When I was an in-person member of IFFP in the mid-2000s, the word “project” in the organization’s title really bothered me. I was a project manager at the time and one of the things I knew about projects was they came to an end. Why put “project” in the title of something you wanted to continue forever? Years later, it finally makes sense.
IFFP was able to react quickly and shift to a virtual platform near the beginning of the COVID pandemic. My family and I were finally able to engage with IFFP again, years after leaving the D.C. area! As things began to calm down and IFFP was able to meet in person again, the virtual aspect continued. Through this new model, IFFP became a hybrid organization with a national and even worldwide reach. The ability and drive to support interfaith couples and families regardless of geographic location is a game changer for our organization.
This opens up opportunities for organizations like the Interfaith Families of Greater Philadelphia (IFFGP). Together with a few other families, we started IFFGP in 2007 to educate ourselves and our children using the IFFP model. We meet at my home, have lay-person-led gatherings, and use an adapted IFFP Sunday School curriculum to fit the needs of our kids. This turned out to be a three-room schoolhouse-style Sunday School. But with a hybrid IFFP, things can really change for IFFGP as well.
Here’s where I finally see how the word “project” fits in. IFFP is a never-ending series of projects and they are always evolving! So here’s my idea for our next project.
I propose what I’m currently calling the Philly Project, but it really can apply to any community where there are a few interfaith couples or families interested in getting together to learn more about Judaism and Christianity. In this model we grow, learn, celebrate, question, and thrive together, enjoying both religious traditions distinctly and equally, regardless of where we are in the world.
The Philly model involves groups of people gathering together locally as virtual members of IFFP to participate in IFFP’s Sunday morning Gathering (a worship service led by our Rabbi and Minister), participate in the Adult Group, have our children join the distance Sunday School and enjoy other IFFP events. This model would allow IFFP to support and foster local interfaith communities, like IFFGP. This would include access to supportive clergy, worship services for holidays (e.g., Rosh Hashanah, Easter, etc.), and other resources that local groups may not be able to provide on their own.
If you’re interested in getting together with other interfaith families either virtually or using the hybrid Philly model, I’d love to hear from you. Please reach out!