When people dare to cross cultural and interfaith boundaries, the results can be powerful. A group of women from multiple faith traditions chronicle their intimate personal stories in a new book, Friendship & Faith: The WISDOM of women creating alliances for peace. Two young women from the Ann Arbor area, Sarah Fowlkes and Stefanie DeHart, helped co-author the book.
The group named WISDOM, an acronym that stands for Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro Detroit, began when four women of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian backgrounds met at an interfaith event in 2006 and forged a friendship. With escalating tensions in the Middle East, Iraq, and Darfur in the news, they worried that communities of faith in Southeast Michigan were becoming dangerously polarized. They felt that women had the capacity for empathy and connecting spiritually, and thought this might be a way to begin changing the landscape, one friend at a time.
Thus WISDOM was founded to help women build connections across traditional fault lines and organize community events as opportunities for conversation. The group's signature panel of speakers presents a program titled "Five Women, Five Journeys: How Different Are We?" Those programs center around profiles of women of five different faith traditions who share their own journeys, joys and challenges in response to common questions. The panel events often receive rave reviews.