History

The Interfaith Mission Service, which began in 1969, has a rich history of over 40 years of promoting religious harmony and interfaith dialogue, cultural and racial dialogue, and being an advocate for positive change in the Huntsville area. The Journey and Susan Smith’s Review of Interfaith Mission Service History: 1970-1994 document this rich tradition. We invite you to learn more:

Our heritage
The Interfaith Mission Service was born during the Civil Rights era. One Jewish and ten Christian congregations formed the cooperative in 1969 – in the Deep South. The founders wanted to promote equality and racial reconciliation during a time when our nation’s moral fiber was being tested. Taking some unpopular stands, the cooperative lobbied for justice, while providing direct support to the most vulnerable.

Forty-five years later, the cooperative has grown to include Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Unitarian Universalists, and representatives of New Thought and other faith/belief systems. Our mission has also grown to include a focus on the importance of interfaith cooperation in today’s interconnected world. Our nation is the most religiously diverse in the world. Our hometown — because of its heritage of space exploration and technology entrepreneurship — is home to a large and growing population who immigrated here from around the globe.

Openness to religious diversity is crucial to our community’s success. That openness comes from a deep knowledge and understanding of the world’s great faiths — and of our common values. Offering a chance to gain that knowledge and find that common ground is our goal and our passion.

A legacy of service to Huntsville…

For 45+ years, the cooperative has been an incubator for many well-known agencies. We nurtured them through to independence. Today, they continue to serve the most vulnerable in our community. A few of these agencies are…

• HELPLine (1970) and HOPEPlace (1982) – now part of Crisis Services.
• CASA – the Care Assurance System for the Aging (1978).
• Hospice (1980) – Funds were provided to start Hospice and train initial volunteers.
• Community Counseling Center (1970) – now a part of the Family Services Center.
• Living in Family Transition (LIFT) – low-cost housing (1982)
• Food Bank of North Alabama (1984) – IMS provided seed funding.
• FirstStop (2001) – services to the homeless