OMAHA, Neb. – The Reverend Bud Heckman has been selected to serve as Executive Director for the Omaha-based Tri-Faith Initiative. Heckman recently served as Executive Director of Religions for Peace USA, presently as convener of the Interfaith Funders Group, and voluntarily remains president of the Board of Governors of the Religion Communicators Council. He brings two decades of experience in interfaith relations work – nationally and internationally, in nonprofits, academia, and philanthropy – to the emerging collaborative work of the Tri-Faith Initiative.
Begun in 2006, the Tri-Faith Initiative is comprised of three Abrahamic faith groups who have chosen to be in purposeful relationship together and become neighbors on a common plot of land, committed to practicing respect, developing acceptance, and building trust. By spring 2019, all three houses of worship will be complete. A Tri-Faith Center will be the final building constructed on the land, culminating an ambitious $65 million effort. Programs developed through the Tri-Faith Initiative are intended to be a catalyst in Omaha and a model well beyond for advancing understanding between people of distinct faiths.
Tri-Faith board president Dr. Maryanne Stevens, RSM, said, “We welcome Bud’s leadership to the Tri-Faith Initiative, as he brings passion, well respected expertise, a track record of developing non-profits, and unique insights into the future of interfaith relations.” Heckman comes to the Tri-Faith Initiative from New York City. He will be giving shape to its work and carrying forward plans for construction of the Tri-Faith Center on the shared campus of the congregations, known as Tri-Faith Commons.
An ordained United Methodist clergyperson, Heckman has been leading faith-based and academic nonprofits for more than two decades and brings experiences with three different foundations that advance interfaith cooperation, as well as a funders affinity group. Principally, he has advanced interfaith cooperation being seen as a movement, through concerted efforts in higher education, national and international interfaith organizations, and philanthropy. Heckman served on the Interreligious Cooperation Task Force of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships under President Obama.
“Few things are more misunderstood and yet, at the same time, more important to our lives and world today than religion,” said Heckman. “It is a true privilege to become a part of this ambitious initiative. You know you are on to something good when CNN, NPR, and even Comedy Central have already come knocking to see what exactly was going on in Omaha even before the Tri-Faith Commons was finished or the Center was built.”
Heckman will formally start his new role on March 1, 2018. Members of the Tri-Faith Initiative’s three faith groups as well as members of the greater community will have an opportunity to meet him at the 2018 Dinner in Abraham’s Tent, Tri-Faith’s fundraising event scheduled for April 22 at 6:00 p.m. at CenturyLink Center Omaha. For more information, see the Tri-Faith website at http://trifaith.org.
About the Tri-Faith Initiative
The Tri-Faith Initiative is made up of three Abrahamic faith groups who have chosen to be in purposeful relationship together as neighbors, committed to practicing respect, developing acceptance and building trust. Our three members are of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths: Temple Israel (URJ), Countryside Community Church (UCC), and The American Muslim Institute. The shared Tri-Faith Center seeks to promote dialogue, transcend differences, foster acceptance, and build bridges of respect and trust. It will serve as a local hub of collaboration for social events, educational activities, and conferences and as a national and global hub of educational events and resources, including webinars and other digital programs.
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