What is Interfaith?
Interfaith can simply be defined as "involving persons of different religious, nonreligious, and spiritual traditions".
However, the Interfaith Movement implies much more than a diverse gathering of people. It incorporates intentional communal action in order to build relationships between individuals of different backgrounds so that we may deliberately recognize our religious and cultural differences and come to understand and respect, but not always agree on, those differences.
”To see the other side, to defend another people, not despite of your tradition but because of it, is the heart of pluralism.” – Eboo Patel
Inspired by the guiding ideas of the Interfaith Youth Core's mission, the Kansas City Interfaith Youth Alliance proudly strives to promote three core values of "Interfaith":
Lead - Serve - Grow
The leadership for KCIYA consists of a group of adult mentors and a leadership council of high school students from the KC metro area. The leadership council meets on a monthly basis to plan community service projects, hands-on interfaith learning experiences, and social events to meet and encourage dialogue between diverse groups of youth. KCIYA works to empower youth to develop their own leadership skills and discover that they have the potential to disprove harmful religious stereotypes.
Based on our shared value of service, KCIYA organizes service projects to unite youth of different faiths and backgrounds. In seeing people live out their faith through helping others, we strive to promote more meaningful and positive connections with those of different faiths. In dialogue sessions after each service project, we ask youth to share why they think it is important to serve others and what aspects of their faith tradition promote the value of serving their community.
In keeping with the sage words of Eboo Patel, we gather together, not to escape our own religions, but to strengthen our individual beliefs as we share our traditions with each other. Communicating your beliefs requires that you yourself first have a foundation of understanding. By asking each member to present his/her own story, we strive to support individuals as they grow in their faith.