CRES is a 501(c)(3) organization promoting understanding of all faiths through teaching, writing, and consulting.
About CRES participation
2017 REMAINING PROGRAMS
Vital Conversations — 2d Wednesday of the month 1-2:30 pm
Vital Conversations Coffee — 4th Wednesday of the month 8 am
Candlemas 2018 Feb 2 Fri — time, more details to be announced
TENTATIVE PROGRAM INCLUDING
:: The Sacred Arts Chorale performs the complete Missa Pange Lingua by Josquin des Prez (1450?–1521) -- Kyrie, Gloria | Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei
:: Guitar, ud, or other music performed by Beau Bledsoe
:: Organ pieces performed by Paul Meier on the Gabriel Kney Pipe Organ
:: Poetry from Wm Shakespeare, George Herbert, John Donne, T S Eliot, W H Auden, and Vern Barnet read by Shakespearean actor Matt Schwader
:: And, of course, the full candle-lighting ceremony, incense, asperges
an offering during the World Interfaith Harmony Week
this past winter (see also the Council’s spring newsletter) was so successful
that folks have asked for another such observance this coming winter. While
everyone appreciated the interfaith dimension then, including the objects,
participation, and the cooperating partnership with the Council (and the
description of the Council in the printed program), we want to enhance
the interfaith dimension further by asking those on the Council who wish
to submit thoughts or references relating to light from their own traditions
for the printed program, and to ask those who wish to participate in person
to be recognized in several ways, including by being part of the procession
and recession, with special seating in the nave. This time, 2018, Feb 2
falls on a "First Friday," so we are considering other enhancements. We’ve
not settled on the exact time yet, probably between 7 and 8. The observance
will be shorter this year, though still including the Sacred Arts Chorale,
Beau Bledsoe, and Matt Schwader. The first Candlemas featured my book of
sonnets; this time instead, the poetry will include Shakespeare, Auden,
Eliot, Herbert, and Donne, with one sonnet of my own. Last winter’s Candlemas
was carefully reported
and evaluated, and while it was overwhelmingly praised, we think we
can do even better this time.
Evolution Weekend 2018 Feb 9-11— details pending
2018 May 7 – July 27 — Mondays 6-9:45pm CDT [2017-2018 Easter term]
Vern teaches the graduate credit course C-RP511
for Central Baptist Theological Seminary
Candlemas — 2017 Feb 2 Thurs 7 pm
World Religions Lectures — 2017 Feb 17-18 Fri-Sat
12th Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner — 2017 Apr 6
Anniversary of Church founding ] — 2017 Apr 6
[ Table of Faiths ] - Interfaith Council Annual Dinner — 2017 May 9
[ CRES Intern Geneva Blackmer ] receives degree — May 10
Sacred — the movie — May 18 Thurs 7 pm
[ A 75th Birthday ] a personal entry May 25
Interfaith Pride Service — 2017 May 31 Weds 7 pm
Chances Are Vital Conversations 2017 July 12 Weds 1-2:30 pm
Islam and Tolerance Vital Conversations 2017 Oct 11 Weds 1-2:30 pm
Healing Religious Bias — 2017 Oct 25 Wednesday 9-11 am
Has Science Eclipsed Religion? — 2017 Oct 28 Saturday brunch
Thanksgiving Dinner — 2017 Nov 12 Sunday 4-6:30
CANDLEMAS: IN LIGHT, MUSIC, POETRY
Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, 13th at Broadway, Kansas City, MO
The original announcement included this information:
The Mass for Four Voices by William Byrd
This observance of a traditional Christian feast day is honored with references to many faiths around the world, from the Paleolithic to the present, in the sonnets selected for the occasion, embraced by music from Elizabethan times when the English sonnet was defined by Shakespeare, the Quadricentennial of whose death we also mark.
Vern lectures in Atchison on world religions for students in the Benedictine Sister's Souljourners spiritual formation program leading to spiritual direction ministry at the Sophia Center, 751 South 8th Street, Atchison, Kansas 66002
Vernn described the three families of faith by stellinh stories suggesting where they typically find the sacred; epitomizing texts were studied; Buddhism and Islam were given special attention; and the benefits of interfaith exchange were celebrated.
