The ARK, A Publication of the American Association of Interchurch Families; October, November & December 2013 ; Volume 24; Edition 4

Passing on our Faith Traditions to Future Generations while living in  a Culturally Diverse and Globally Oriented Society   ~ We Reflect.

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The ARK, A Publication of the American Association of Interchurch Families

October, November & December 2013                         Volume 24; Edition 4

International Standard Serial Number:   ISSN 1943-6467 (print)

                                                                    ISSN 2160-682X  (online)

ARK Logo clip art from the Natellas for the ARK

Earlier editions of the ARK may be found at http://www.interchurchfamilies.org/                                           Select “Other Publications”  ~ Then scroll down to find the ARK

AAIF is an official affiliate of the Interchurch Families International Network – IFIN                           

Interchurch Families:   Christian Unity Made Visible in our  Households  

Interchurch Families “Listen with the ear of your heart”                     

– Carrying Forward the theme from the 2012 AAIF Conference held in Minnesota until we gather again in 2016

“I Give Thanks for Our Diversity”

“I was in Cheyenne country last night, gathered around the Drum as the ancient songs rose into the night sky. I was there with people from many Native nations, attending an Honor Dance for a revered elder, my own spiritual mentor of many long years past. The Great Spirit enfolded us in a shawl of starlight, the sliver of the moon a pale eye sleeping.

All people have a tradition to share. All cultures have a beauty within them. I give thanks for our diversity, for the songs we sing, the circle of our proud memory.”

~  The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, Choctaw

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The ARK© Copyright 2013 AAIF all rights reserved 

A Publication of the American Association of Interchurch Families 

AAIF IS A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION,                                                             REGISTERED IN THE STATE OF NEBRASKA 

End of page 1 of The ARK, A Publication of the American Association of Interchurch Families; October, November & December 2013 Volume 24; Edition 4

Contents

Page 1 ………….  Theme: Passing on our Faith Traditions to Future Generations While living in a Culturally Diverse and Globally Oriented Society    ~ We Reflect

Page 1 …..“I Give Thanks for Our Diversity” by The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, Choctaw

Page 2  …………  Contents;  AAIF Contacts: AAIF 2013 OFFICERS

Pages 3 & 4  …. “Passing on our Faith Traditions to Future Generations                              while living in a Culturally Diverse and Globally Oriented Society” ~                              Implications for Interchurch Families by M.J. Glauber

Page 4 ………….  All Things Bright And Beautiful Hymn – lyrics upon which we may reflect

Pages 5 & 6 …..  Interfaith Marriages: Religious Tolerance or Religious Dilution?  by Martin E. Marty; The Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion The University of Chicago Divinity School

Pages 7 & 8 …..  How do we pass on our faith to children?  Implications For Interchurch                             Families

Pages 9 – 12        Passing on the Faith: Teaching the Next Generation by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield with Implications for Interchurch Families

Pages 12 – 17 …. Just Imagine: Considering the Theological Insights of Children  by Ivy Beckwith with Implications for Interchurch Families

Pages 17 – 20 … Less Talk, More Action  by Mark Yaconelli with  Implications for Interchurch Families

Pages 20 – 23 … My Six Essentials for Passing on the Faith by Phyllis Tickle                             with Implications for Interchurch Families

Page 23 ……….. Considering How To Be Centered On That of God by The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, Choctaw

Page 23-24 ……..The Ecumenical Corner: Fr. Ernest Falardeau, SSS

Report on the National Workshop on Christian Unity 2013

Pages 24 – 25 … Save the Dates for the 2014 NWCU and the Ecumenical Advocacy Days

Pages 26-27…..  Interchurch Couple to mark 72 years of marriage by Marnie McAllister

Pages 28 – 29 ….. The Diane Rheem Show on NPR ~ Religious Traditions And Challenges For Interfaith Families

Page 30 ………..  Many Thanks

AAIF Contacts: AAIF 2013 OFFICERS:

CO-CHAIR = Libbye & Guy Montgomery aaif.co.chair@gmail.com

VICE CO-CHAIR = Lynne & Doug Wragge lynnewragge@hotmail.com

SECRETARY = Diane & Lamar Burton lamarb52@hotmail.com

TREASURER = Elaine & Clint Hall l.elaine.hall@gmail.com

The current term of office will be from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014, at which time another election will be held. Please contact any of the above mentioned officers if you would like to have information about how to become more actively involved with AAIF.

