Our Living Stories: Celebrating a Year of Interfaith Family Journeys

Rabbi and Reverend

This past year, our interfaith community’s theme was “Our Living Stories.”  Together, we embarked on a storytelling journey. Our biblical texts came to life in new and unexpected ways. We became vulnerable storytellers in formal and informal ways. Here are a few of the (of the many) stories we will cherish:

  • Last fall, our teens acted out the parable of the Good Samaritan during Gathering. We watched as “the Good Samaritan” helped a fallen man to his feet. There was something moving about seeing this familiar story come to life before our eyes. We were invited into it and the vivid images stayed with us long after the story ended. 
  • During Purim, our Sunday School students acted out the story of how Queen Esther helped keep the Jewish people safe. Their mature and witty storytelling left many of us with a feeling of renewed hope during this chaotic chapter in our world. We were reminded that this story is one we must continue to hear year after year.

Personal storytelling also played a significant role in our community during these months together. At Gatherings, in classes and during social times, we shared our family histories, the names we’ve been given, and the lessons passed down through generations, the interfaith relationships that changed us. We discussed the injustices, pain and conflicts of our time – and how we are navigating it all. We listened with empathy to individual tales different from our own and invited people into our unique stories. We even cheered for eight of our members, who shared their real-life stories of fumbling through interfaith relationships and identity on stage. 

When Rabbi Debbie reflects on her own story this past year, she recalls a goldfinch that spent last summer pecking at her window. Her family named him Poe. Seeing Poe back at her window recently made her realize that she was much like him throughout the year. Initially, she was bright and happy, but from October 7th onward, things got tough. Like Poe, she faded some during the winter. The IFFP community offered her patience and support, which helped strengthen her to find her way back.

Reverend Sam’s holds close in her heart the story of doing communion together on Easter for the first time in decades. Our interfaith community participated in ways that felt true for them: some partook of the bread and cup in person or online, some sang “For Everyone Born a Place at the Table,” from their seats, some came up and crossed their arms to receive a blessing. The experience was one of deep connection and intimacy:  through nourishment, words, and song we celebrated that everyone has a place here – just as they are.

The community dances together to Hava Nagila.

Looking back at this year, we invite each of us to hold tight to the stories that have been most meaningful and grounding.  Each story is a vital part of our collective narrative – our life together. As we move into IFFP’s 30th year, weremember that our story is just beginning. There is much for us to continue to explore and dive into together.  So, may we be generous in our listening and in our sharing. And may we remember that we are writing this glorious interfaith story together. We can’t wait to see what the next chapter will bring.



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