A LENTEN SERIES
When Even Evil Will Ordain the Good
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
THE 8-PAGE PDF
Using themes from world religions to illumine our
own tradition, the Reverend Vern Barnet, DMn, explores the powerful mysteries
of the crucified and resurrected love of our Savior through the texts of
sonnets from the "Credo" section his new book, Thanks
for Noticing: The Interpretation of Desire.
Mar 8 - The Jesus of History or the Christ of Faith?Readings: Sonnet 82; Mar 8 -79; Mar 15 - 80 (? 85); Mar 22 - 84; Mar 29 - 86 (? 88).
Art to illustrate the themes
Two views of an icon of Christ teaching and Vel?zquez’s "Christ after the Flagellation contemplated by the Christian Soul" Mar 8 and Mar 15
The Dialogue Institute Kansas City, UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion, and UMKC's International Dialogue Student Ass'n cordially invite you to the
12th Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner
Members of different cultures join to enjoy cultural diversity
Global Warming of Hearts: Love and Acceptance
2017 April 6 Thursday 6-9 pm
Host Committee: Peggy Dunn, Mayor of Leawood; Carl Gerlach, Mayor of Overland Park; Ron Slepitza, President of Avila University; Marvin Szneler, Executive Director of JCRB - AJC; Jeremiah Morgan, Stake President- the Church of Jesus-Christ of LDS; William B. Rose-Heim, M.Div, Regional Minister and President Christian Church of Greater Kansas City; Sheriff, Calvin H. Hayden, Sheriff, Johnson County
The evening featured Eve Levin, PhD, as Keynote Speaker, chair, History Department, University of Kansas. Donna Ziegenhorn presided over the evening with music by Cindy Novelo, remarks by Ron Slepitza, and awards given to Dr Jospeph Sopich, the Down Syndrome Guild, and Cornerstones of Care. Music was provided by Cindy Novelo
The Invocation by Vern, wearing a stole with symbols of many world religions, appears below.
on the theme "Global Warming of Hearts: Love and Aceptance"
SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING,
SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING,
SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING,
SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING,
Save us, O SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING,
May you, O SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING,
--The Reverend Vern Barnet, DMn
Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church
Observes 50 years
Vern was the congregation's second minister, 1975-1984. He appears in the middle of the top row of the church's archive wall of photographs of former ministers, with the incumbent, Rose Schwab, shown in the final picture, who graciously recognized her predecessor during the celebration 2017 May 7. It was in the seventh year of Vern's ministry that the congregation encouraged Vern to begin CRES.
TABLE OF FAITHS
Sophia Kahn, MD, was this year's recipient of the Steve Jeffers Leadership Award, shown here in the middle with some of many friends and admirers. She was recognized for her efforts in many fields, but on this occasion particularly for or inspiring leadership in "KC for Refugees." Previous recipients include Queen Mother Maxine McFarlane (2010), Donna Ziegenhorn (2011), Mayor Sly James (2012), Bambi Shen (2014), the Rev Dr Wallace Hartsfield Sr (2015) and Shakil Haider (2016).
For the Cultural Crossroads report of the event, click here.
Sacred - The Movie
May 18 Thurs 7 pm Tivoli Theatre
Al Brooks, Donna Ziegenhorn, Sunyananda Dharma
discuss the movie afterwards with Vern Barnet
Sacred immerses the viewer in an exploration of spirituality across cultures and religions. At a time when religious hatreds dominate the world’s headlines, this film, sweeping in global reach and yet intensely intimate, explores faith as primary human experience: how it is used to navigate the milestones and crises of private life. Directed by Academy Award® winner Thomas Lennon and shot around the globe by 40 filmmaking teams.
As folks entered the theater, they were given a handout:
Involving many faiths and cultures, a world-wide collaboration: "Sacred"
Jamie Rich, who runs the Spiritual Cinema Series, introduced Vern who named the panelists. Vern said that in his 47-year career, no word has intrigued him more than "sacred" as a key to understanding paradigmatic experiences for others as well as for himself. The film episodes were organized into in three segments (initiation, practice, passage), in each third, scenes from Mt Hiei, home of the "Marathon Monks," appear, where Vern studied as a young man. Vern concluded, "What is sacred? -- Many answers are suggested by the multiple scenes we are about to witness. You may find some puzzling; some may touch your heart."
