Updated: Monday, Jun. 7, 1999 at 23:25 CDT
Many faiths worship in Northeast Tarrant County
By Tara Dooley
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
In Northeast Tarrant County, it's not a church, a synagogue or a mosque
where varieties of religious traditions can meet under one roof.
It's Colleyville Community Center, a city-owned building near the center
of the Metroplex.
But in that red-brick building, Christian church services, Muslim
festivals, Bahai holidays and Jewish holy days are celebrated, said Lin
Przybyl, supervisor of the center on Bluebonnet Drive.
There have been weddings at the center that combined Muslim and Sikh
traditions, as well as receptions in which everyone observed the same
Christian practices. Bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs, Jewish coming-of-age
ceremonies for boys and girls, respectively, are scheduled through
"I suppose there is a real need for this kind of facility," Przybyl said.
"I have learned a wealth of information working here."
Northeast Tarrant County offers an abundance of religious customs, though
all are not under the same roof, or even within the exact geographical
boundaries of the area.
"I think many traditions have to search and seek out a group of
like-minded people," said the Rev. Carol Record, minister of Unity
Church of Northeast Tarrant County in Grapevine. "One may have to travel
some distance, but I believe that most traditions are represented."
Though Christian churches of many denominations often dominate the skylines,
representatives of many faiths call the area home. There is a Muslim group
that meets in a storefront in Hurst, a Baptist church in Grapevine that
attracts up to 7,500 worshipers, and a growing Jewish community that is
weighing the benefits of building a synagogue in the area.
"I think there is a lot of acceptance of all traditions in our area,"
Record said. "I think a lot of it is that in our entire community, many
people have relocated from other areas."
In some instances, the variety of denominations working together has
produced results that extend beyond places of worship.
GRACE, a Grapevine charity that provides food, clothing, furniture and
financial assistance for those in need, began as a coalition of nine
Northeast Tarrant churches, said Tricia Wood, executive director. Among
the denominations were Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran,
Assembly of God and Baptist, Wood said.
"Our mission statement is that we try to help people in need in the
spirit of God's grace," Wood said. "We are rooted in the church
community, but it is not tied to one community."
But there also are communities that don't worship in churches. And many
of them are growing as the area grows.
About five years ago, a group of Muslim families, tired of the trek to
Fort Worth or Arlington for services, opened the Islamic Association of
the Mid- Cities in a storefront in Hurst.
"There is plenty of [Muslim] population living in the Mid- Cities," said
Rehana Kausar, an anesthesiologist and volunteer religious education
teacher at the mosque. "They don't want to go that far."
Now, about 500 adults and children meet in the mosque for religious
education and prayer services, Kausar said. Although some services are
conducted in the storefront, festivals such as the one that ends the
month of fasting for Ramadan sometimes take place at Colleyville
Similarly, the Jewish community in Northeast Tarrant County is growing
in size and prominence.
About eight months ago, families began gathering for a Community Chavurah,
or Community of Friends.
Since then, the group has grown to about 55 member families who have
holiday celebrations and social gatherings, also sometimes at
Colleyville Community Center.
"We have had such enthusiasm and whole-hearted support that we are
exploring the possibility of forming a congregation with a permanent
home," said Anna Eisen, one of the founders of Community Chavurah.
Christian denominations also are growing and area cities are welcoming new
churches. Southlake soon will welcome its first Presbyterian church.
"We are excited to see all denominations grow and prosper," Record said.
"We know that each church attracts to it the members who are right and
perfect for that belief."
Tara Dooley, (817) 685-3814
©Copyright 1999, Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas