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CRES is a 501(c)(3) organization
promoting understanding of all faiths
through teaching, writing, and consulting.

Having spawned several other organizations,
including the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council,
we continue to offer programs initiated by and through others
but we no longer create our own in order to focus on our unique work.
For interfaith and cultural calendars maintained by other groups, please click here.

with CRES participation
Click here

740-page Spiritual Health Care Guide 


After a dozen years of work, 
Vern and three others editors 
finally saw Randcliffe's publication of
The Essential Guide to Religious Traditions and Spirituality for Health Care Providers,
a 740-page reference book 
on faiths from A to Z. 
The link takes you 
to the publisher's web site 
description of the book.


Vern spoke 2013 Sept 1 to the Community of Reason at UMKC on the topic, "A God Atheists Can Believe In."  Click on the link for a brief report and outline of the interactive lecture.

The Crescent Peace Society 17th annual awards dinner included the announcement of the high school winners of the Syed Farrukh Shabbir, MD, Memorial Scholarship. Vern was a judge of the entries, and Joshua C Thomas accepted his award in person. 

At the beautiful Wyandotte Lake Park, overlooking the lake on a remarkably cool August morning, Sunday the 18th, Ferris Buhler and Cecilia Moreira were wed by Vern in a ceremony with guests from Denmark, Ecuador, and many other places.

Vern led visiting dignitaries Joseph and Julie Rosendo and guests 2013 Aug 14 on a tour of sacred art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art the morning after Rosendo, host of the PBS Travelscope series, spoke to hundreds at Unity Temple on the Plaza about "Travel as a Life-Changing Experience."

Photo and story about Vern's remarks to the metro American Guild of Organists chapter in the 2013 May magazine, "The American Organist"

When David Nelson was out of town, Vern led the 2013 May 8 session of "Vital Conversations" on Eboo Patel's Common Ground. 

Muslim-Baptist Conversation: The remarkably successful, 5-hour event 2013 April 20, which Vern moderated, was reported in several publications and on local TV.


Ealier programs, beginning in 1985, 
are reported in 
Many Paths.

No room left, but please see the tour at
Aug 14 Wed 10:15-11:30
who is in town Aug 13 Tue 6:30-7:30p
Travel as a Life-Changing Experience
Unity Temple on the Plaza

     Joseph Rosendo embraces the color and spirit of each culture he visits and now he brings that passion to Kansas City. Joseph concludes each program with this quote from Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” ( Join Joseph as he shares his travel discoveries and life-changing experiences. "Whether it’s chanting with monks in Thailand, morning prayers in Istanbul, sending heavenly lanterns to the skies in Taiwan or praying with a pilgrim in Ethiopia – Travelscope strives to demonstrate that we are more alike than different and that all spiritual paths are truly seeking the same goal, connection with our higher power." 
     All proceeds from this event benefit “Books That Build Bridges” to establish a Spiritual Diversity Library Collection for the entire community.
     For information and tickets:
and visit

Vern concludes the tour of sacred at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
for Joseph and Julie Rosendo and guests in the new Bloch building at the Noguchi "Fountain."
(see announcement above)

By Invitation
2013 AUG 18 SUN 11 am, Davis Hall, Wyandotte County Lake Park
WEDDING -- Ferris Buhler and Cecilia Andrade

"A God Atheists Can Believe In"
 A Postmodern-Medieval-Cyberspace-Prehistoric Perspective
Remarks by Vern Barnet and a Discussion Following
Dr Vern Barnet founded the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council in 1989. 
He has taught world religions in area seminaries and universities and 
wrote the "Faith and Beliefs" column for The Star for 18 years. 
His bio appears at

2013 Sep 1 Sun 1-3 pm
UMKC Haag Hall Room 301
northwest corner of 52nd & Rockhill Road*

hosted by
The Community of Reason

*Park FREE on level 4 of the parking structure
southwest corner of 52nd & Rockhill Road
3rd floor of Haag is accessed directly through breezeway over 52nd St
Turn right into Haag

