In Florida, an Interfaith Group Forms in Response to Exclusivism

March 13, 2004

Source: The Herald Tribune

On March 13, 2004 The Herald Tribune reported, "Some two dozen members of the South County religious community took a first step Monday morning toward establishing a new ministerial association open to all faiths. The gathering was a response to the Venice Ministerial Association (VAMA), which is considering limiting membership to those who 'declare allegiance to Jesus Christ of Nazareth.' In a reflection of how divisive the issue has become, VAMA president Loraine Tuenge was one of the participants at Monday's meeting, advocating a new interfaith group. Tuenge said she was representing her church, Venice United Church of Christ, not VAMA. Tuenge and others, including Bishop John Nevins of the Catholic Diocese of Venice, said they want VAMA to remain open to all faiths. But the more conservative wing of VAMA -- which appears to be the majority -- believes the association should be Christ-centered, following organizational by-laws written in 1968 but not previously enforced. VAMA members are expected to vote this spring on whether to enforce the bylaws."