End of page 2  of The ARK, A Publication of the American Association of Interchurch Families; October, November & December 2013 Volume 24; Edition 4

“Passing on our Faith Traditions to Future Generations while living in a Culturally Diverse and Globally Oriented Society” with Implications for Interchurch Families  

 by M.J. Glauber

An online Facebook page posted the following,

“There is a longing in our hearts for something more than the surface and boundaries of everyday life. We want to know that we are guided and not alone in the universe. We have the potential to turn towards subtler realms and to regain contact with guardian forces, celestial beings that have a compassionate awareness of our existence and seek to assist us in our evolutionary development.”

In spite of the findings of a recent Pew Study on Religion in the USA that reported that the Non-affiliated numbers are increasing dramatically while membership in mainline American Churches has declined, USA Today has observed that many with no religion are still open to spirituality. For a number of years, I have often heard people state that they are spiritual, but not religious. The findings of the recent Pew Report on religion reflect precisely what many of us may have heard in passing while now we can note the greater implications and impact that the Pew Report findings hold for our American Society.

Professor Martin Marty poses the question regarding the impact of interchurch/interfaith marriages in a recent edition of “Sightings” asking if marrying across denominational lines promotes  greater “Religious Tolerance or Religious Dilution?”

Professor Martin Marty observes that many people are reflecting on intermarriage at this time. He says, “Years ago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin introduced himself to a Protestant gathering upon his arrival in Chicago. He told the audience that he read the appeals by couples to enter into interfaith marriages, Catholic rules being tough. He surprised all when he said that he was cheered when couples took the issue seriously, and his spirit sagged when they were casual and un-knowing. For good reason. Bernardin’s is not the only reaction or response, but it invites reflection.”

In this edition of the ARK, I will include the “Reflections” of other other people regarding how we pass on our faith tradition to the next generation.

Many  interchurch couples and their extended families have asked about the religious education of the children. The reality is that even  for “same church families” how to pass on their faith to the next generation is also asked.

At the 2010 AAIF Conference our plenary speaker noted that all marriages are a form of blending of two family systems; even if the couple comes from the same denomination each of the partners bring their own family traditions with them into the marriage. All families are called to reflect on their own religious traditions and beliefs as well as how these will be passed onto the next generation.

Wikipedia explains that “Patheos (an online website) is used for learning about other religions, while people use Beliefnet (another online website) to explain their own religion.” In this edition of the ARK, we will take into consideration some of the entries posted by “Patheos.”

We are keenly aware that we come from a church that has a long history. It would mean doing a lot of research and  perhaps then the writing of a doctoral dissertation so that we could begin to analyze how that collective church history has affected our American society both in the past and now in the present moment. However, it may simply have to serve for the moment that we are aware that how we understand church history may vary from person to person based on their own unique experiences even among people who are in the same denomination.

Through “Patheos”, We read that Ivy Beckwith observes that Walter Bruggeman’s concept of prophetic imagination gives us the task to evoke an alternative community that knows it is about different things in different ways from the culture at large. Religion gives us a sense of hope.

Mark Yaconelli explains that, “In my town, children and youth are looking for people with mischief in their eyes, people willing to say “yes” to the active pursuit of love.”

Phyliis Tickle indicates that “one of the things we as mentoring Christians need most urgently to turn our energies toward is adult classes in teaching each other how to be good storytellers and then in learning in detail the stories of both the Hebrew and the Christian scriptures that most need our telling.”  She also observes the importance of the ordinary aspects of our daily life, which many of us perceive to be our own Domestic Church” or our “Little Church of the Home.” Family meals take on a great importance for how we raise our children in our beliefs.

The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, Choctaw, observes that God is love in action in our lives and he expresses gratitude to God for our diversity.

All of these are reflections on religion in the U.S.A. at this time in history. Perhaps because we are interchurch families, we feel a need to reflect on how we share our faith with the next generation. The important point is that we need to actively reflect on how we live our lives.

What is the on-going self-talk that seeps  out in how we live our lives?

God is so great that we need to consider and reflect on every personal glimpse that each reflection in this edition of the ARK may provide to us.

Whether we are interchurch, same church families or now even if we consider ourselves to be among the “non-affiliated or nones,” may we feel further encouraged and inspired to reflect on that of God as we encounter that of God in the world around us. May we find hope and love to inspire our actions and beliefs.

We will have a special treat in this edition of the ARK as we read about the 75th Wedding Anniversary of an Interchurch Couple written by Marnie McAllister

        ~ M.J. Glauber

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All Things Bright And Beautiful Hymn

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows for our play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

We sang this hymn frequently when I was a child. The lyrics greatly impressed me then and they may well have helped to shape my values. I am still moved by the lyrics as an adult that speak in praise of God’s Creation.                                              ~ M.J. Glauber

End of pages 3 and 4 of The ARK, A Publication of the American Association of Interchurch Families; October, November & December 2013 Volume 24; Edition 4….

