CRES, founded in 1982, continues as the oldest organization in Kansas City
dedicated to interfaith education (pages 30-31).
The Kansas City Interfaith Council, a program of CRES from its founding in 1989 to2005,
is now an independent group, The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council.
Co-sponsors Kansas City Harmony and the regional chapter of NCCJ (pages 29 and 29)
merged under the new name Harmony which is currently largely moribund..
on the phrase below for additional information
FAQ....Registered Groups.. ..Sample Visa Images. .Guide in PDF format
to learn more about the many faiths practiced by our neighbors!
CRES offers a 32-page "Interfaith Passport" to encourage better understanding of faiths practiced in the Kansas City area. Visit different faith communities and interfaith events and have your Passport pages endorsed with “visas.” When you have at least one visa on twelve pages for specific faiths and at least five visas for interfaith activities, you will be honored at an awards dinner.
The Passport has pages for American Indian, Bahá'í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Sufi, Unitarian Universalist, Wiccan, Zoroastrian, and Other faiths, for Interfaith events, information about the sponsors, the complete text of the 2001 KC area “Gifts of Pluralism” Conference Declaration and reference material.
A visa is simply a stamp, a sticker, or a hand-written notation with the name of the organization or event, the date, and a signature from the organization. There is no charge for visas.
The Passport is free but contributions are welcome to support our interfaith work.
FAQs — scroll down on right for responses
or click on the button.
1. How do I get a Passport?
Send a stamped (2
ounces), self-addressed envelope to
Any group whose
faith is represented on the Kansas City Interfaith Council or acts in the
spirit of interfaith exchange may register and be listed on this web site
by sending CRES an email to email@example.com.
Any faith or interfaith group may provide a visa, as explained in #3 above. Those who have begun this program are listed on the registration page.
Examples of interfaith activities include the Mosaic Book Club, the annual Harmony Choral Concert, Congregational Partners, Anytown and Unitown, the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Sunday Family Ritual Meal, Interfaith Council Task Forces, the Hatebuster’s VAN visits and others listed on the web site given above.
The Passport is a 32-page color booklet, 3.5 x 5 inches, weighing less than one ounce. Each Passport has a registration number on the back cover, and the issuing organization may record the name of the Passport owner. Inside the front cover is a place for the owner to write his or her identification. Up to four visas may be placed on each of the 20 visa pages. The Passport contains the “Protocol” for using it, a list of Interfaith Council members, the Concluding Declaration from “The Gifts of Pluralism” conference, information about Harmony, NCCJ, and CRES, and a page for notes. The image above is the Passport cover. The logo is from "The Gifts of Pluralism," Kansas City's first interfaith conference, held 2001 Oct 27-28 at Pembroke Hill School Ward Parkway (State Line) campus with 2 50 people from 14 different faith traditions from A to Z -- American Indian to Zoroastrian.
Please help us clarify and improve this wonderful program to further interfaith understanding by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
11. What did the National Catholic Reporter say about the Passport?
National Catholic Reporter, September 6, 2002
September 11 --
A Year Later:
By PAT MORRISON
Once the smoke cleared from the tragic events of Sept. 11, many Americans came to realize that there was “collateral damage” far beyond what the nation first imagined. It took various names: racism, suspicion, religious intolerance, ignorance. As in cities around the country, religious leaders in Kansas City, Mo., quickly convened their congregations to provide interfaith services for the community, offering prayer and healing in the wake of the disaster. But they also knew that in the post-9/11 climate they needed to do even more.
Hatred and intolerance -- and a terrible distortion of one religion’s beliefs -- had been a major force behind the death and destruction America had suffered. One effective antidote to the poison, the Kansas City religious community realized, would be a positive outreach to promote better understanding among the area’s faith traditions.
The result of their planning is a tangible aid to achieving interfaith understanding: a “passport” -- more specifically the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Passport -- a 32-page document that’s the same size as the official U.S. document (minus the hefty fee). The catchy understanding-builder was a joint project of several groups active in interfaith and interracial efforts in the community, including the Kansas City Interfaith Council, Mosaic, CRES, Kansas City Harmony, and the Kansas City region of the National Conference for Community and Justice (formerly the National Conference of Christians and Jews).
The person who brought the passport from concept to reality was the Rev. Vern Barnet, a Unitarian Universalist minister who serves as minister-in-residence for CRES and writes a weekly religion column in The Kansas City Star titled “Faiths and Beliefs.”
Barnet, a well-known figure on the Kansas City religious scene, has a lifelong passion for interreligious and ecumenical understanding. “We felt that one of the best ways to get people out of their denominational ‘boxes’ and comfort levels was to provide a resource that would encourage them to visit other faith traditions, to learn more about other religions,” he told NCR. “And from there, tolerance and understanding deepen, and appreciation and respect take root.”
In addition to knowing little or nothing of religious traditions other than their own, many people have no incentive to visit another faith’s house of worship, Barnet said. Kansas City’s religious leaders felt they needed to build some bridges to get people moving beyond the familiar. For Barnet, the passport concept was a natural one to achieve that.
“Just as travelers visit other cultures and countries, and come home with a stamped passport as proof of their expanded world, we thought an interfaith passport would do the same thing,” he said. And there are more than a dozen religious “lands” for the interested spiritual traveler in metropolitan Kansas City to visit, from A (American Indian spirituality) to Z (Zoroastrianism). In addition to the better-known religions like Buddhism, Christianity (with a category each for Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic), Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, the passport also includes space to visit other traditions, from Jain and Sikh to Wicca, as well as interfaith activities and programs.
Each of the participating traditions in the metro-politan area has agreed to offer a stamp, a self-stick “visa” or to sign the passport when a person or group visits. There’s also a bit of healthy entrepreneurial spirit at work: Those who accumulate at least one visa on 12 pages for specific faiths and at least five visas for interfaith activities will be honored at an awards dinner and get a discounted rate to attend the city’s 2003 interfaith conference.
The interfaith passport was launched July 1, and Barnet said the first printing of 5,000 is almost sold out. The $2 cost covers just the printing, with a $5 donation asked to cover the booklet and postage if it’s mailed. In addition to orders from individuals, Barnet said several congregations have purchased quantities to give their members, encouraging them to “travel” to other faith “lands.”
Besides the official pages where “visas” can be affixed, the passport contains information on all the faith communities that are members of the Kansas City Interfaith Council and their representatives. Also included is the declaration from the “Gifts of Pluralism” Conference that brought participants from the area’s faith traditions together a year ago and was the genesis for the passport.
“This is a small step, certainly,” Barnet said, “but it’s a practical, tangible way for people to learn more, widen their perspective and embrace tolerance. We’re all journeying together, after all. Isn’t it a wonderful thing if we can widen the circle of our fellow travelers through respect and understanding?”
To learn more about the interfaith passport or to obtain a copy, visit the CRES Web site at www.cres.org/passport . . . .
Click on the tree to return to the CRES home page.