A diverse network helping those in need

…a message from Executive Director Marsha Eichelberger

I almost dread watching the news these days. It seems like there is so much hate in the world; so many people are quick to blame everything on an “other” they fear but don’t really know. Hate crimes occur with such regularity that we’re hardly surprised when we hear about another.

It’s interesting to me because I am surrounded by tolerance and respect. The entire premise of Inter-Faith Housing Alliance is a diverse network helping those in need. That’s it. It seems so simple that I sometimes forget how beautiful it is. Everyone works together seamlessly and cheerfully. None of our congregations has ever denied a family on the basis of their faith, and none has ever treated a family with anything less than respect- even serving meals based on a family’s religious dietary restrictions.

Our congregations are also quick to help each other. People from other religions routinely spend the night as buddy congregation hosts in houses of worship very different from their own. When one congregation had a pipe burst where our families were staying, another started their month early and helped move the families. Construction complications once compelled a congregation to switch with another that was only too happy to help. This cooperation happens so frequently with us that we forget how rare it is for many.

We often hear politicians touting their abilities to “work with the opposition”, or “negotiate with the other side.” What I wish they understood is what we know so well: there actually is no opposition, there is no other side. We at Inter-Faith are very different but we share the common goal of ending family homelessness in Montgomery County. Our differences do not divide us because our vision of a better world powerfully unites us. I wonder what common goal it will take to unite the rest of world? For now, I’m definitely more aware of what a fantastic group of people I am surrounded by.

Executive Director Marsha Eichelberger