Vern noted that since there movie offered no overarching narration, the movie was an unusual approach for discussion. The movie opened and closed with birthing scenes. In between, a Muslim father singing the Call to Prayer to his newborn child, a Holi festival, a live crucifixion with real nails during Holy Week, the Hajj, rewrapping of ancestral bones, a bris, a boxing match and sermon in prison, group Tai Chi practice, various forms of prayer (including one who methodically prayed for others), a Buddhist initiation, a couple visiting a fertility shrine and on a porcelain phallus writing their hope to see their first child soon before placing the object on a prayer shelf, a half-sari ceremony, a baptism, workers in protective gear removing dead bodies in the Ebola crisis who think that the disease proves God is angry, an Apache dance, a wedding, a Muslim boy affirming that suicide-bombers go to hell, and dozens of other largely unexplained scenes.
1. What does "sacred" mean to you, or come to mean to you as you watch this movie?
2. Which episode or image in the movie best expressed what is sacred to you?
3. Which challenged you unexpectedly?
4. When did you have your own most profound or beautiful experience of the sacred?
5. If you could offer an experience of the sacred for others, what would it be?
6. What prevents our society from accessing the sacred more often?
7. How might sharing sacred experiences benefit us individually and as a culture?
What great panelists! -- Al Brooks, Donna Ziegenhorn, and Sunyananda Dharma. Each had previewed the movie and responded to a couple questions Vern asked to begin the discussion, and then to audience responses. Examples: Al discussed the importance of faith for those in prison and cited an innocent prisoner who waited thirty years for freedom. Sunyananda explained why Buddhist boys had finery placed on them as part of their initiation into monkshood before their heads were shaved, and how mala beads are used and what they mean, demonstrating with his as he spoke. Donna lamented that the movie did not display folks of many faiths joining together, which let to a celebration of the opportunities we have in Kansas City.
From his experiences in Africa and the Philippines, an audience affirmed the sincerity of practices that may seem strange to those of other cultures and called for our respect of them. The conversation ranged from to comparing the crucifixion to the Sun Dance (quite a sophisticated comment from an audience member). The last question led to a discussion of what assimilation means, and Vern reminded the audience that free Kansas City "Interfaith Passports" were available at the rear of the auditorium.
Perhaps this movie creates an appetite for a less haphazard and more informed movie to explore how different folks and cultures experience the sacred; and with the insights of the panelists, the audience was enabled to envision both personal and social ways in which our lives can be more frequently and more powerfully touched by the sacred.
Although expectations were for about 100, some estimated the crowd at twice that size, most of whom remained after the movie for the discussion.
A 75th Birthday
May 25 is also the birthday of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He would be 214 years old. Emerson lasted three years as a Unitarian parish minister; I served fifteen, for which I am grateful; thereafter my career status as a Unitarian Universalist minister changed from “parish” to “community” minister, and now “retired.” Like Emerson, I have read beyond Christian literature, with most of my work devoted to interfaith activities. I would have argued with him about lots of things, including communion, which he felt he could no longer administer with integrity. His doubts about Christian beliefs were modern of the sort perverted by the Enlightenment. A Transcendentalist and a Romantic, his individualistic themes have helped to bring us less the development of character and more the Gospel of Greed and Ayn Rand and now Donald Trump. If Emerson had understood the Eucharist better as the loving and just sharing of divine grace, maybe the benefits of his influence would have been less likely to have been ccorrupted. May his birthday encourage me to be ever self-critical and benefit from learning from others. My own sins should make me more understanding of others; and even if God may have forgiven me, I need to be mindful of past and potential wickedness lest I become untethered from the earthly realm in which the joy of duty best fulfills.
