On Monday, Aug. 19, religious leaders of Boone met at Deerfield United Methodist to share their stories of calling and a meal. This yearly lunch creates a community of clergy that understands the stress of their individual jobs, and this allows them to better serve the High Country.

“We come together to fellowship once a year over lunch, and it’s a big part of what we do,” Rabbi Stephen Roberts of the Temple of the High Country said. The group shared their personal testimonies and some of the hardest things that they have had to face while staying true to their belief systems.

“I have developed new friendships and have learned so much from the other members of the MF group. We have supported one another through difficult times and been allies for one another,” Tiffany Christian, outreach manager for The Rock, said. “Developing genuine relationships and partnerships with the goals of bettering our community has been really rewarding.”

Regardless of their religion, the group of clergy brings respect and warm handshakes to all around them, and they have a deep yearning to help those in need. Nearly all of the congregations represented at the Multi-Faith Alliance Retreat were also represented at the Hospitality House Hope Luncheon that took place on Aug. 16. The Hospitality House relies heavily on the assistance of religious organizations in the area to help with aiding those facing poverty and homelessness in the High Country.

“Through our gatherings, and especially our days of study where we choose a topic to discuss and learn from one another, I have not only learned so much about other faith traditions but have grown in understanding, empathy, and in relationships with other colleagues,” said Kyle Sigmon from FaithBridge UMC. “Though we have certain theological disagreements, at the end of the day, we acknowledge that we have all answered a sense of calling to work toward making a positive difference in the lives of those we encounter, in our community, and in our world.”

The Multi-Faith Alliance hopes to continue spreading the love of God and neighbor through community events.

“We believe that there is something about a simple breaking of bread together that can break down walls and build bridges. This might be the most important thing we can do during such divisive times,” Sigmon said.

“I would love to see more leaders involved and more opportunities for us to come together outside of crisis response,” Christian said, echoing Sigmon’s sentiments.

This is the second year that the learning retreat has taken place after the formation of The High Country Multi-Faith Clergy Alliance.

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