In a world of religious differences and sometimes strife, Utica is on the map as a place where multiple faiths are co-existing in relative harmony.While outsiders may scratch their heads in wonder, this all seems so natural to us. And it's not so hard to understand.
In recent years, the city has become a stop for international journalists, religious experts and diplomats interested in how Uticans are managing a remarkable religious transition.
Utica was built by waves of immigrants. While the countries they came from may have had different customs, and while their reasons for leaving may have been different, their reasons for coming here were all the same: to start over in a land where they were free to make their own way.
Those memories linger in the family histories of the older Welsh, Irish, German, Italian, Polish, and Lebanese immigrants who came here. Over time these groups discovered what they had in common, and realized that they were not so different from each other.
Now, the descendants of the older immigrants see their own family histories playing out again before their eyes in the Bosnians, Russians, Cambodians, Karen, etc. that have arrived recently. The memories are refreshed. The new arrivals are traveling down the same path to freedom that our grandparents took. They are like us, too, in what really counts: seeking freedom.
It is only natural that we would want to show them the way.