Kaufman Interfaith Institute to host 20th triennial interfaith dialogue

GVL / Archive
Douglas Kindschi holds an open house for last years Interfaith Dialouge

GVL Archives

GVL / Archive Douglas Kindschi holds an open house for last year’s Interfaith Dialouge

Ellie Phillips

The Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University will sponsor a dialogue on Oct. 30 in the L.V. Eberhard Center between Jewish, Christian and Muslim spokespersons from prominent institutions in various regions of the U.S. and Jerusalem. This year’s dialogue celebrates the 20th anniversary of its founding.

“(The event) is also in conjunction with the 2012 Year of Interfaith Understanding, and in many ways culminates this year-long effort that has already seen over 200 interfaith events,” said Douglas Kindschi, director of the Kaufman Interfaith Institute and professor of mathematics and philosophy at GVSU.

The focus of this triennial dialogue is “Living with God in a Time of Suffering,” an experience not limited to one particular religious group, but shared by all Abrahamic faiths.

“The whole notion of interfaith dialogue is based on the idea that the more people of different religious traditions speak with one another about their religious views, the more we come to understand, respect and even sometimes share our different views with one another,” said Sheldon Kopperl, professor of biomedical sciences and religious and liberal studies at GVSU.
Kopperl has been an active participant in the Interfaith Dialogue events.

“The more we can understand other people’s religious viewpoints, the more talking that goes on, the more we find that we can actually become friends, even though we do have different viewpoints in terms of religion,” Kopperl said.

Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute, will be coming from Jerusalem to represent the Jewish faith. Dr. Omid Safi, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina, will be the Muslim speaker. The Christian speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Campbell, former president of the McCormic Theological Seminary in Chicago.
Campbell was also the first female president of a Presbyterian Seminary.

The dialogue will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration and coffee, followed by a welcome ceremony at 9:45. There will be three sessions, each about two hours long and predominated by a particular speaker. The session will also include responses by the other two speakers and an opportunity for audience questions. There will be a lunch between the first and second sessions from noon to 1 p.m., and dinner is by reservation only between 5:30-6:45 p.m. A no-charge evening session titled “Passages from our Traditions” will follow dinner and will feature all three speakers and a discussion period.

The registration fee is $5 for students and $15 for non-students. Lunch and dinner are an optional $10 and $20, respectively.

Registrations can be made online at www.2012gr.org.

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