Members of each house of worship are embedded in each other’s lives outside the sanctuary offering comfort, support and helping with whatever is needed, including babysitting, piano lessons and much more.
Bonin said the relationship works.
“We are two congregations sharing a ministry,” he said. “It’s been a great gift.”
The two congregations maintain warm spiritual and working relationships. They host regular free community meals, Elijah’s Table, and also host a youth faith-based programs where young church members learn about each other’s faith and traditions.
Adult groups also study the Bible together.
At a recent Elijah’s Table meal, Bonin said Church of the Transfiguration also honors its neighbor with two large quilts hanging on the fellowship hall room, one for his church and one to celebrate Etz Hayim. That shows the two congregations with one strong relationship.
Transfiguration member Mimi Cagle said the relationship gives members a universal message about faith, friendship and tolerance.
“Religion exists to try to answer the most fundamental questions of the universe and our place in it,” she said. “If any single religion had found the answers, we’d all go to that church/temple/synagogue and our search would be over.”
Cagle has met many friends through the Etz Hayim/Transfiguration connection and said joint activities between the two have given her new ways of thinking about faith, worship, the Bible and even politics.
“Everyone hears so much in the news about the intolerance of various Christians,” she said. “I am thrilled that our campus stands for inclusivity.”