Postmodern-Medieval-Cyberspace-Prehistoric Perspective
     postmodern —“I define postmodernism as incredulity toward ([all] meta-narratives.” —Lyotard,1984 
     medieval — living inside the story, Tillich’s “unbroken” myth
     cyberspace —– opennes toward all meta-narratives. “The final belief is to believe in a fiction, which you know to be a fiction, there being nothing else. The exquisite truth is to know that it is a fiction, and that you believe it willingly.” — Wallace Stevens
     prehistoric — fear and awe, with no algorithm to explain the universe that is smaller than infinity
Belief, Creed, God
  belief— modern meaning distort original sense: cf libido, desire, liebe, love
  credo — modern meaning distort original sense: cf cor (as in core, heart) do (as in sonation), I give my heart to . . .  Cor is Latin; car (cardiology) is the Greek form.
  God — for many Christian mystics God=Reality; Sanskrit sat (as in satyagraha and satchitananda) can be understood as truth, being, reality. Hebrew Yahweh=I am what I am/ I will be what I will be. Cf Al-Haqq, Dharmakaya, etc in other faiths.

William Blake's often misunderstood and ironic "Ancient of Days"
symbolizes the kind of God many folks no longer believe exists.
It was on the cover of the program for the interactive lecture,
with special guests
former Kansas Attorney General Robert T Stephan
and former Kansas City Mayor Charles B Wheeler.
For a free copy of the illustrated program handout,

Here is an outline of the interactive lecture 
without the illustrations and stories:


0. Biographical sketch — How I’ve come to see things as I do today.
00. Ten volunteers who briefly describe the g/God they do not believe in.
000. Three terms: belief, creed, God. 
1. VEIL — God/Reality as irrational, unknowable, and immoral
 senses: limits and illusions
 scale: size, time, temperature
 math and morality

2. NET — God/Reality as mutuality in space and time
 space: ecology
 time: evolution
 space-time: relativity, quanta, strings, etc

3. LOOPS & LEVELS — God/Reality as recursive


Vern congratulates Josh Thomas on his winning essay,
along with (see inset) his mother, former Congressman Dennis Moore,
who was also recognized  at the dinner with a "lifetime achievement award," and his wife Stephene.

Photo and story about Vern's remarks to the metro American Guild of Organists chapter
in the 2013 May national magazine, "The American Organist"

When David Nelson was out of town,
Vern led the May 8 session of "Vital Conversations" on Eboo Patel's Common Ground.
A few of those lingering afterwards are shown here.


Please wait for large image to load. Thank you.
And thanks to Central Baptist Theological Seminary for these and other photos of the "Common Ground:
Baptist-Muslim Conversation with Vern Barnet, Ruth Clark, Ahmed El-Sherif, Shakil Haider, Steve Jones, Nurdeen Lawal, Molly T. Marshall,
Bilal Muhammed, Andy Pratt, Mahnaz Shabbir, and the more than 140 Muslims and Baptists who participated in the event at Prairie Baptist Church.

For a link to The Interfaith Observer report, click here.
For a link to the American Baptist News Report, click here. The text appears below the photos here.


VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 4/23/13)—Central Baptist Theological Seminary hosted a conversation between Baptists and Muslims at Prairie Baptist Church, Prairie Village, KS, on Saturday, April 20. The Committee on Christian Unity and Interfaith Relations of ABCUSA partnered with Central for the event, which was part of a national dialogue between the Muslim and Christian communities on “The Love of God and Pathways to Peace.”  The initiative comes as a response to A Common Word Between Us and You, an open letter from Muslim religious leaders and scholars to world Christian leaders calling for peace and justice between the two religious communities. 

Rev. Dr. Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA said, “In the midst of the fears, anger and mistrust accompanying the attack on the Boston marathon, it ought to be heartening to all to know that we are actively involved in peacemaking. Peacemaking is an essential element of our Christian vocation and the biblical motivation for our many efforts to work for peace with our Muslim neighbors.  We are grateful for the partnership with Central and our other ABC seminaries in this effort.  Let us all rededicate ourselves to the often difficult but always essential efforts in local, national and international arenas to wage peace.” 

The conversation, held at the request of Medley, was one of three such regional events being held by schools with ties to ABCUSA, with a goal to “create an atmosphere where these two faith communities can live in peace and respect with one another and promote the common good in the society in which we live and in the broader world.” The previous events were held at American Baptist Seminary of the West on February 3, 2012, and at Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University, on September 29, 2012. In addition to the regional events, two national events were previously held at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Centre, MA, one in 2012 and one in 2009. 