Speaking of the Eucharist: my day’s highlight was
attending Mass at the church where I am a member, Grace and Holy Trinity
Cathedral (Episcopal). The liturgical calendar this year gave my birthday
the extra blessing of the Feast of the Ascension.(See
Acts 1:9, Mark 16:19--an appendix not in the oldest manuscripts, Hebrews
4:14, and an interpretation of Psalm 110 and Daniel 7:13; Luke 24:51-52
is doubtful; clearly the story is a later tradition influenced by cultural
patterns, and the feast developed even later.) The sixth of the
Cathedral chancel windows depicts this final episode in the story of the
earthly life of Jesus. I love the entire set. Christ, at last untethered
to the earthly realm, is that freedom in the mystics’ raptus beyond distinctions,
or, to use a Buddhist phrase, “entering the gate of the not-two doctrine,”
an ecstasy to be enjoyed but not possessed; as the disciples could not
cling to Jesus, the mystic may be changed by the experience, but must not
cling to it. One must let it go.
Ascensions, assumptions, and other risings (sometimes with apotheosis) into heaven are common in Judaism, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman ancient religions and of course the Hellenistic culture (my favorite is, of course, Ganymede, but Hercules also deserves mention), alchemy, shamanism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Mesoamerican traditions, Daoism, and other faiths. Two thousand years from the Christian story’s setting, we know you can’t find God above the clouds anymore than you can find him below; that above 30,000 feet, oxygen is pretty thin and you’ll shiver and die; that we have airplanes and spacecraft of various sorts to leave the ground; and the message of the Christian story may be less an astronomical tale than a paradigm image of the exaltation of the Savior as divine, the mystical union with God, and for us below to do the healing work of love He has given us to do here right on earth.
Unannounced, Vern began the sweeping ceremony from
the front entrance of the church, sweeping up the central aisle, from the
back to the front of the pews, using the words below.
Healing Religious Bias
engaged with the Cultural Competency Collective of Greater Kansas City.
The group's mission is to create a sustainable community process to provide
culturally appropriate care and reduce disparities in service to clients,
students and peers. CCCofGKC members are largely human service providers
– mental health, behavioral health, social welfare, education and more.
Our community and the world can be healed from its religious prejudice and fragmentation by learning how to talk with others about their faith perspectives. This session includes information, theory, and practice.
Learning Community Session Objectives:
Dialogue Institute of Southwest - Kansas City
4215 Shawnee Dr. Kansas City, KS 66106
(= same location as 2710 S 42)
2017 October 28 Saturday brunch 10:30 am --
free but RSVP email email@example.com
Has Science Eclipsed Religion?
Dr Vern Barnet outlined (1) the interplay between science and religion since the Renaissance leading to the desacralization of the world. (2) He then asked how to recover the sense of the sacred — in nature, personhood, and society, with Primal, Asian, and Monotheistic faiths to restore us with nature, heal the self, and find community in covenant. The lecture concluded with a story from the Khassidischen Bücher of Martin Buber via Heinrich Zimmer via Vern's teacher, Mircea Eliade. These notes cover the first part of the lecture.
For a short time 2017 Aug 21, the moon eclipsed the sun, but while the sun disappeared from sight, its gravity persisted. Since the Reformation, science has come to eclipse spirituality (breathing with a sense of the sacred) and religion (folks living with a sacred focus), but religion’s power remains, obscured in the darkness. The sacred is the non-dual reality on which our lives depend. We usually cannot see it since we are embedded within it, as we usually do not notice the air we are breathing.
Science as a separate activity is similarly embedded in our broken and fragmented world. But from a religious, holistic, sacred perspective, science is an unacknowledged religious activity, and accountable to religion. Here I cannot show how technological evils (such as the bomb and environmental threats) arise because science has been spilt off from faith, but I outline how we got to this peril.
Beginning with Plato, and developing with 1620 Bacon’s natura vexata and 1637 Descartes’ dualism and mathematical paradigms, nature was severed from faith, nature objectified in categories, controlled, and used. Consider the changes from reading aloud, to adding spaces between words in written texts, to reading silently, to movable type, to the spread of literacy, to the Reformation’s focus on the word over images (in extreme cases, actual hostility to images), to the categories and quantifications of the Enlightenment.
Religion, which cherishes mystery, has been seduced by scientism to ignore the sacred and it is now often also conceived in terms of facticity, categories, partialisms, and literalism, even fundamentalism. The change in meaning of the word “believe” illustrates this: the word now often means accepting a statement or proposition such as “I believe the earth is round.” But originally it meant commitment, affection for, loyalty to, participation with, as in “I believe in my spouse.” The word is related to the German, liebe, love; even into the early 17th Century, “believe” meant more like “belove.”
