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Executive director named for Omaha Tri-Faith Initiative

February 16, 2018

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The first executive director of a tri-faith campus in Omaha is a minister from New York City.

The Rev. Donald E. Heckman was announced as the executive director of the nonprofit Tri-Faith Initiative Thursday, the Omaha World-Herald reported . Heckman has recently served as executive director of Religions for Peace USA.

Leaders of the initiative said Heckman’s leadership is welcomed.

“He brings passion, well-respected expertise, a track record of developing nonprofits, and unique insights into the future of interfaith relations,” said Tri-Faith board President Dr. Maryanne Stevens, a Catholic nun and the president of the College of St. Mary.

The $65 million Tri-Faith campus already features a synagogue built by Temple Israel and a mosque built by the American Muslim Institute. A new Countryside Community Church is under construction and is expected to open next year. Leaders are also planning for a fourth interfaith structure.

Heckman will plan events and conferences, as well as find ways for the three faiths to work together.

“What is unique about it,” Heckman said, “is the intentionality of three different faiths on one campus environment doing programming together and having a presence that stretches into a community and beyond.”

Congregation members are ready to begin having long-term and respectful relationships that go beyond typical niceties and tackle more difficult issues, Heckman said.

“The possibilities for peacemaking that Tri-Faith presents really offer an opportunity that has not existed since the foundation of all three of the Abrahamic faiths,” said the Rev. Eric Elnes of Countryside Community Church.

Tri-Faith Initiative was founded in 2006 and is run by a board of directors.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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