In her greeting to the participants, Central Baptist Theological Seminary president Molly T. Marshall said, “In light of recent events in Boston, it is even more urgent that we grow in understanding and respect of one another’s traditions.  Too often we demonize a whole way of faith because of the actions of a few. Our gathering today seeks to find common ground and common words, ‘Love of God’ and ‘Love of neighbor.’  Central Baptist Seminary wholeheartedly supports the promise of an event such as this.” 

Common Ground: A Baptist-Muslim Conversation included interaction between 120 participants – about 40% Muslim and 60% Baptists and other Christians – as they ate together and then participated in discussion guided by Vern Barnet, Minister Emeritus of the Community Resource for Exploring Spirituality (CRES).  Quran Scholar Hafiz Nurdeen Lawal and Vice President for Religious Ministries and Dean of the Chapel at William Jewell College Andy Pratt were questioned about their respective faith’s sense of need for this dialogue. They agreed that without sharing with one another, and then sharing with their communities what one has learned from the other, neither knows what the other has to offer. Mutual respect is a necessity for such conversation.  Lawal stressed the need to teach our youth how to have this conversation.  Pratt stressed finding ways for Muslims and Baptists/Christians to come together for humanitarian work. 

A panel dialogue followed with Muslim leaders Bilal Muhammad, Manhaz Shabbir, and Ahmed El-Sherif, and Central Seminary President Molly T. Marshall.  Marshall reflected that as participants shared their lives and the central roles of their respective faiths, they recognized their common humanity, and said, “Over and over participants voiced growing respect for the serious faith of the ‘other.’” 

The event at Central was planned by a committee of local Muslim leaders and representatives from American, Cooperative, and National Baptist congregations, as well as seminary representatives. 

About Central Baptist Theological Seminary 
Founded in 1901, Central Baptist Theological Seminary prepares women and men to transform churches and communities by educating and forming them as Christian leaders who are biblically knowledgeable, theologically articulate, spiritually healthy, humanly sensitive, and professionally competent.  The only seminary in Kansas, Central is proud to have the first woman president of a Baptist seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. Serving more than 30 Christian denominations, the Seminary is ecumenical and evangelical.  For more information, visit 

American Baptist Churches 
is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.

Just published by Radcliffe--
Editors:  Steven L Jeffers,  Michael E Nelson,  Vern Barnet, Michael C. Brannigan

This extraordinary compendium of religious traditions is invaluable to all healthcare providers. The user-friendly resource contains specific and detailed information on faith traditions vital for providing optimal spiritual care in a clinical setting.
A series of inspirational introductory chapters promote the importance of spiritual well-being as a vital component in whole person care, but the majority of the book forms a compilation of articles from a wide-ranging expert panel of contributors. Ideal for quick reference, the A-Z organisation from American Indian Spirituality to Zoroastrianism is presented in a clear and logical format, covering:
History and Facts
Basic Teachings
Basic Practices
Principles for Clinical Care
• Dietary Issues
• General Medical Beliefs
• Specific Medical Issues
• Gender and Personal Issues
Principles for Spiritual Care Through the Cycles of Life
Concepts of Living and Dying for Spiritual Support
• During Birth
• During Illness
• During End of Life
Care of the Body
Organ and Tissue Donation
Scriptures, Inspirational Readings and Prayers
• A user-friendly, comprehensive reference book on religious traditions
• Contains detailed and comprehensive information about multiple faith traditions pertinent to the clinical setting
• Systematically laid out for easy comprehension across all faiths
• Ideal for quick reference - A-Z compendium of faiths and a glossary of terms including section on 'special days'
• Clear and comprehendible explanations, especially when using terms from languages other than English.
• Authoritative – wide range of contributors that are experts in their field

