on this page
1. VISION — CRES envisions
the greater Kansas City area as a model community honoring interfaith relationships
2. VALUES — Our guiding
question is “What is sacred — what is so important that my life depends
upon it, that I would die for it — and what may I do to understand, honor
and share it?”
3. MISSION: To honor the sacred wherever it appears, to support its appearance everywhere, especially by promoting understanding among peoples of all faiths in Kansas City and beyond.
THE WORK OF CRES is to
• promote interfaith dialog and cooperation,
• provide insight into the problems and possibilities of global community,
• support and enhance goals and programs of existing Kansas City religious and educational organizations,
• interpret religious dimensions of American and international culture
• enrich and refresh the life of the individual, and
• deepen awareness of our participation in the natural environment.
4. ADVANCING THE GUIDING QUESTION: What is sacred, what is so important that my life depends upon it, that I would die for it, and what may I do to understand, honor, and share it? — CRES advances groups and individuals exploring and experiencing this question from many perspectives.
We advance rich, diverse and unifying answers found in the three families of world religions. Primal traditions have generally found their answers to our guiding question in the realm of nature, Asian religions in the self, and monotheistic faiths in history. The task now is to see how nature, self, and history interpenetrate and form one another.
We also advance the connectedness of all areas of life — the arts, education, science, social issues, business, sports, the home. Our guiding question helps to reveal this connectedness, which then restores us to larger vision and purpose, surer judgment, greater effectiveness, deeper enjoyment and wider service.
The context is global; our work is local. As the world's religious leaders meet to understand each other, so we promote understanding in Kansas City among those who seek a respectful exchange among the faiths and for those who wish an educational approach to cultural questions affected by religion.
By working as consultants on site in client facilities — in a church, a business, a home, a classroom, a gallery, or a theater — we support individuals and community groups with lectures, workshops, retreats, personal consultation, rites and ceremonies, and interfaith development.
5. RESPONSE to the
three great crises of our secular age
Three Families of Faith and Liberation Movements
The religions of the world can be placed (with exceptions and many qualifications) into three families according to the realm in which they locate the Sacred, the very realms in which the three great crises appear. Contemporary liberation movements are also spiritual sources for many people.
For more information about
symbols of world religions,
send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to CRES, Box 4165, Overland Park, KS 66204
Some Interfaith Milestones in the Kansas City Area
These highlights do not include interfaith social services or political efforts.
1982 — CRES (“World Faiths Center for Religious Experience and Study”) organized as a Kansas not-for profit; developing of interfaith relationships.
1985 — First Annual Thanksgiving Sunday Interfaith Family Ritual Meal, hosted by various sites, with annual awards
1985 Dec 31 — First Annual World Peace Meditation, since grown into an interfaith gathering
1989 May 11 — CRES organizes and hosts the Kansas City Interfaith Council
1990 — “Religion and the Media” conference at Rockhurst University with the KC Press Club
1994 — Wednesday “Faiths and Beliefs” column and Saturday rotating faith writers added to The Kansas City Star in recognition of the area’s religious diversity
2001 Sep 16 — Interfaith Ingathering after 9/11 at Johnson County Community College
2001 Oct 27-28 — “Gifts of Pluralism” conference, with 250 attending from 15 faith groups from A to Z, American Indian to Zoroastrian; Concluding Conference Declaration unanimously voted; outcomes include interfaith book clubs, The Hindu and the Cowboy and Other Kansas City Stories, the “Interfaith Passport.”
2002 Sep 10 — Jackson County Diversity Task Force presents its 77-page report and recommendations to 5-county area
2002 Sep 6 — National Catholic Reporter devotes full page to “Interfaith Passport” program
2002 Sep 11 — A day-long interfaith observance of 9/11 beginning at Ilus Davis Park at daybreak and ending with a massive observance at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral; the day included KC Symphony, Ballet. and Opera participation
2002 Oct 13 — Network CBS focuses a half-hour special on Kansas City’s interfaith activities
2004 Oct 13 — Interfaith conference for religious leaders
2005 Jan 1 — Kansas City Interfaith Council becomes independent not-for-profit
2005 Jan 30 — First Salaam Shalom Celebration
2005 Feb 11 — Public and the Mayor’s reaction to the remarks at the Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast
2005 Nov 10 — First Annual “Table of Faiths” Luncheon
2005 May 11 — Repeat Interfaith conference for religious leaders
2006 Jan 22 — Second Annual Salaam Shalom Celebration
2006 Nov 14 — Second Annual “Table of Faiths” Luncheon
2007 June 13-27 — Nation Pilot Interfaith Academies held in Kansas City
2009 —North America
Interfaith Conference to be held in Kansas City
The symbols are arranged
Primal religions include those of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome, the Maya, Inca and Germanic folk religions, and living religions of American Indians, tribal Africans, Australian aborigines and today's neo-pagans or Wiccans. In general, primal religions locate the sacred in the world of nature.
