “Courageous Conversation and Community Meal,” which brings together people of various faiths and cultures from urban Chester and suburban Delaware County. Held in different locations each month, participants become acquainted across divisions that are strengthened by stereotypes and only surmounted by “daring to understand.” It is significant that FUSE’s leadership has been able to move people beyond misunderstandings and inadvertent offenses, creating a culture in which people don’t run from conflict, but stay to work out conflicts and move forward with their relationships.
In addition to “Courageous Conversations,“ FUSE sponsors other events such as an annual holiday celebration, celebrations of MLK day and Black History Month, picnics and concerts. During a recent twelve month period, 1000 people attended the events and programs offered by FUSE.
Peace-making is at the heart of FUSE’s work as it facilitates true, honest, vulnerable relationships. FUSE understands that without this kind of relationship, there is no peace. FUSE is creating the conditions for peace by cultivating the space for people of different backgrounds, experiences, traditions and beliefs to come together around a common table and find that their differences are not barriers nor do their differences mean that they don't share similarities.