Summary of contents
Preface • Foreword by Perry A. Pugno, MD • Foreword by Carl E. Lundstrom, MD • Reasons For and How to Use This Book • About the Editors • About the Contributors • Acknowledgements • Setting the Stage • Spirituality and Religion: An Overview of Three Families of Faith • Spirituality, Religion and Culture • Spirituality and Religion: Relevance in the Clinical Setting? • Spirituality and Religion in the Clinical Setting: Pros and Cons • Spiritual Care in the Clinical Setting: Assessment and Application • Agnosticism • American Indian Spirituality • Atheism • Baha’i Faith • Buddhism: General Introduction • Mahayana • Theravada • Vajrayana • Christianity: General Introduction • Anabaptist Traditions: General Introduction • Amish • Brethren in Christ • Church of the Brethren • Hutterites • Mennonite • Catholic Traditions: General Introduction • Eastern Rite • Roman • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) • Community of Christ • Jehovah’s Witnesses • Orthodox Christianity • Protestant Traditions: General Introduction • African American Baptist/Protestantism • African American Pentecostalism• African Methodist Episcopal (AME) • Anglican • Assemblies of God • Baptist • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) • Christian Science • Church of God, Indiana • Church of God in Christ • Episcopal • Evangelical Covenant • Lutheranism • Nazarene • Pentecostalism • Presbyterian • Seventh-day Adventist • United Church of Christ • United Methodist • Unity • Quakers: General Introduction • Liberal Quakers • Pastoral Quakers • Confucianism • Free Thinker • Hare Krishna • Hinduism • Humanism (See Secularism) • Islam • Jainism • Judaism • Paganism • Scientology • Secularism • Shinto • Sikhism • Spiritualism • Sufism • Taoism • Unitarian Universalism • Vodou • Wicca • Zoroastrianism • Concluding Words • Special Days of the World’s Religious and Spiritual Traditions • Glossary of Terms • Sources Cited and Consulted
Primary Care
Wellbeing and Spiritual Care

Edited by Steven L. Jeffers, PhD, Michael E. Nelson, MD, Vern Barnet, DMin, Michael C. Brannigan, PhD

Pastor L. Henderson Bell • Reverend Natalie Mitchem •  Kara Hawkins • Jimm G. Good Tracks • Linda L. Graham • James A. Cates • The Rev. John Cochran • Emanuel Williams • Barb McAtee • David Edalati, MD • Michael Fuhrman • Samuel M. Brubaker • Guy McCloskey • Clark Strand • Kongsak Tanphaichitr, MD, FACP, FRCP(C), FACR, FAAAAI • Chuck Stanford • Teri Brody, MD • Robert E. Johnson, PhD • Paul Hura, MD • Rev. Jerry L. Spencer, MA, BCETS, BCECR, BCSM, BCBT & Diplomate in AAET • Rev. Mr. Quentin B. Jones • Philip G. Davis • Dr. Molly T. Marshall • Barry L. Callen, EdD, DRel • Kathryn “Kathy” Goering Reid • Wallace B. Smith, MD • Edward R. Canda, PhD • Marshall Scott • Tom Anderson • Kathleen Buckley • Anand Bhattacharyya • Arvind Khetia • Kris Krishna • Rod Janzen • A. Rauf Mir, MD, FACP • Mahnaz Shabbir • Christopher Key Chapple • Gulab Kothari • Dilip V. Shah • Dr. Sulekh Jain • Dr. Dilip Bobra • Naresh Jain • Anop Vora • Prakash Modi • Dr. Pravin Shah • James N. Pellechia • Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz, PhD • The Rev. John D. Kreidler • Robert J. Carlson • Dr. Judith A. Schwanz • Dr. Darius Salter • The V. Rev. Dr. Steven Voytovich • Caroline Baughman • Mike Nichols • Robert H. Meneilly • Chel Avery • Brenda McKinney • Brent McKinney • Nancy O’Meara • Michael Irwin, MD, MPH • William G. Johnsson • William R. Lindsey • Gurinder Singh, MD, MHA • Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa • Rev. Lelia E. Cutler • Batina Hinds • Peter Cunneen • Donald D. Davis • Kathy Riegelman, MDiv, BCC • Greg Heinsman, MDiv, BCC • Jeanne Hoeft, PhD • Amanda Caruso • Rev. Thomas W. Shepherd, MDiv • Dowoti Désir • Maneck Bhujwala • Khojeste P. Mistree • James R. Russell, PhD • Ervad Jal N. Birdy

Author Affiliation
Edited by Steven L. Jeffers, PhD, Michael E. Nelson, MD, Vern Barnet, DMin, Michael C. Brannigan, PhD, respectively Founder and Director, Institute for Spirituality in Health at Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC); Physician, Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Merriam, Kansas; Lecturer in world religions at several universities and seminaries and religion columnist for The Kansas City Star; George and Jane Pfaff Endowed Chair in Ethics and Moral Values at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York and former Vice President for Clinical and Organizational Ethics at the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, Missouri