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Strong spiritual bonds at Overland Park community

Created date

February 22nd, 2011

Religion has been an important part of Patricia Belden s life for a very long time. She was an active member and volunteer at her local Kansas City area church for many years. At our home church, I ve done about everything there is to do, she says. Her service at her own church prepared and inspired her to take on even larger roles in the global faith community. Belden was elected as the Area Moderator for American Baptist Churches of the Central Region and as the President of Church Women of Johnson County, Kans. She and her husband, John, also served as volunteer missionaries in Latin America and several places in Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Japan. All of that gave me experience with a variety of people of different faith backgrounds, Belden says. So when Belden moved with her husband to Tallgrass Creek, an Erickson Living community in Overland Park, getting involved with the community s Interfaith Committee was a natural fit. I was willing to step into a key leadership role, she says. Tallgrass Creek s Interfaith Committee is a resident-run group that plans and coordinates a variety of activities to do with many aspects of religion, faith, and spirituality. There is a Bible study group that meets regularly, and the committee recently hosted special events around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Once a year around Easter, Tallgrass Creek s staff assists the committee with organizing an event where local clergy members join residents for a brunch celebration. And, Belden says, one of the most meaningful events the Interfaith Committee plans is an annual ceremony to remember loved ones who have passed away.

Many faiths one goal

Belden says the Interfaith Committee makes an effort to incorporate people of all different faiths and educate residents about various world religions. The committee has hosted speakers who gave talks on Islam and the Jewish high holidays, for example. Marvin Rogolsky shared his faith with his Tallgrass Creek friends and neighbors last year by organizing a traditional Seder meal for Passover. He explained the history of the Jewish holiday by reading sections from the Passover story, and closed the celebration with post-meal songs.

A special bond

Belden says Tallgrass Creek is warm and welcoming to people of all different religious backgrounds. She says she feels the same sense of community with her fellow residents as she does with the members of her own church. In fact, she says, the bonds among Tallgrass Creek residents can be even stronger because they spend so much of their lives together from sharing meals every evening at the on-site restaurant to working together on exciting projects through the community s many clubs and committees to taking day trips to museums, theaters, and other local attractions. The people here are so friendly, and we see them almost every day; whereas, at church, you only see them once a week, Belden says.