In Christianity (the dominant Western faith), the paramount example of this desacralization is the Zwinglian doctrine of Communion as simply a memorial. Placing Communion in the category of symbol rather than the experienced mysterious sacrifice of Christ — with the change of the bread and wine into the very body and blood of Christ was a momentous advance in the tyranny of scientific literalism.
Even Cranmer, who defended the practice of reception of the elements by kneeling, did, perhaps by force, add the “black rubric” to his second Book of Common Prayer and changed “altar” to “table.” Indeed, the utter extremity, and almost laughable literalism of the “black rubric” is in its conclusion: “For it is agaynst the trueth of Christes true natural bodye, to be in moe places then in one, at one tyme.”
While it can be argued that implicit in the medieval distinction between the accidental and substantial natures of the bread and wine is the seed of literalism, it took the rise of printing, Protestantism, and scientism to complete the degeneration of language about the Eucharist.
Gregory Bateson contrasts Catholic with Protestant views of Communion as the difference between metaphor (“Watch out for him, my friend; he is a fox”; “This is the body of Christ”) and simile (“Watch out for him, my friend; he is like a fox”; “This is like the body of Christ”). The metaphor is a mythic or poetic equation (“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body”); the simile is a literal comparison. The literalism of the extreme Reformers ignores the performatory nature of language and the ecclesial, contextual meanings of “the Body of Christ” (some of which Hooker sensed) by the replacement of Enlightenment-like discrete categories.
Fortunately the Anglican tradition of “real presence” can elevate the experience of the communicant above the categories of thought which can divert the Christian from the enjoyment of, and transformation by, the Mystery. One is welcomed with either a Protestant or Catholic understanding of the Eucharist.
The Reformers who scoffed at the Catholic teaching of transubstantiation as superstition were deeply corrupted by the incipient literalism in the air, as are those today who find Hindus worshipping idols to be silly and stupid, rather than advanced intellectually and spiritually. If you think that material objects are mere signs or empty symbols, or vague memorials, consider those who are willing to die for a piece of cloth called the flag.
Instead of the childlike playfulness of “I am the Cookie Monster!” or our willing suspension of disbelief when an actor tears out our hearts when he says, “Cordelia, Cordelia! stay a little,” scientism gives us facts. We are moved by stories, myths, which can be enacted as rituals. When Oklahoma! begins and Curly sings, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” it is no longer night, and enter into a potent reality though art that sensitizes us to what is genuine in human life. Thus Episcopal Bishop James Pike said, “I can sing the Creed, but I can’t say it.”
Alas, the desacralization, the literalization of Christianity has infected other faiths through Western imperialism. Islam is a particularly painful example, for even this extraordinarily beautiful faith has been corrupted by Western hegemony, and in rare cases reflects the iniquity of our own violence.
Here are some contrasts to consider:
The brilliant epitaph for Isaac Newton by Alexander
Pope placed Newton’s signal achievements in discovering the nature of light
and other physical phenomena, in the context of the first chapter of the
Bible stories of creation. But what a contrast is William Blake’s
rejoinder emphasizing the participatory nature of perception, anticipating
certain quantum mechanical interpretations of our time.
Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving
Although this event is no longer sponsored by CRES, we list it since its "Vern Barnet Interfaith Service Award" is named for the CRES minister emeritus, who founded the Interfaith Council in 1989. The text below is by the ADL and the Council.
Since 2010, this beloved annual event has been sponsored by the Heartland Chapter – Alliance of Divine Love and the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, in cooperation with the interfaith community.
Heartland Chapter – Alliance of Divine Love announces that the 2017 Vern Barnet Interfaith Service Award, named in recognition of the lasting contribution of Rev. Vern Barnet to our vibrant interfaith community, will be presented to Sheila Sonnenschein, past Chair of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council and a long-time director of the Council, as well as co-chair of the annual Table of Faiths in 2006 and 2007.
