Members of Elkhorn Hills enjoyed a tour of Countryside Community Church, which is the Christian Church in the Tri Faith Community in Omaha. We enjoyed lunch and fellowship at Outback after the tour.
Countryside Community Church
Countryside Community Church was established in 1949 as part of the Congregational Church, one of the oldest denominations in America. In 1959 they joined with the Reformed Church in the United States, Independent congregations of the Christian Connection, and the Evangelical Synod of North America to form what is now commonly known as the United Church of Christ, or UCC. The UCC has no superior body that tells congregations what they can or cannot do. Local congregations are free to accept or reject initiatives from the wider church but are responsible to listen and consider. Big decisions for the local church are made by congregation in meetings that everyone is encouraged to attend.
In October 2013, Countryside was asked by the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska to enter into a dialogue of being part of the Tri-Faith Community in Omaha. In April 2014, they were asked to become the Christian presence of the Tri-Faith Initiative and to move to the Tri-Faith Commons. In April 2015 the church voted to relocate the church to the Tri-Faith Commons. Construction began June 2017, and the new church opened its doors on April 7, 2019.
The Tri-Faith Initiative
The Tri-Faith Initiative is comprised of three intentionally co-located congregations of the Abrahamic faiths–Jewish, Muslim, and Christian. The fourth building, now being built, the Tri-Faith Center, will be a central place of education, outreach, programming with the mission of fostering empathy and creating dialogue that celebrates pluralism and diversity of religion.
The four buildings are unified by the circular bridge and walking paths that cross over “Hell Creek” and physically bring the three faith groups together. It provides each congregation easy access to the common space designed to maximize the shared views between them.
The Rabi, Imam, and Pastor meet weekly. On July 25, August 29, and September 19, a panel discussion between three guests of different faiths, My Three Faiths, will be held to share and challenge the audience to walk in each others shoes and experience plurality.
More information can be found on the Tri-Faith website.