The Interfaith Center for Religious Literacy was formed in early 2012, when Bob Bacic proposed the idea to the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council. The GKCIC agreed to sponsor the project, and it gained non-profit status in 2014, under the umbrella of the GKCIC’s 501(c)(3). The three initial organizers were Robert Bacic, Steve Israelite, and Bill Tammeus. This expanded to include Alan Edelman, Mahnaz Shabbir, Anton Jacobs, Barry Speert, Carol Coburn (of Avila), David Nelson, and the Rev. Mary Gibson McCoy. Key members from UMKC include Troy Lillebo and John Herron. The organization is governed by a board of directors; Robert Bacic serves as convener.[1]

The mission of the organization is ” To promote religious literacy within the greater Kansas City community; To develop resources that enhance understanding of the varied religious traditions and practices in our region; To serve as a central location where people can come together to pursue greater understanding and knowledge of their neighbors’ religious traditions.” While the initial goal was to build a physical center, the organization now focuses on education. The Interfaith Center for Religious Literacy has held public programs, in partnership with American Public Square, and has been in conversation with the staff at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) about creating a Religious Literacy major. This idea was well received but has been delayed due to lack of funding. The Rev. Mary Gibson McCoy proposed curriculum for a Communiversity class on religious literacy, but so far it has not been implemented.[2]



[1] McCoy, Mary Gibson and Robert Bacic, interview by Geneva Blackmer. 2018. The Interfaith Center for Religious Literacy. (December 18).

[2] Ibid.