»»Brigitte and Bashar Kalai Plaza of Respect

Brigitte and Bashar Kalai Plaza of Respect

Brigitte and Bashar Kalai Plaza of Respect 2018-04-12T12:51:38+00:00

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (IM) is grateful to have completed phase I of its Capital Campaign and is excited to announce plans to create a Plaza of Respect at its 3303 Main Street headquarters in Midtown. The Plaza will be dedicated to the interfaith work of three of our city’s most celebrated faith leaders — Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, Rabbi Samuel Karff and Reverend William A. Lawson. It will be the capstone of the IM campus and a beautiful civic space in the heart of Midtown.

The Plaza will complete IM’s campus, a project which started in 2012 with the launch of the Many Faiths Building Together capital campaign.  Now, we must raise the final $2.5 million of the $14,200,000 total campaign goal for the construction of the Plaza and establish a Reserve Fund needed to maintain the campus.

Thank you to our leading Plaza donors:

  • Brigitte and Bashar Kalai – Plaza of Respect
  • Patti and Richard Everett – Meditation Garden
  • Shell Oil Company – Banner of Respect


Why the Plaza?

  • Create a reflective, inspiring space in Midtown celebrating the religious diversity of our city.
  • Honor three religious leaders who have led the way for Houston as a respectful and inclusive community.
  • Recognize and educate about the many faiths in Houston.
  • Inspire our higher values.

(left to right) Rev. Lawson, Archbishop Fiorenza, Rabbi Karff

A Powerful Trio

The Reverend, the Archbishop and the Rabbi are a respected trio of friends who have worked with each other, in pursuit of the common good, for over three decades. They have championed a variety of causes, from tearing down shantytowns under bridges to halting the “school to prison pipeline” that treats juvenile misbehavior as crime, from fighting anti-Semitism to condemning the bombing of a local mosque.

Archbishop Fiorenza marched from Selma to Montgomery and oversaw the construction of Houston’s new cathedral. Rev. Lawson invited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. into his parish when many black clergy scorned him, and was let out of jail by a Houston mayor to calm down some civil rights rioters. Rabbi Karff piloted the nation’s oldest rabbinical organization and helped build Chicago’s landmark Conference on Religion and Race. Together, they do much more.” (Fraser, Jayme. “Trio quietly guides Houston’s conscience and policy.” Houston Chronicle. Sept. 30, 2013.)

In the 1980s, during Houston’s oil bust the three friends came together again to help the growing number of homeless in our city. Along with other religious leaders, they created a vision that became what is today the Coalition for the Homeless.



Design Elements

A large stone wall – the Peace Portal – separates the Plaza from the busy street to provide a sacred space. Three openings, or gateways, in the Portal allow visitors to access the Plaza. Portals are vehicles of change; they allow travelers to transport to new worlds, new dimensions. They allow humans a glimpse of the Divine. The openings also form breaks in the stone, reflecting the barriers broken by the three faith leaders. It is IM’s hope that those who enter the Peace Portal will be changed, will learn something new about faith and perhaps even about themselves.
Three pillars of illuminated dichroic glass – The Light Within – honor the three faith leaders. Visitors can glimpse these columns from the gateways in the Portal, the trio of entrances reflecting the triad monument beyond and the three Abrahamic traditions. The light in each column not only illuminates it, but also casts an upward glow… gently reaching out to the city beyond and to the heavens above. The light represents the light of faith embodied in each faith leader, the fire of justice sought, and the glow of hope for a more loving society.

A long Faith Fence facing north creates privacy. The fence will allow opportunities for donor recognition and future honorees from the faith community.

Make the Plaza of Respect a Reality!

The Plaza of Respect is a beautiful vision, but IM must raise the final funds needed to make it a reality.
Join us in honoring three wonderful faith leaders, and in creating a civic and inspirational space that convenes our many faith traditions and inspires all.




For More Information:
Maria Magee, Chief Development Officer
Ph: 713.533.4924 Email: mmagee@imgh.org