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BLOOMINGTON — This is no joke.

A rabbi, a pastor, and an imam from Seattle, known as the Interfaith Amigos will visit Bloomington-Normal this weekend to help people understand the relationship of different faiths, and to foster working together.

The trio teamed up after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

There’s nothing new about interfaith cooperation in the Twin Cities, said Bloomington Rabbi Paul Kaplan of Moses Montefiore Temple in Bloomington. Locally, the Ecumenical Clergy and the Heartland Interfaith Council are examples of groups doing similar work here, but they don’t have catchy names, he said.

“The Interfaith Amigos popularize the subject. They add a little humor,” said Kaplan.

“It seems that in view of current Iran/Israel/U.S. issues, their visit may be particularly relevant and timely,” added Betty Rademacher, program coordinator.

The Amigos are Rabbi Ted Falcon, the Rev. Don Mackenzie, and Iman Jamal Rahman. They will visit Christian, Jewish and Muslim places of worship during their three-day visit that includes: a 5:30 p.m. Friday service at Moses Montefiore Temple; prayers and a meal at the Islamic Center later that evening; and on Sunday visit with the New Covenant Community congregation at the Campus Religious Center in Normal.

In addition, public workshops and lectures will be held Saturday at Illinois State University and Heartland Community College. Illinois Wesleyan University students will have a designated time to meet with the Amigos, too.

The events are part of the Jim and Gwen Pruyne Lectureship in Progressive Christianity program, which was created in 2010 by donors from the New Covenant Community, the congregation Jim Pruyne founded in 1992.

Pruyne, the inspiration of the lecture series, was director of campus ministry for the United Campus Christian Foundation at ISU from 1955 to 1995 for five faiths: Presbyterian; United Church of Christ; Christian Church (Disciple of Christ); Mennonite; and Church of the Brethren.

 The Pruynes also were among the founders of PATH (Providing Access to Help), the longtime 24-hour crisis and referral agency. They have a history of working with religious diversity in the community so the work of the Amigos made them an “excellent choice” to be featured guests of program, said Rademacher, chairwoman of the lectureship program this year.

The Amigos have authored several books that will be available at the events, including the most recent, “Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith.”

Interfaith cooperation

What: The Interfaith Amigos, a Muslim imam, a pastor and a rabbi from Seattle, are the featured speakers for the Jim and Gwen Pruyne Lectureship event to foster religious understanding and cooperation.

When/where:  Workshop and Lecture, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Illinois State University Alumni Center, 110 Main N. St., Normal; with luncheon. Cost $25; free lecture, “Religion Gone Astray,” 7 p.m., Astroth Community Education Center at Heartland Community College, Normal.

More information: Email or call 309-452-5713



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