Recently, a group of more than 30 clergy and religious leaders gathered for a first convening of a Dane County multifaith council. We came from many different faith traditions including various mainline Protestant faiths, Reformed Judaism, Roman Catholicism, the Bahai Faith, Unitarian Universalism, and more.

Often, religion is labeled as divisive and defined by fiercely conservative voices. As we joined in seeking understanding and common good, it was to strengthen the already vast but often overlooked contributions of the progressive religious community. We shared brief introductions and the passionate and committed work of our congregations. We named many of our overlapping efforts for social justice, with areas like poverty, overcoming differences, helping the vulnerable and caring for the environment.

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It was empowering to see the possibilities for combining our voices and our efforts to achieve amazing benefits for our county and beyond. We are encouraged to be walking together in new ways. We are hope-filled for the next steps, remembering that what divides us in religion is so much less than what unites us and brings us together.

the Rev. Nick Utphall, Madison

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