Ecumenical and Interreligious

Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer Spotlight: Melanie Slane

April 9, 2024
Ecumenical and Inter-religious Relations

Each quarter, the Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations newsletter highlights one of the church’s Episcopal diocesan ecumenical and interreligious officers (EDEIO). Part of a national network, EDEIOs are designated by their diocesan bishops to encourage wider unity in Christ’s church and collegial relationships with members of other religions.

In the heart of the Queen City, a rhythm of unity beats within the ecumenical and interfaith body of her citizens at the annual Cincinnati Festival of Faiths. Each year, a collective of 37 unique faith traditions representing 13 world religions gathers together for sharing, learning, celebrating, and collective prayer for a more peaceful and loving community. Combining both in-depth online offerings the week prior, and in-person opportunities on the last Sunday of August, the Cincinnati Festival of Faiths highlights the best of what humanity can be when we look for life and hope beyond the walls that separate us. 

The EDEIO of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio, the Rev. Melanie Slane, has been an active member of the festival planning committee since 2019, and believes that the gathering (which attracts around 3,500 visitors per year) is a game changer in the religious landscape of the Midwest.

Slane said, “In a place where white Christian nationalism has a very loud voice, we come together to sing of the beauty of our diversity—celebrating our shared humanity and our collective desire for peace and compassion in our nation.” 

Slane believes that an interfaith collective is essential when standing in opposition to racism, classism, violence, and environmental degradation, and that together we can raise our voice in praise of a Creator who made us good and desires that we love one another. 

“The festival is an amazing way for us to highlight all of the good work that we are doing throughout the year in educating our community on matters of justice through collective action,” Slane said. 

EquaSion, the interfaith collective of Cincinnati, has year-round programming to promote Compassion Through Action and works in concert with the Ohio Council of Churches and other statewide organizations to promote equity and inclusion in all aspects of our shared life. We hope that you will join us Aug. 19-25 (online or in-person) to celebrate the richness of our diverse religious landscape, or to seek inspiration for gathering the interfaith community around you, in order to create a more loving and joyful society for all. 

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Melanie Slane serves as associate rector for mission at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Hyde Park, Cincinnati, where, along with worship and pastoral ministries, she dedicates her days to service with the surrounding community, with a particular focus on permanent supportive housing.

Melanie also represents the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio as ecumenical and interfaith development officer on the National Executive Team of EDEIOs, and at the Ohio Council of Churches, where she serves as vice president of the board of directors. She is an active interfaith member of the Cincinnati Festival of Faiths planning committee, and advisory board member of A Mighty Stream: An Interfaith Community of Sacred Activists for Racial Justice. 

Melanie and her husband, Chris, who is also an Episcopal priest and doctoral student at Hebrew Union College, live in Pleasant Ridge with their two young sons, Constantine and Aristotle. These three bring great joy and laughter to Melanie’s daily life!

Melanie is a 2013 graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, where she earned a Master of Divinity. Before moving to Cincinnati, Melanie served as associate priest at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Webster Groves, Missouri; and prior to that, as assistant rector at the Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C. 

Melanie also gained experience in asset-based community development while serving in the Young Adult Service Corps of The Episcopal Church in the Northern Philippines, where she worked with local women to start a small business in organic jam-making. Her interreligious ministry has also taken her to Honduras, Turkey, the Navajo Nation, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Israel, Palestine, Guatemala, and lots of places in between. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri, with a Bachelor of Science in business administration; and was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. 

With great delight, Melanie serves as EDEIO of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio and looks forward to doing her part to create a more loving, just, and equitable society for all people.

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