So, tell me about Interfaith Centers. Do you go to one? Did you grow up going to one? Or do you belong to a church in a traditional church building? Do you go to church at all?
I must admit that I have attended a church service in an Interfaith
Center only once since moving to Columbia. Additionally, I have
attended services at Christ Episcopal Church, Lake Kittamaqundi Community Church, and Abiding Savior Lutheran Church.
There was a bit of an uproar when St. John Baptist built their new
church on the corner of Tamar and 175. Some people seemed to suggest
that James Rouse had forbidden church buildings as a part of the
Columbia Plan. That sounds rather Soviet to me. Fill me in. Is it
possible that the creation of Interfaith Centers and participation in
them by various denominations was encouraged, rather than actual church
Abiding Savior Lutheran Church will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary
this Fall. It is my understanding that they were offered an opportunity
to be a part of the Interfaith Center in Hickory Ridge, but declined.
So it seems there is room for both independent, single-denomination
churches along with the multipurpose ones outlined in Mr. Rouse's plan.
Multipurpose. Part of me shudders at the word. It brings to mind shiny
linoleum, acoustical tile, slide-across temporary "walls", stackable or
folding chairs. It feels painfully dated. While intellectually I
believe that faith and spiritual practice aren't dictated by physical
things, in my heart I will admit that beautiful architecture and a sense
of place in a house of worship mean something to me. The Interfaith
Center model seems to turn diversity into "no-diversity."
How are Columbia's Interfaith Centers faring in 2013? How have they
responded to changes in their Villages? Is this an idea that continues
to thrive, one whose time has passed, or one that missed the mark from
What do you think?