…….Page 28 of  The ARK, a Publication of the American Association of Interchurch Families; Volume 24; Edition 4;  October, November, December       2013

Many Thanks ! ! !

We would like to express our gratitude to those people who have made this edition of the ARK possible:

Many Thanks For:

the work of Dr. Martin E. Marty;

the work of Myriam Renaud, who is a Ph.D. Candidate in Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School;

The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, Choctaw and for all of our American First Nations, Indian Tribes;

the work of the AAIF Officers who volunteer their time and efforts for AAIF;

the hymns that nurture us spiritually;

the blog site at http://www.Patheos.com/Topics/Passing-On-The-Faith/ ;  the insight of Rabbi Brad Hirschfield; the work of Ivy Beckwith; the work of Mark Yaconelli; the work of Phyllis Tickle;

the on-going ecumenical work of Father Ernest Falardeau, SSS; for “The Ecumenical Corner” by Fr. Ernest Falardeau, SSS and his Report on the National Workshop on Christian Unity 2013;

the annual efforts of the Ecumenical Advocacy Days;

the National Workshops on Christian Unity where dialogue and worship occur;

for the ecumenical work of Father George Kilcourse;

for “The Record” Newspaper in Louisville, KY,

for Marnie McAllister’s work; for the American Association of Interchurch Families;

for the Interchurch Families International Network;

for the website created and maintained by Ray Temmerman for all interchurch families;

for our families who encourage and nurture us,

for my family; for our children and grandchildren; for our cousins and for all people who “are family”

for my husband, Peter, whose support and encouragement allow me to work as a volunteer editor of the ARK.

~ M.J. Glauber

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AAIF IS A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION, REGISTERED IN THE STATE OF NEBRASKA  

International Standard Serial Number:         ISSN 1943-6467 (print) ISSN 2160-682X  (online)

THE ARK, a Publication of The American Association of Interchurch Families

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The ARK© Copyright 2013 AAIF all rights reserved 

MARY JANE GLAUBER, VOLUNTEER & SERVANT ARK EDITOR THEARK.AAIFPUBLICATION@GMAIL.COM

The ARK,  a Publication of the American Association of Interchurch Families

Volume 24; Edition 3          October, November & December 2013

AAIF IS A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION, REGISTERED IN THE STATE OF NEBRASKA

International Standard Serial Number:   ISSN 1943-6467 (print) 

                                                                               ISSN 2160-682X (online)

Pages 28 – 29  of  The ARK, a Publication of the American Association of Interchurch Families;  Volume 24; Edition 4;  October, November, December       2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 –

The Diane Rheem Show on NPR ~

Religious Traditions And Challenges For Interfaith Families

Nearly a quarter of Americans attend religious services of more than one faith or denomination. More than one-third are now married to a person of a different religion. As American society becomes more open and tolerant of diversity, a growing number of interfaith couples are raising children in both religions. They say this encourages open-mindedness and gives extended family equal weight. But others caution that these mixed-marriages can be strained by conflict over religious practices and are more prone to divorce. As the holiday season approaches, a look at the growing trend of interfaith marriage and what it means for family life.

Guests                                        

      • Alan Cooperman deputy director, Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.
      • Susan Katz Miller journalist, former reporter for Newsweek and author of “Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family.”
      • Naomi Schafer Riley former editor, The Wall Street Journal and author of “‘Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America.”

Related Links                           

 “Interfaith Unions: A Mixed Blessing” by Naomi Schaefer Riley (NYTimes Op-Ed)

“The Case for Raising Your Child with Two Religions” by Susan Katz Miller (TIME)

Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life

Related Items

Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family

‘Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America

Source

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2013-11-26/interfaith-marriage-america (Please listen to this program on line. ARK readers would like to hear your stories about your own lived experience of being interchurch.)

 

Implications for Interchurch Families and Ecumenists:

In this segment from the Diane Rheem radio program, we are cautioned not to generalize, but to ask people what their actual beliefs may be. I would encourage you to listen to this segment online now and to read the comments, some of which are helpful and others which show the complete unawareness that some people still have regarding what it is like to marry across traditional religious divides. We see great potential in interchurch families and the need for their proper pastoral care especially at this point in history.

