Synagogue Shares Worship Space With Unitarian Church

June 19, 2004

Source: Toronto Star

On June 19, 2004 the Toronto Star reported, "As he handed over the keys to his synagogue to the leaders of a neighbourhood church, Larry Gillman noticed the colourful words on the plastic fob: 'Welcome' and 'friends.' 'We didn't plan that,' said the president of Beth Israel Congregation, the only synagogue in Peterborough. 'But it is perfect. It sums up how we feel about each other, and how close we've become.' Rev. Anne Orfald, spiritual leader of the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough, sounded a similarly genial tone: 'With this partnership, we have the opportunity to give our children first-hand experience interacting with another faith community, not just giving them lessons on the holidays of others. Here is an opportunity to live it.' They'll have that opportunity tomorrow, when the Unitarians will hold their Sunday service in the synagogue for the first time...Last Monday, it was all smiles in the synagogue's high-ceilinged, woodsy interior as representatives of the two faith communities put their signatures to a lease agreement that will allow the Unitarian church to use Beth Israel as its new home for the next three years. Mayor Sylvia Sutherland was on hand to laud the event as 'a fine example for so many of us.' Touting the achievement as a milestone in local interfaith relations, both sides add that the space-sharing agreement, though not unique in Canadian history, will allow their congregations much-needed breathing room."