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Community Interfaith Dialogues


The Community Interfaith Liaison Office (CIL) facilitates and supports community interfaith dialogues. Community dialogues are organized within communities by its residents, local faith communities and community based organizations to foster interactive multicultural and interfaith dialogue for better understanding within communities. Dialogues include community wide gatherings of 80 to 100 people and small dialogue circles of 16 to 20 people. Other initiatives include multicultural and interfaith community service projects, picnics and book clubs.

What is Dialogue?

Dialogue is an open, respectful exchange of ideas and opinions that allow a group of people to explore differences, find commonalities, and think together.

What is the Purpose of Dialogue?

To provide persons of different cultural, ethnic, and faith groups with an opportunity to share and interact in a safe, facilitated setting as a way to promote deeper conversations and understanding; and to help create resilience within the community to more effectively deal with any future emergencies.

How Did CIL Dialogues Start?

Community dialogues were initiated in 2003 by residents in the greater McLean and Annandale communities. Dialogues were prompted by the growth of a post 9/11 environment reflecting signs of fear, distrust and anger. The Department of Systems Management for Human Services Community Interfaith Liaison Office and its McLean Community Connections and Interfaith Communities for Dialogue Partners received the 2004 National Association of Counties Achievement Award for facilitating the growth and sustainability of dialogues within Fairfax County.

At this time, two community dialogue groups are supported:

Interfaith Communities for Dialogue (ICD)

The Interfaith Communities for Dialogue (ICD) is composed of faith communities in the Annandale, Fairfax, and Falls Church area. The group meets monthly. Dialogues are planned for each fall and spring. Dialogue topics focus on community understanding of Fairfax County’s diverse religions. The group supports six annual small group gatherings, an annual picnic, service project, and book club.

For a full description of ICD, please click this link to a PDF.

Previous Events:

    • November 22, 2004 -- Introduction to Islam, Judaism, and Christianity
    • November 29, 2004 -- Children of Abraham
    • December 6, 2004 -- Working Together for a Better Community
    • April 6, 2005 -- Death and Dying
    • November 16, 2005 -- The Question of Suffering
    • November 30, 2005 -- The Role of Women in Our Traditions
    • December 7, 2005 -- Building Relationships Across Religious Lines
    • September 10, 2006 -- Community Picnic
    • August 12, 2007 -- Community Picnic
    • November 7, 2007 -- How We Worship in the Abrahamic Faiths [ Program]
    • May 14, 2008 -- Exploring Misunderstood Passages from Abrahamic Religious Texts
    • August 17, 2008 -- Community Picnic
    • September 21, 2008 -- Book Club: The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew: Three Women Search for Understanding
    • November 12, 2008 -- Creation, Then and Now
    • March 22, 2009 -- Book Club: Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith Understanding in America by Gustav Niebuhr
    • May 13, 2009 -- Our Faith and Ethics: Grappling with the Economic Crisis [ Program]
    • August 9, 2009 -- Community Picnic
    • November 18, 2009 -- Sacred Scripture: How Do You Understand Your Own? Can I Try? [ Program]
    • January 24, 2010 -- Service Project: Feeding the Homeless
    • May 26, 2010 -- Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think
    • July 25, 2010 -- An Interfaith Conversation with Northern Virginia Muslim Women
    • August 8, 2010 -- Book Club: Stones for Schools by Greg Mortenson
    • October 10, 2010 -- Women and Islam [ Program]
    • November 14, 2010 -- Fear and Faith In Our Community: Sacred Texts as Instruments of Peace or Hate [ Program]
    • May 4, 2011-- The Messiah: Who, When, How? What Judaism, Christianity and Islam Believe
    • November 15, 2011--Ten Years After 9/11 Interfaith Perspectives and Progress. What Have We Learned? What Still Needs To Be Done?

McLean Community Connections

McLean Community Connections is composed of faith communities, faith based organizations and community residents representing the diverse faith and cultures within the greater McLean community. The group meets monthly.

Previous Events:

    • October 7, 2004 -- Liberty and Justice for all — What Does It Mean To You?
    • September 29, 2005 -- When Values and Principles Are At Stake, Do We Give Up Community Harmony?
    • April 6, 2006 -- Fear, Bias, Crisis: How Can Our Community Cope? [ Program]
    • November 2, 2006 -- We Are Many, Can We Be One? [Program]
    • May 31, 2007 -- We Are Many, Can We Be One?
    • November 1, 2007 -- I'm Right! You're Wrong! Can We Talk? [ Program]
    • May 29, 2008 -- One Community Who Belongs?
    • September 25, 2008 -- Our Many Traditions [ Program]
    • February 26, 2009 -- Economy Down, Stress Up [ Program]
    • October 1, 2009 -- Headline News: What Matters to Our Community
    • May 13, 2010 -- What Hate Brings To Our Community [ Program]

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