URI honors the life of Greg Harder. In an interview* with The Interfaith Observer (TIO) a few years ago, he said that he would spend several hours in front of his computer doing the work he believed in, being a “cultural detective specializing in interfaith." Greg would track down important information about interfaith cultures taken from various internet sites and post them widely in order to make interfaith life more visible on websites and social media. As an avid user of social media, he spread and strengthened the voices of interfaith communities and lifted up his own pagan community.
Greg and his wife Rachael Watcher gave heart and soul to helping URI develop a dedicated and strong community network. Greg generously stepped in to help expand the URI Multiregion by using his social media savvy to boost its internet presence. As a member of the People of the Earth Cooperation Circle, which focused on Indigenous and earth-related issues, he started the People of the Earth Facebook page, which grew to thousands of followers.
Greg’s gifts using social media went under the radar for the most part. Given in the spirit of quiet service, Greg’s contributions to the interfaith culture were significant. Whether he was helping to prepare meals for Indigenous gatherings, heading up clean-up kitchen crews, searching for relevant interfaith information to broadcast, or supporting Rachael in her role as Coordinator for URI’s Multiregion, Greg gave his gifts generously and modestly.
His dedication to interfaith outreach was fueled by his sincere desire to break the barriers among people who fear one another. He asked, “How do you talk to someone from a totally different culture, a culture that you fear?”
“By learning the skills to communicate effectively among and between diverse cultures is the primary key to success in interfaith dialogue,” he responded to his own question.
*with gratitude to The Interfaith Observer and writer Ruth Broyde Sharone, whose interview with Greg provided information in this tribute.