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From the introduction to The Journal, Summer 1998.


Unusually, three of the contributions in this number of INTERCHURCH FAMILIES are on the subject of interfaith families. One looks at Jewish-Christian marriages from the pOine of view of a pastor, a rabbi. A second considers Christian-Moslem marriages from the perspective of a participant in interfaith dialogue. The third is written by a practitioner - a Catholic married to a Hindu. 

It is not that the Association of Interchurch Families intends to be directlyconcerned with interfaith marriages. It is an intrafaith movement, working on holding together differences within the one Christian faith. It is however concerned to see interchurch marriages as one example of cross-frontier marriages, of which there are many kinds. This wider perspective can throw light on the specific situation of interchurch families. It can highlight the issues which are common to all, as well as clarify the differences. It can, in addition, help us to see whether some of the lessons learned in the pastoral care of interchurch families over the past three decades can be applied to that of other kinds of cross-frontier marriages, and in particular to interfaith marriages. There are more and more of such marriages in our pluralist society. our global village, and (hey raise urgent and difficult questions. All three contributions will help interchurch families with this two-fold reflection. 

Some interchurch couples will feel a particular rapport with Astrid and Kalpesh because they are "practitioners", themselves involved in the struggle to hold together their two very different faith communities in their one marriage. Astrid has written: "The more I read your journal the more it strikes me how much we have in common, interchurch families and interfaith families. I draw hope and inspiration from interchurch families. There are times when I get a lump in my throat reading your life-experiences, because my husband and I have known the same pain, our children the 'same uncertainty. I guess it all seems from our basic need for unity in [he family - "one flesh". Your struggle is our struggle. For us, however, the struggle is wider, as it seeks to place Christ in relation to Abba, to remember that Christ, after all, was theocentric, and being christocentric does not exclude the possibility of being theocentric. As for our families, surely they stand as a sign of God's favour. for they continue to be communities of life and love despite all that tries to break them up." 

When she read Fr George Kilcourse's Beatitudes for Interchurch Familiesin our last number, Astrid immediately set to work to write a version for interfaith families. Blessed are the interfaith spouses who are aware of the limits of their individual spiritual experience and are open to the God-experience of their partners who belong to another religion; they shall reign with God .... Blessed are the interfaith couples who in humility risk the darkness of moving with the Spirit; they shall inherit the earth .... Blessed are the interfaith parents who dare to teach their children to centre themselves on the "I AM" who goes beyond all human boundaries and limitations; they shall see God .... 

As interchurch families let us keep also in our hearts and prayers those couples who struggle in their marriage with the greater interfaith divide. 

Ruth Reardon



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