Sharon’s interfaith clergy face some of the most challenging work of bringing together faith leaders with different, and sometimes conflicting, beliefs and alliances. Clergy members in this group, which meets monthly, share the common values of good will, peace, understanding, and pluralism. In addition to supporting one another and responding to community needs and emergencies, the group also sponsors several Sharon-wide interfaith programs each year. For several years, the group has hosted an annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, held at different houses of worship. Recently, they organized an Interfaith Public Service to Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 that included clergy and laity from Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Unitarian, and Hindu communities.
Bringing together Sharon’s diverse religious leaders was originally the idea of Father Robert Bullock of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, who was a national role model in interfaith understanding until his death in 2004. Father Bullock helped develop Facing History and Ourselves, the international program to educate middle and high school students about human rights and social justice using the lessons of the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. He viewed Sharon’s religious diversity as an opportunity to foster communication and connections. He and Rabbi Barry Starr, formerly of Sharon’s Temple Israel, convened the first meetings of the religious leaders.
Sharon Interfaith Clergy Association helps keep SPN up-to-date on important interfaith issues, and membership in SPN fosters communication and collaborations among the faith-based groups and secular organizations in Sharon. Currently, meetings are convened by Rabbi Randy Kafka of Temple Kol Tikvah.