Lutheran Church and Jewish Synagogue Come Together to Promote Religious Tolerance
Temple Beth El and St. Mark's have been using the same worship space for the past month
FARGO, N.D. — Old and young.
Strangers and family.
Jewish and Christian.
Temple Beth El Synagogue is bringing people of different backgrounds together under one roof.
“St. Mark’s has been kind of a wandering people of faith over the past six years, and members of Temple Beth El invited us to share a space with them,” said St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Pastor Joe Larson.
The unique partnership formed when members of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church found themselves without a worship home for the third time in six years.
“Talk about the wandering Jews. They’ve been the wandering Lutherans. They looked for like 47 or 48 places before they found us. And we, our whole board, everyone, was just like, ‘Yes, let’s do it. We’re on board,'” said Temple Beth El Rabbi Janeen Kobrinsky.
The two have been sharing the space for about a month.
“We use the sanctuary on Saturday morning. They use it on Sunday morning, and it just works out really, really well,” said Kobrinsky.
They hope their collaboration will send a message of tolerance and inclusion to both communities.
“Historically, Christians and Jews have not always had a good relationship. The church has done many things to hurt the Jewish community, so for them to be so welcoming is really incredible,” said Larson.
And although having a place to call home is important, Larson says the building is no longer the focus.
“We may never own a building again, and for some people, that’s a hard concept to grasp because many people associate their church with a specific building.”
The mission is.
“We talk about diversity, but when you actually see two communities come together and say, ‘We’re going to try to do this.'” We haven’t figured everything out yet, but we’re committed to working together and figuring it out as we go along,” said Larson.
St. Mark’s and Temple Beth El also plan to work together on interfaith programs like serving the homeless and helping refugees.