Community Interfaith Dialogues
The Community Interfaith Coordination Office (CIC) 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 CIC 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 (now the Department of Neighborhood and Community Services) Community Interfaith Coordination 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:
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.
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.