CCIU promotes public awareness, understanding about, and respect for, Connecticut's religious pluralism through an array of programs and initiatives. CCIU's principal focus is on educating youth and adults about the world's religions, the values they share in common, and their differences, and how they have contributed to our respective world views and identities.
We welcome and celebrate the increasing religious diversity in Connecticut and the United States. We promote interfaith dialogue and understanding in order to achieve mutual respect, justice, and peace.
When we understand each other more...
...we hurt each other less.
The Connecticut Committee for Interreligious Understanding (CCIU) was founded in 1994 to organize a program and worship service in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. The Committee continued to exist because the participants at that event enthusiastically endorsed the idea of ongoing dialogue and cooperation to provide an effective public voice on issues of interreligious concern.
Encouraged by a second successful conference in 1997 and another in 1998, the Committee continued to speak out and to provide resources and speakers to religious communities, schools, and community organizations.
The Committee was renamed the Connecticut Council for Interreligious Understanding in 2003, when it was incorporated and received a 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS.
Since then, CCIU has continued to expand its program offerings, reaching increasing numbers of people throughout Connecticut through a variety of activities, programs, and events.
Today, our work is more important than ever. In the face of growing prejudice, especially Islamophobia and antisemitism, we continue to build a community that fosters interreligious understanding and acts against ignorance, fear, hatred and violence.
Current Board Members & Officers
(CCIU’s Board members represent nine religions)
Alvan N. Johnson, Jr.
Debra Pittorie Forand
We believe it is vitally important for us to learn about all religions, to understand them and to respect the fact that, depending upon the circumstances and place of one's birth, family and culture, we have come naturally to accept and embrace different views and practices.
We believe each of the world's religions, as well as thoughtful and caring non-believers, espouse peace, understanding, compassion, love, respect for human dignity and the well-being of humanity.
We believe it is critical that we engage with open minds and hearts in the process of learning about all religions so that we can advance respect, understanding, compassion, and inter-group peace. We believe that ignorance leads to stereotyping which is destructive to and inconsistent with these values.
We believe it is especially important to educate our children in primary and secondary schools by teaching about religion from a nonsectarian perspective so that they will understand the world's religions and respect those whose religious practices differ from their own.
We value the importance of dialogue - vs. debate - with people of all religions, believing it is as important to listen and understand as it is to speak and be understood..