CHAUTAUQUA - Chautauqua Institution will hold an interfaith conference Monday and Tuesday to further its progress in becoming an interfaith community, one which welcomes all religions and where all people of faith can feel at home.
A diverse group of more than 30 religious leaders representing the world's religions and 30 Chautauqua community members will join together at the conference, funded by the Fetzer Institute, for presentations, panel conversations and open dialogue about strategies to create a more inclusive, interactive and visible interfaith community at Chautauqua.
On Monday, Chautauqua's Director of Religion Joan Brown Campbell will open the conference by discussing Religion at Chautauqua: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
The following day, John Cavadini of Notre Dame University will give a presentation on The Essentiality of Love and Forgiveness in the Human Experience.
Later that morning, six panelists will converse about Interfaith Perspectives from the World's Religions.
Moderated by Joan Chittister OSB, the conversation will focus on a variety of topics including the essential elements that foster interfaith harmony and participation as well as identifying the blocks to interfaith harmony.
Panelists include president of Claremont Lincoln University, the Rev. Dr. Jerry Campbell; Rabbi Samuel Stahl of Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, Prof. Azim Nanji, senior associate director of the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University, Arun Gandi, author and non-violence activist, Prof. Vasudha Narayanan from the University of Florida, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi from the Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, N.Y.
Small group discussions will follow the panel presentations, addressing topics and questions presented earlier. The groups will also focus on Moving Chautauqua toward a World Religions Focus.
Expanding the Beloved Community: What Steps Are Needed? will be the last inquiry of the interfaith conference. Respondents to this topic include The Right Rev. John Shelby Spong, who will present a week-long series of interfaith lectures at the Institution later in the season, and the Rev. Dr. Albert Pennybacker, director of the New Clergy Program at Chautauqua Institution.
The goal of the interfaith conference is to explore the understanding and practice of love and forgiveness as they impact interfaith relationships and to enable Chautauqua to model the power of love and forgiveness as a practical force in today's world among individuals and communities. The vision is that Chautauqua Institution can truly demonstrate that the application of love, forgiveness, respect and compassion toward all, regardless of faith systems or ethnic and racial identities, can indeed neutralize prejudice, anger and vengeance.
For more information about the Department of Religion at Chautauqua Institution, visit www.ciweb.org/religion.