I recently attended a social function held at The Gathering Place in River Hill. In case you don't know, The Gathering Place is one of the newer Columbia Interfaith Centers. In addition to housing several religious congregations, they also rent space for events. It's a beautiful facility.
While I continue to be perplexed and fascinated by the Interfath Center phenomenon, I really loved the architectural feel of this one and went away with a positive feeling. That's probably because while taking a brief moment of solitude in the lobby, I chanced to meet Rabbi Barry Rubin, who was just going home after a long day at work.
We chatted about the social event for a while. He was happy to see a local group using the space. It turns out that he doesn't just work there, he actually helped to design the center. He spoke lovingly of the layout of the building and all of the activities it could accommodate. I got the feeling he'd like the facility to be more well known in the community.
By the time we were done talking I felt like I had become an advocate for the space just by association. I could imagine parties, community groups, perhaps a preschool, under this roof the Rabbi loves so much. I think what convinced me was how happy he was to see the building used in the evening by happy party-goers.
"That's exactly what we want to be doing," he said, peering in at the balloon decorations and pizza buffet. "We've got a sign we're going to put out front to let people know we're available."
We didn't talk religion, not even for a second. We talked gathering. Gathering for all the reasons a community might want to gather. So I'm putting in a good word for Rabbi Rubin and his beloved building today. If you are looking for a space to get together, give them a call.