Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston

Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 2 June 2016.

Phone: 713-533-4900
Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston serves as a convener, facilitator, and relationship-builder via dialogue and service. IMGH, with its motto “the strength of shared beliefs,” serves as a hub of activity that provides expertise, resources, networking, and a common place to serve in the interfaith community of Houston. Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston manifests the strength of shared beliefs through three areas of service to the greater Houston community: Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston, Refugee Services, and Interfaith Relations. Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston delivers meal to homebound seniors over the age of 60 and their spouses. Each year, IMGH coordinates with partners of civic leadership such as Harris County Area Agency on Aging to deliver over one million meals to seniors. The idea for the AniMeals on Wheels program emerged when IMGH noticed that many of the seniors served through the Meals on Wheels program who had pets did not have enough money to buy pet food—so they were feeding part of their own food to their pets.. The program had a successful inaugural year in 2003, when it served over 84,000 pounds of pet food. Food for both Meals on Wheels and AniMeals on Wheels comes from donations by corporations and individuals. Refugee Services works in conjunction with the U.S. State Department to help resettle hundreds of refugees in Houston. In the 2013-2014 year alone, IMGH helped settle 881 refugees from 16 countries. The current population of refugees that come to Houston are largely from Afghanistan and Iraq. IMGH has implemented programs such as Eid for Refugees in which local families adopt a refugee family for the Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Interfaith Relations serves as a liaison for Houstonians by facilitating events, dinner dialogues, lectures, and a youth interfaith leadership programs. This branch of IMGH includes four separate sub-programs:
  • The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Response facilitates communication on behalf of Houston’s faith communities during relief and recovery efforts. This office seeks to build connections between faith communities and emergency management and response services, be they civic, like the City of Houston or Harris County, or non-profits such as Catholic Charities or Red Cross. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Response also helps to coordinate recovery responses, provide trainings, and disseminate information.
  • ILEAD Interfaith Youth Leadership Program is primarily active during the school year. Last year, during the program’s third iteration, twenty-five high school students (sophomores, juniors, seniors) from 11 different faith traditions participated. ILEAD emphasizes peer learning and helps students learn more about what it means to be a person of faith and engaging with other religions (or no religion at all). The program’s mission is to cultivate confident, respectful, and engaged leaders who embrace their own faith traditions and embody effective multicultural leadership skills in their personal and professional lives.
  • Adult-Focused Programs include IMGH’s signature Dinner Dialogues, a model that has been replicated in cities across the country. The Dinner Dialogues encourage interfaith conversation in private homes and group settings so that participants can learn about the practices and faiths of others. The dinner is moderated by a representative of IMGH and provides and intimate forum to engage in discussion. Other programs include The Gershenson Lecture Series, in which diverse speakers from around the country are invited to give lectures that explore religious dialogue, ethics, and peace.
“Shepherding” is how Gregory Han, Director of Interfaith Relations, describes what happens in his department behind the scenes. This involves gathering groups of people to brainstorm crisis management and issues affecting the Houston community. For example, in summer 2014, at the request of the Harris County Attorney General’s Office, IMGH facilitated a gathering of 50 people from at least 20 different faith traditions, representatives of social service organizations, and a state representative to discuss possible ways faith communities could aid in the child migrant crisis facing Houston. The Interfaith Relations Department also connects faith communities with educational resources and information, and has an online form for fielding requests for house of worship tours and guest speakers ( Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (IMGH) started out as a consortium of Protestant churches that realized that combining their resources could do more together than individually. In 1955, the Houston Council of Churches launched the Church Welfare Bureau to organize the Protestant community to minister to those in need. By 1964, the Bureau was reorganized as Protestant Charities and later strengthened by the Jewish community. In 1969, Houston Metropolitan Ministries was formed. Later, in 1992, the name was changed to Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston to reflect the increasing diversity of the organization’s supporters.  Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston operates with a President/CEO structure that works alongside the Board of Directors, headed by a Board Chair. The Board is comprised of people from a variety of faith and traditions. While it is difficult to say that all religions and faiths are represented in the leadership organization, IMGH is actively working to reflect the dynamic and diverse landscape of Houston. The leadership structure also includes a chief operating officer, human resources department, a chief financial officer, and a chief development officer. Further, each of IMGH’s major programs (Meals on Wheels, Refugee Services, and Interfaith Relations) has its own Director. The events calendar, including registration for the Dinner Dialogues and the ILEAD Interfaith Youth Leadership program, can be found online at