Since our founding in 2004, Interfaith Philadelphia has challenged the region's residents to dare to understand one another. Our bold vision is to have our region reflect the vibrancy of a religiously diverse democracy, one in which all people are valued, distinctive traditions are welcomed, and people of diverse backgrounds collaborate to shape a just and compassionate society.
Our work is local.
We strive to help the Philadelphia five county region become a vibrant, religiously diverse democracy. This requires work with individuals and institutions, youth and adults, leadership and the grassroots. All residents of our region are our constituency.
Religious literacy is critical to all sectors, vocations and is an important dimension of civil society.
Understanding the customs, practices holidays, dietary needs, sacred texts, arts, core stories and teachings of diverse faith traditions is essential to creating a stronger, more connected community, where religious diversity is not only tolerated but appreciated.
Our call to action is Dare to understand.
We invite people to speak authentically and listen respectfully; to listen to understand. This takes curiosity, humility and courage. People know us best when we are able to tell our own story. In coming to know others, we better understand ourselves. This enables us to discover our commonalities, and celebrate our distinctiveness.
We embrace the widest possible table and encourage people to stay at the table.
We value the dignity and worth of every individual, we respect multiple world views, and we strive to create spaces for all to express their whole and distinctive identities.
Collaboration and relationships are essential, and take time.
This work cannot be done alone, and building trust, understanding, and cooperation takes time. We value our partners and program participants, and are committed to investing in, and strengthening these relationships. Systems change expertise reminds us that “collaborations benefit from the differences among the collaborators, and require nurturing. Systems change requires patience; it requires collaborative intent and action; it requires an ability to see the world differently and through the eyes of another.“* Enduring change needs investment over time.
We value institutions and their leadership, as well as grassroots constituents and activists.
We recognize they are each critical for social change and can co-exist. Challenging the edges, (from within and without,) is needed for new ideas and norms to break through. Healthy structure and institutions are needed for change to endure.
We value freedom of religious expression as a justice issue, honoring the myriad of ways people self-identify and orient around religion and spirituality.
Religious freedom is foundational to democracy and to the city of Philadelphia. We value the dignity and worth of everyone, and strive to help our region be one where all are fully welcomed and valued.