Interfaith Fellowship: Focus on common good in these tumultuous times
The Portneuf Valley Interfaith Fellowship (PVIF) is an interreligious coalition serving the Pocatello, Idaho area since the early 1990’s, with an earlier group as its predecessor. Among its members are many branches of monotheist worshipers of the Abrahamic God, Buddhists, and Unitarian Universalists. PVIF’s mission is “…to work together as a diverse group of local faith communities, providing opportunities for interfaith dialogue, developing mutual respect, providing education, and honoring and celebrating what we share as we reach out to those in need. When possible, we speak as a united voice but recognize the right of individual groups to support a different view.” By focusing on common good, on common ground, people who otherwise may never get to know each other because of their different faiths, cultures or backgrounds, develop lasting friendships and an appreciation for their differences.
PVIF hosts several interfaith events throughout the year, based on the following: Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, World Peace Week, and World Day of Prayer. PVIF members meet monthly September through June, on first Tuesdays at noon. Member faith communities take turns hosting these hour-long meetings and providing attendees with lunch. For its annual events, members form sub-committees, sharing the work of preparing community services for the public to enjoy at no cost. By working together, member faith communities develop friendships, deepen understanding of faiths not our own, and discover the joy of so many common grounds issues where we can contribute to the wellbeing of our shared community in Pocatello.
Since its inception, PVIF members express a deepening appreciation for each other. In addition to the interfaith community events, members invite each other to their respective faith community events. For assisting individuals in need, PVIF formed its Fellowship Fund. The area non-profit organization, Aid For Friends (AFF) itself was formed in an interfaith response to urgent need for homelessness intervention. AFF manages the Fellowship Fund and services for PVIF. Contributing faith community members are granted permission to make referrals for at-need services and assistance. With so many area faith communities managing on limited resources, this Fellowship Fund allows all members’ contributions to stretch a bit further for the common good. The public is encouraged to attend PVIF’s community events, all of which are free. The upcoming event, Thanksgiving Community Service, is set for Sunday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m.
Jenny Peek is the Pastor of the Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and is the Vice President of the Portneuf Valley Interfaith Fellowship.