Free Speech and Religion

Building Interfaith Bridges: West Michigan’s Journey Toward Principled Pluralism

September 22, 2022  • Religion & Society Program

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This report follows up on the Religion & Society Program’s 2015 publication, Interfaith Engagement in West Michigan: A Brief History and Analysis. The report follows over thirty years of interfaith collaboration and partnership in two West Michigan communities, Grand Rapids and Muskegon.

Like many places, West Michigan has a long history of religious diversity. People of many faiths have lived in community for years on end. Yet unlike many places in the U.S., their interfaith journey has been cultivated with purpose and intention, filled with thoughtful dialogue, and nourished by a curiosity to learn about one another. Throughout this examination of the interfaith experience in these communities, we see a framework for what’s possible in other communities across the country. This interfaith tale of two cities demonstrates that with committed individuals and the ability to acknowledge and honor differences, interfaith work can span decades and build lifelong relationships.

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