At the Interfaith Center for Action and Healing “faith” includes religion but is also much bigger than religion. It encompasses all that brings meaning, compassion, and joy in our lives.
We provide space for workshops, presentations and conferences, grief counseling, dance and drumming, ritual making, celebrations, ceremonies, meditation, prayer, art and yoga; all in an inclusive and supportive environment that embraces religious and cultural diversity.
ICAH invites all people, of every faith, race, income level, gender and sexuality to visit and experience first-hand, the peaceful, nurturing environment that makes personal transformation possible.
We all have an "other," someone for whom our first instinct is to judge or stereotype based upon preconceived differences in culture, political or religious beliefs, clothing, lifestyle, symbols they use, even cars they drive. This is compounded by the news we watch or read and the social media we follow.
However, when we engage with the “other,” our perceptions of who they are can change. This does not mean that we will necessarily agree, but it can mean that we better understand where they come from, what formed their opinions, and why, right or wrong, they feel the way they do. We will most likely learn that even though we will always disagree on certain topics, there are other places in which we agree.
The most important thing about engaging with the other” is that it opens our minds and hearts to our shared humanity, which in turn frees us from the anger, fear and anxiety associated with the “other” and better able to deal with building bridges of understanding.
ICAH provides a warm and safe place for these conversations, discussions, learning and listening.
Since it is important to also heal ourselves spiritually, ICAH provides opportunities for spiritual and religious growth through rituals, healing practices, good grief groups, art and so much more.
We invite you to check our website, Facebook and Instagram often as events are added weekly.
We also have wonderful space for your event, healing practice, presentation, workshop, discussion, meal or art exhibit. Please contact us for more information!
Location: The Center is located in Lansing, NY, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. The Finger Lakes area, “The Handprint of God”, is renowned for its natural beauty, awesome gorges, eclectic and educated communities, viniculture, historical significance and tourism. The Center is a half hour away from Ithaca, NY, Cornell University, Ithaca College, Wells College in Aurora and all the amazing peaceful beauty this area has to offer.The Interfaith Center for Action and Healing
1939 East Shore Drive
Lansing, NY 14882
Workshops and Speakers: The Center features an ever-changing calendar of workshops, presentations, performances and speakers designed to inform, enlighten and inspire participants toward personal growth and compassionate action. Topics include: Environmental Stewardship, World Religions and Traditions, Spiritual Growth in a Lifetime, Non-Violent Direct Action, Neighborhood Revival, Sustainability, Art and Activism. Please see our Calendar of Events for more information.
We hope you support us in this effort as we seek to make our tiny pieces of the world just a little bit better. As Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Barb E. Blom, Director
Reverend Barb E. Blom is the Director of the Interfaith Center for Action and Healing. She is an ordained United Church of Christ minister with a specialty in interfaith and spiritual conversations. She attended Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester N.Y. where she earned her Masters in Divinity and she is currently enrolled in the United Lutheran Seminary where she is finishing her Doctorate of Ministry with a focus on Interfaith relationships and understanding.
She worked for Hospicare and Palliative Care Services in Ithaca as both Spiritual Care Counselor and Bereavement Counselor and has been a Pastor for twelve years. She lives with her two adopted sons, is a foster parent to three unaccompanied Afghan refugees, and has two dogs, three cats, and two birds.
I grew up attending a Presbyterian church, but left church in my teens after I realized that my father, an agnostic, was doing more good in the world than the people in the church with the clinics he set up in areas of our city where people had few resources for health care.
I found my way back to church after a series of tragic deaths in my thirties when I felt like I needed some kind of spiritual grounding. I discovered the Unitarian Universalists where my interest in religion was born.
I found myself driving to seminary on a beautiful September day wondering if I was doing the right thing, it was 8:30 in the morning on September 11, 2001 when I first opened a Bible in over 15 years. I decided to stay despite my trepidation.
I learned that Christianity was more than what I had been taught in Sunday School and that I connected with the long standing social justice movements that were a major theme in the Bible.
But it was a class on pluralism when I found my true passion. We had visiting lecturers who taught us about Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. It was a transformative and fascinating class as we saw so many interconnected themes and all of humankind could be lifted up through better understanding of our common humanity.
In addition to the two adopted boys, I am also the foster parent for three Afghan refugee youth who are Muslim who have deepened my understanding and commitment to Interfaith Dialogue, with faith being much bigger than just religion.
Founding of the Interfaith Center for Action and Healing:
I went on to serve a couple of churches, adopt two high needs boys, and take care of my aging mother while completing a Doctorate in Ministry in Interfaith Dialogue. After my mother passed, I was driving along thinking “this is the time” just as I was passing the perfect location in Lansing. Plenty of free parking, lots of room for various programming, and an easy location to drive to from north, south and west. So along with some like-minded individuals we began developing the concept. We opened in January of 2019. We had numerous events, an Interfaith Dinner with over 80 people from various faith and non-faith traditions, ages, skin color, gender identity and sexual orientation among many others, we also partnered with the Islamic Society for a well-attended program on Islamophobia and much, much more. We took a little time to regroup in the summer months and are now preparing our fall programming.
Major Programming Themes:
- we are well positioned to bridge the rural/urban divide, as well as evangelical and cultural churches, and other faith and religious communities to focus on shared interests ( e.g. support for families with incarcerated people returning home)
- Protecting the natural environment has become a mainstream position, but for many advocates and activists the emotional toll of fighting one threat after another receives little attention. Increasingly environmental work requires self-care resources in order not to burn out, especially in the face of huge damage already inflicted on the environment while local fights often seem narrowly scoped and hard won. Grieving over species extinction, the climate crisis, ocean pollution, and other losses is an important psychological step in facing reality and renewing energy for these fights.
- we are a safe and neutral ground where highly charged topics such as islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia, immigrant worker issues, can be explored, leading to more local commitment to fight these frightening trends
- ICAH is collaborating with the Tompkins county school districts as well as other youth agencies to develop programs for youth, children, and parents. Our goal is to connect young people with their spirituality and one another as a critical piece of being a full human being and a loving member of society.
In an era where religion has become politicized, and politics are dividing people, we are becoming more angry, confused and contentious. We have forgotten how to talk with one another. At ICAH, our goal is to bring people together to discover our shared humanity, and therefore, our shared responsibility for one another. We plan to reach this goal through offering ways in which we can come together over a shared common cause, or a desire to feel less angry, less anxious about the “other,” the one who seemingly is different and a threat because of that difference. Through this coming together and knowing more about each other, we can create a better community and work better together to address the issues that are plaguing our community (and our world.)
We also feel that people need to tend to the “spirit,” however one describes that yearning for something bigger than oneself, so we offer space for Good Grief Groups, Healing Arts, Eco-Grief, Spiritual and Pastoral Counseling and much more.