Sheila has devoted her life to interfaith action and understanding and is active in several educational, Jewish and interfaith organizations. Besides GKCIC, she is also a board member of KC for Refugees and the Kansas City Interfaith Youth Alliance. She started the Table to Table program for Yachad, the Kosher food pantry, and, with husband Ken, started Mitzvah Gardens in St. Louis and Greater Kansas City. She is deeply involved in interfaith activity, helping to form the Kansas City Women’s Interfaith Circle; is a former member of the Festival of Faiths committee; chaired Peace by Piece featuring Noa Baum in September 2005 and started the Facebook online initiative Mothers on the Side of Peace. She is a firm supporter and member of The Sisterhood of Salaam/Shalom; she is a member of the national advisory board and travels around the world with that organization.
Sheila was the first non-Muslim board member of the Crescent Peace Society, a former board member of the National Council of Jewish Women and a former board member of the Kansas City Press Club. Her articles have been published in The Catholic Reporter, Outlook Magazine, The New Light, Being Jewish, Suburban Journal of St. Louis, The Kansas City Star, and, the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle.
The 2017 Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Dinner will be hosted at the new Islamic Center of Johnson County, located at 9005 West 151st Street, Overland Park, KS 66221. The Islamic Center of Johnson County serves the spiritual, religious and communal needs of Muslims in the cities of Overland Park, Leawood and Olathe through this new, permanent center and also serves the larger Kansas City Metro community through outreach, charity work and civic engagement.
Heartland ADL is also pleased to announce that the 2017 dinner marks the beginning of a partnership with Episcopal Community Services, 501c3 nonprofit, as caterer for the dinner. Episcopal Community Services has been serving the Greater Kansas City area since 1989 and operates the Kansas City Community Kitchen, a novel approach which blends various food-related programs, including training for culinary careers, food pantries, and community garden projects. ECS is nationally known for restaurant-style food service, which provides dignity, as well as food. In recognition of this new partnership, Episcopal Community Services has been selected as the recipient of donations from this year’s dinner.
Tickets, which include the catered meal are $15.00 for adults and $10.00 for students (5-12 years); as always, children under 5 are free. Tickets may be purchased ONLINE.
For the past 12 years, Shelia Sonnenschein has been a beacon of light in the Kansas City interfaith community. She has volunteered diligently to build relationships among people of different faiths, especially Jewish and Muslim women.
Her volunteer work is recognized by many in the interfaith community. On Nov. 12, they will recognize it publicly when Sonnenschein will be presented the Vern Barnet Interfaith Service Award at the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Dinner.
Sonnenschein’s involvement in the interfaith community began by happenstance. She took a writing class in January of 2002, after she and her husband, Ken, returned to the Kansas City community.
“In that class I met an American Muslim woman, Mahnaz Shabbir,” Sonnenschein said. “I saw that we had a lot in common. We each had four kids; our husbands were psychiatrists; and we both knew what it felt like to be targeted because of our religions. We met people from our respective communities. That’s what started my multi-faith journey in Kansas City.”
The journey has taken Sonnenschein all over the world. But first it led to her involvement in the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council. Shabbir took Sonnenschein to her first meeting in 2005, as an alternate.
“Soon after, I became a Council director,” she said. “I have been on the board ever since.”
She has served as a director of Kansas City for Refugees and the Kansas City Interfaith Youth Alliance. She helped found the Table to Table program for Yachad, the Kosher food pantry. As a member of the interfaith community she was involved in the Festival of Faiths committee; started the Facebook online initiative Mothers on the Side of Peace. She also helped to start chapters of the Sisterhood of Salaam/Shalom in the Kansas City area. She is the first non-Muslim board member of the Crescent Peace Society and is a former board member of National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Kansas City Section, where she helped with their interfaith luncheon.
Among the friends she has made during her interfaith activities is Inas Younis, who was born in Iraq but now lives in Overland Park. Younis, who was the Muslim woman behind bringing Sisterhood of Salaam/Shalom to Kansas City, says this about Sonnenschein:
Sheila is “is a social engineer with an intuitive capacity to bring people together who would have otherwise never crossed paths. Never cynical, always earnest, Sheila practices what most of us only preach. She takes conscious steps to ensure that everyone feels included and valued. She is a credit to our interfaith community and I am proud to have her as a friend.”