Raising interfaith children is compared to raising bi-lingual children. Will those children be confused? Callers who have been raised in an interfaith family see themselves as peace makers and bridge builders. We have observed that the children raised in two church traditions can flow from one to the other and explain the customs and rules with greater understanding and clarity than many clergy simply because they have lived as interchurch.

 

Callers to the radio program indicate that religious beliefs didn’t factor into being problematic for their families. How money is spent did factor in as a problem? We have discussed this in the past. Tithing to two church denominations can be a real problem. This becomes especially highlighted when the mother may be staying at home with children and has no income of her own, but who wishes to continue to be faithful in her religious tradition of her family of origin.

One of the guests noted that our religious beliefs are maliable and that they evolve over our life time.

Learning about the religious tradition and beliefs of the spouse’s religion seems to be an essential component for the success of interfaith families/couples.

The challenges facing interfaith families is a bit different from those that interchurch families must face.

It is acknowledged that when couples marry across historic religious divisions that the couples usually first get to know each other before the topic of religion is even addressed.  Often the couple is already attached and committed to each other before their personal faith traditions even enter into their own discussions; this was pointed out on the radio program.

It would seem then that remote marriage preparation is imperative; the fact  that interchurch/interfaith marriages happen and are happening at what may be an increasing rate in the USA should be a topic that is considered by faith communities so that those communities may be pastorally supportive of interchurch/interfaith couples. On the radio program, it was pointed out that interfaith/interchurch couples can manage their own domestic church and personal spirituality within their home quite well. The problems may arise when the interchurch/interfaith couple tries to become part of their denomination of origin, but as an interchurch/interfaith couple in this newly formed interchurch/interfaith marriage. They have found that the churches haven’t yet caught up so that they can be pastorally helpful to them at one of the most crucial and important phases of their lives.

 

When the couple encounters two non-supportive communities, what realistic choices do potential interchurch couples face at that point? Have the churches failed them at the point in their lives when they most need pastoral care?

The choices that we have observed is that some couples simply drop out  from being affiliated to any denomination at all because it just seems so much simpler for them. This may seem to be the preferred option at this time.  Others may choose a neutral church or what may seem to be a neutral church for them as a couple so that they can worship together as a family.

 

Some couples choose to convert. The conversion rates seem to be 50-50 as to which denomination will be the choice for conversion.

We have also observed that in some cases these conversions are in name only to please a spouse and their family who believe that the conversion is essential.

Some couples try to become what is known as interchurch. Each spouse remains active in their own tradition. Many couples indicate the pain they feel when their spouse is rejected  by their own church. This mostly occurs around the sharing of communion. Not all churches allow non-members to have communion; it feels like a rejection and to be an act that is inhospitable. It seems to affect the member spouse the most when they see their spouse being rejected by their own church.

Some interchurch couples have observed that because the religious practices are different in the other spouse’s family that this may give the impression that the other family isn’t as religious. Being different doesn’t mean being less. This is a topic that needs to be explored further. One Protestant pastor told us that she simply tells the young couple who is coming in for marriage preparation that they should select the religion of the more devout parent in which to raise their future children; this is horrible advice because it then sets up a great debate where none should exist and prevents the couple from exploring the potential of being interchurch. Couples, all couples, need to be equal partners if the marriage is to be a healthy relationship.

In the radio program, it was brought up that interfaith/interchurch marriages are on the rise and will continue to be a predominant factor in the religious landscape in the USA well into the future. It would seem then that it would be in the best interest of our American religious institutions that they seek the best practices for the proper pastoral care of interchurch/interfaith families.

As  a spouse in an interchurch marriage of 40 years, I can assure you that the pastoral care of interchurch families has yet to be considered adequately. Any difficulties that we may have encountered 40 years ago when we chose to marry seem to still exist or to have increased which seems strange to us. Remote marriage preparation, for the church community, is needed that takes into consideration how the community should support the married couple.

The churches shouldn’t become the thorn in the side of the interchurch couple but the pastoral care givers and support for the gifts that these couples may have so that their gifts as peacemakers and bridge builders can be nurtured by both denominations of origin. The problem isn’t that two people love each other across what has been a great historic division, but that the churches haven’t reached out to support these interchurch couples so that the newly formed family can reach their full potential as the peace makers and bridge builders which we believe that God has required of us by God’s role in bringing us together to become one interchurch family.

~ M.J. Glauber

 

John 17:21 (ESV)

21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us,……. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_they_all_may_be_one

 

End of Pages 28 – 29  of  The ARK, a Publication of the American Association of Interchurch Families;  Volume 24; Edition 4;  October, November, December       2013

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