Ecumenical, Interfaith, Interreligious Relations

What is the difference between
ecumenical, interfaith, and interreligious relations?
To promote our Mission Statement, EIA works in partnership
with the following organizations or supports their events:


  • Ecumenism Metro Chicago (EMC)
    • Formerly the Ecumenical Millennium Committee, this board is comprised of nineteen Christian Churches within the Metropolitan Chicago area.  Each member church is represented by their judicatory leader.

      • In the Chicago area, EMC coordinates:
        Annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25) and the Annual Prayer Service.

  • Illinois Conference of Churches (ICC)
    • A statewide ecumenical organization with twenty-eight judicatory members, representing fourteen denominations from the Protestant, Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox Christian faiths. One of ICC’s goals is to provide Illinois churches with an opportunity to reach common objectives as we bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

  • Religious for Christian Unity
    • Membership includes men and women from religious communities who have a charisma for ecumenism.  Members are dedicated to fellowship, sharing scripture and prayer for Christian Unity.

Jewish Community

  • Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lecture
    • An annual speaker series to foster enhanced Jewish-Catholic relations. Each year’s lecture alternates between a Jewish/Catholic speaker and location. The Archdiocese of Chicago co-sponsors the event with the American Jewish Committee – Chicago Chapter; Chicago Board of Rabbis; Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; and the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies.

  • Jewish-Catholic Educational Enrichment Project
    • The primary purpose of this joint venture with the American Jewish Committee – Chicago Chapter is to provide Jewish students with an introduction to Catholicism, while simultaneously introducing Catholic School students to Judaism.

  • Jewish-Catholic Scholars Dialogue Group
    • Ongoing dialogue exploring theological topics to increase understanding of religious beliefs between Catholics and Jews.

Muslim Tradition

  • Annual Interfaith Iftar Dinner
    • This event, sponsored by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Great Chicago (CIOGC), commemorates breaking the Ramadan fast, observing maghrib prayer, and sharing a festive dinner and program. For a number of years Muslim communities have opened their Iftar meals to non-Muslims to promote interreligious dialogue.

  • Dialogue Groups
    • Muslims / Catholics – EIA is engaged with two ongoing dialogue groups. Participants include Muslims from the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and followers of the W. Deen Mohammad Movement. The groups meet three – four times per year with the locations varying between a Muslim and Catholic location.

Interreligious Organizations

  • Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago (CRLMC)
    • CRLMC is a group of religious leaders from the Metropolitan Chicago faith communities. The Council embraces a broad diversity of theological and religious traditions. Members meet periodically to discuss civic affairs and issues common to the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths. The Council is also a unified voice on social issues impacting people in the Chicago area.

    • In 2012, CRLMC assumed sponsor of the annual Chicago Interfaith Thanksgiving Service with representatives from fourteen religious communities offering prayers of thanksgiving as part of the observance. EIA plays an active role in promoting the observance throughout the greater Chicago area.

  • Interfaith Airport Chapels of Chicago (IACC)
    • IACC provides worship opportunities at O'Hare and Midway Airports for Christians and Muslims. An EIA staff member is on the Board of Directors.

  • Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions (CPWR)
    • CPWR’S vision is to promote interreligious harmony.  This approach respects and enriches the characteristic of each tradition, enabling all to enter into respectful, appreciative and cooperative relations with other religious communities. The organization sponsors periodic interreligious programs and dialogues.

  • Chicago Center for Cultural Connections (formerly National Conference of Christians and Jews)
    • CCCC is a human relations organization dedicated to building bridges of mutual respect among cultural, racial and religious communities. 

      • For the past twenty years, CCCC has published an Annual Interfaith Calendar for distribution throughout Metropolitan Chicago. EIA contributes data to assist with the publication.

  • Memorial Ministry for Indigent Persons
    • Ministry hosts an Annual Memorial Service for Indigent Persons, held on the last Wednesday of May, which commemorates the lives of indigent persons buried by the Cook County Medical Examiner. EIA assists with coordinating the program and participating with prayers and music.

The Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs supports these and many other groups in the metropolitan Chicago area. To learn more about our partner organizations, direct links have been posted on our home page. Please feel free to contact our office for further details on how you can get involved.