The Sisterhood of Salaam/Shalom (SOSS) takes up much of Sonnenschein’s time now. She has helped with the formation of two more sections. Three are now active in the Kansas City area. She also has been to the SOSS annual convention at Drew University in Madision, New Jersey, where women of both faiths come together to share and learn. This year the meeting was held Nov. 3-5.
She has traveled to Albania to meet with interfaith communities. And she has brought the information she learned back to Kansas City. Two years ago, she was part of a group who arranged for the movie, “Besa,” (Faith) to be shown in Kansas City. This movie is about an Albanian Muslim family who safeguards religious books of a Jewish family during the Holocaust. The besa, promise or faith, is to one day return the books to the family.
“I think it’s important to listen to each other,” Sonnenschein said. “I encourage adults and youth to attend programs that promote getting to know people of other religions and cultures. … Interfaith Youth Core (IYC) founder Eboo Patel says that if we catch people when they are young so they don’t fall into the hands of extremists, we can do a lot of good for our world.”
The Heartland Chapter — Alliance of Divine Love (ADL) and the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council are sponsoring the dinner. The Heartland Chapter-ADL “is part of an international interfaith ministry, which recognizes and honors the validity and wisdom of all faith traditions,” according to its website.
The event will be held on Sunday, Nov. 12, at the new Islamic Center of Johnson County in Overland Park. The organization preparing the meal is NourishKC, which is a nonprofit that provides restaurant-style food services in community kitchens. All donations from this year’s dinner will benefit NourishKC.
Cost is $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased at http://interfiaththanksgiving2017.brownpapertickets.com.
You are welcome even if you
have not read the book or seen the movie
“The purpose of a Vital Conversation is not to
win an argument,
that will add value to the participants and to the world. In Vital Conversations,
we become co-creators of a better community. --David Nelson
The discussions began May 24, 2002, at the CRES facility
by examining Karen Armstrong's The Battle for God
2017 Vital Conversations Schedule
2017 January 11
Seldom Seen: A Journey into The Great Plains by Patrick Dobson. In May 1995, with nothing but a backpack and a vague sense of disquiet, the author left his home and a steady deadening job in Kansas City. Over the next two and a half months he made his way to Helena, Montana. He not only meets a series of very interesting people and makes a difference in their lives, but introduces the reader to a clearer understanding about the meaning of relationships and life.
Canoeing the Great Plains: A Missouri River Summer is part two of this adventure in our wonderful part of the country. This time Patrick travels down the Missouri river and communes with nature and people. As the miles float by and the distinctions blur between himself and what he formerly called nature, Dobson comes to grips with his past, his fears, and his life beyond the river.
Patrick Dobson joined us for this fascinating conversation.
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. The National Orphan Train Complex is located in Concordia, Kansas. Several of you have visited this complex and others could visit it soon. This book follows the story of several specific children. You can explore and bring additional stories to the conversation. For NPR's broadcast, go to http://www.tinyurl.com/hfs4ezn.
2017 October 11
Islam and The Future of Tolerance, A Dialogue Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz (respectively, author of The End of Faith and author of Radical).
We have read and discussed both these authors in the past.
In this short book, you are invited to join an urgently needed conversation: Is Islam a religion of peace or war? Is it amenable to reform? What do words like Islamism, jihadism, and fundamentalism mean in today’s world?
Ahmed El-Sherif, prominent Muslim and interfaith leader, joins us for the discussion, shown here offering the Adhan at the Rime Buddhist Center. A bio sketch appears at www.cres.org/pubs/ahmed.htm. Ahmed will Skype an authority on Islam in Mecca, Dr. Abdullah Alleheedan.
One Hope: Re-Membering the Body of Christ. 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. The split between Roman Catholics and Lutherans played a major role in that series of events that changed the Church. This is a resource for those interested in exploring greater cooperation between part of “The Body of Christ.” The essays in One Hope are the product of an intense collaborative process by six gifted scholars and pastoral leaders, three Lutheran and three Catholic.
Selections are subject to change. If you would like to be reminded and have additional information, contact David Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (816) 453-3835
ABOUT CRES PARTICIPATION
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, click here.