Asian faiths include Confucianism and Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism and Shinto (really a nature tradition). Although developed within Islam, Sufism has characteristics of this family. In general, Asian religions locate the sacred in the realm of consciousness.
Monotheistic traditions include Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Many would also include Sikhism, Baha'i, Unitarian Universalism, Zoroastrianism, and American civil religion in this family. In general, monotheistic religions find the sacred revealed in the history of covenanted community.
Liberation movements include
environmental work, peace efforts, racial healing, women's and men's explorations,
communal experiments, 12-step programs, and gay liberation. These can be
manifestations of fresh understandings of the sacred.
CRES values the contribution
of each distinctive faith in healing the crises of our age -- and finds
it important to honor and preserve their distictions. See our motto above.
Much of following material in color is charted on our home page at www.cres.org#chart
Examples to be considered:
6. CRES HISTORY IN BRIEF [needs updating]
Purpose and Beginning of the Organization— CRES is a 501(c)(3) organization promoting understanding among peoples of all faiths in the greater Kansas City area. Originally the “Center for Religious Experience and Study” until its name change in 2000, CRES was founded by the Reverend Vern Barnet in 1982. He recognized that most people were unaware of the religious diversity within the community, and that prejudice impeded the understanding of shared values. He created avenues for interfaith dialog and education. All faiths pursue the holy — what has ultimate worth, supreme value — and their different expressions of it can enlarge the perspectives we have of our own faiths.
Achievements — From
1982 to 1999, the operations of CRES were limited to Dr. Barnet’s personal
investment of time and money—his “gift” to the community. Accomplishments
during this period were many, including:
Recent Community Support
and Expansion — In 1999, members of the community saw the value of Dr.
Barnet’s work and wanted to expand it and make his vision sustainable.
A Board of Directors was formed, recruiting from business, spiritual, and
volunteer leaders in the metropolitan area. A part time administrative
assistant was hired and financial systems installed. Financial resources
are limited, but current programs are being enlarged and enhanced. As resources
are available, there are plans for a certification program for interfaith
QUICK UPDATE -- WIth the emeritus status of our president, Vern Barnet, a refocus is appropriate.
Stakeholders — CRES members
are not the only stakeholders. Individuals and groups within the community
use CRES as an interfaith resource and referral center. • When an organization
needs an interfaith invocation, • when the owner of a specialized book
collection needs advice about to whom to donate the books, • when a family
is confused by a child's interest in an unfamiliar faith, • when a church
wants a workshop or retreat about sexuality in other traditions, • when
a hospital needs to know if Hindus can receive blood products, • when someone
wants to know how to address a Buddhist leader, • when chaplains are needed
for a national chess tourney held in Kansas City, CRES gets the call. •
Whether it's a tour of sacred art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, •
assistance with an initiative of the Midwest Bioethics Center, or • consultation
with the Heart of America United Way — in these and many other ways, CRES
is uniquely or best able to provide networking skills and interfaith knowledge.
7. FINANCIAL GIFTS WELCOME
YOUR SUPPORT OF INTERFAITH WORK IS APPRECIATED.
8. Testimonials: Meet CRES, A Unique (and Needed) Voice in Metropolitan Kansas City
“Through his work as the leader of CRES, Vern Barnet has set a tradition of respect for the many views of what is sacred. He is the voice of tolerance for the many religious traditions practiced in our community.” — I. J. Barrish, Ph.D.
“The void that too often separates religious groups throughout the community — indeed, throughout the world — is addressed in the unique ministry that Vern Barnet brings to this city through CRES. His considerable talents, vision and total commitment have fostered mutual understanding and shared experience that serve to heal the brokenness and alienation endemic among peoples.” — John Gregory
“Each major world religion is deeply rooted in a unique world view, reflected in its rituals, stories, traditions and symbol system. CRES opens a window to these world faith experiences, inviting our understanding, enrichment and growth.” — Donna W. Ziegenhorn
“Our country was founded on the quest for religious freedom and tolerance. Kansas City is fortunate to have an organization like CRES and a leader as committed and articulate as Vern Barnet to nurture these values in our community.” — Anne S. Canfield
“Thanks to CRES, representatives of all major world faiths throughout the Greater Kansas City area come together, building mutual respect, appreciation and tolerance. The fruits of these efforts over the years are paving the way for a major Interfaith Conference in the Year 2000, now in the planning.” — Larry Guillot
“CRES is a means for people of good will who practice various faith beliefs in our city to reach each other.” — Joe Archias