Festival of Faiths set to begin ‘Fall Forums’

By Glenn Rutherford, Record Editor

circle_of_faiths_loresTo say the staff at the Center for Interfaith Relations has had a busy year is to put it mildly.

In the past 12 months or so, the center’s staff has organized and conducted its regular fall Festival of Faiths program. Then this spring at the behest of Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer, the center and others put on another festival to coincide with the visit of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama and his “Engaging Compassion” campaign.

Now, when you might think the staff would consider taking a bit of a break, they are instead preparing to hold the 2013 Festival of Faiths Fall Forums, which will be held Nov. 14 and 15 and will continue the festival’s 2013 theme of “Sacred Silence: Pathway to Compassion.”

“It’s been quite a busy time period of us and for a lot of people involved in the various events,” said Chris Wooten of the Center for Interfaith Relations staff. “That said, it’s really been worth it. This past May’s Festival, the 2013 Festival, was by far the biggest we’ve ever had.”

Wooten said the yearly festival usually draws 3,000 to 4,500 people. But May’s event prior to the arrival of the Dalai Lama, drew more than 10,000 visitors and participants.

“And that’s quite a jump,” he said. “Since the mayor asked us to do this special festival, we wanted to make sure it was something extraordinary. There is a lot of energy in this city that wanted to pull out all the stops prior to the visit.

“It was a fantastic experience and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback and support,” he added.

The Fall Forum will continue “to play on the themes of compassion and common action as we did in May,” Wooten said. And together with the center’s co-sponsors, the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Bellarmine University, the forum will bring together a varied array of speakers.

The kickoff event will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 14 and will be a presentation by Dr. Shanta Premwardhana, President of Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education. His presentation will be

called “Green as Violence: The Role of the Global Church in Addressing the Enduring Spiritual Crisis of Our Time.”

It will be presented in Caldwell Chapel at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and will be presented as part of the seminary’s Edwards-Presler Lectures on Peace, Justice and Mission.

The festival also will feature the annual free and open-to-the-public Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, which this will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Cathedral of the Assumption.

Following the Thanksgiving service, the Fall Forums will plunge right ahead with a 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. presentation by the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, associate professor of theology and chair of the Department of Theology at Bellarmine University. Her free presentation is titled “The Problem of Wealth,” and is also part of the Edwards-Presler lecture series.

On Friday, Nov. 15, three presenters will be part of a program called “The Energy Independence Boom: A Call for Religious Leadership.” The cost is $25 and the program will be held at Frazier Hall on the Bellarmine campus. Topics and presenters are:

  • “What is Going on with the Energy Independence Boom?” by Samuel Avery, author, social activist and owner of Avery and Sun Solar Energy Solutions.
  • “What Does the Energy Independence Boom have to do with Faith?” by Dr. Paul D. Simmons, clinical professor of medical ethics at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
  • “What can We as Religious Leaders Do?” by Sarah Lynn Cunningham, a licensed environmental engineer and certified environmental educator.

The program is being presented in partnership with the Sustainable Religious Lands Committee and Bellarmine University’s Campus Ministry. For more information about the festival or about the Center for Interfaith Relations, call 583-3100 or email festivaloffaiths@interfaithrelations.org.

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