The work of the multi-faith House of One Foundation is supported by a broad social alliance. At a time when cohesion in Germany is being called into question, representatives from politics, culture, sport and business met on the foundation's board of trustees on Thursday (January 25) to discuss how to strengthen interfaith coexistence.
Berlin's Governing Mayor Kai Wegner, who chairs the board, said after the meeting: "Cohesion is of fundamental importance for the development of our society. It is our duty to ensure this cohesion. Unfortunately, we are also experiencing increasing polarization and growing anti-Semitism in Berlin these days. With the House of One in the heart of the city, the three major religions are sending out a joint signal against this. This place of tolerance is more important than ever."
Rabbi Andreas Nachama of the House of One thanked the Governor for supporting the foundation's work to promote understanding. "It is anything but a matter of course that a religious project receives this level of appreciation. Especially in times of conflict, it is essential to maintain the thread of conversation between the Abrahamic religions."
His colleague, Pastor Gregor Hohberg, added: "Conversations with our supporters give us the strength and energy to continue working and growing in a spirit of joy and to take the House of One idea into society. The need to hear voices of peace, to experience how people of different faiths stand together for peaceful coexistence, is huge."
The House of One is a model for the future, as described by Imam Kadir Sanci, the third cleric on the foundation's board of directors: "In a society that is currently more concerned with what divides us than celebrating what we have in common, we need women and men who are committed to understanding, and we need places where people can join hands, listen to each other and seek solutions together."
Governing Mayor Wegner commented on the foundation's commitment: "In the House of One, the three major religious communities show how they exemplify openness and tolerance. This radiates into our city, our society and our entire country. Christianity, Judaism and Islam are united in their messages of peace. The House of One thus stands against the abuse of religion, against intolerance, hatred and violence. It is the place where we can experience what togetherness is all about."
In addition to Berlin's Governing Mayor, the Board of Trustees of the House of One Foundation also includes Josef Schuster from the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Hermann Parzinger from the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Frank Schwabe as the Federal Government Commissioner for Global Religious Freedom, Hamideh Mohagheghi from the Hanover Council of Religions, Bishop Christian Stäblein from the Protestant Church, Bishop Heiner Koch from the Archdiocese of Berlin, Kaweh Niroomand from the Berlin Professional Clubs Initiative and Hetty Berg from the Jewish Museum Berlin. More information here.
With the House of One, something unique is being created in Berlin: A sacred building that people of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths will plan, build and use together for the dialog between the religions and with the urban society. The House of One will be built on the foundations of the former St. Peter's Church at this site of Berlin's origins, where Berlin's first church stood over 800 years ago and where the coexistence of the city and religion began. A house with a synagogue, a church and a mosque under one roof - with a large open meeting space at its center. Together, the religions themselves are a sign of hope in difficult times. The total costs of the construction project currently amount to 69.5 million euros.