Interfaith Amigos coming to Stamford

STAMFORD — The InterFaith Council of Southwestern Connecticut is hosting the Interfaith Amigos, Rabbi Ted Falcon, Sheikh Jamal Rachman and Pastor Don Mackenzie, on Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m, at UConn Stamford’s General Re Auditorium (One University Place, corner of Broad Street and Washington Boulevard).

The trio, which has been featured in the CBS Evening News and The New York Times, first came together as religious colleagues in Seattle in the wake of the 9-11 tragedy. As their friendship grew, they began to meet weekly for mutual spiritual direction, launched the Interfaith Talk Radio show in Seattle, and ultimately became co-authors. They have thought deeply about ways to more fruitfully engage interfaith interaction, and why it can be so difficult. Combining wisdom and forthrightness with good will and humor, they go straight at some of the “taboos” of interfaith dialogue – the statements or history in each tradition that can be a stumbling block to interfaith understanding, in order to create a more authentic conversation.

As Laurie Goodstein wrote of them in The New York Times, “They put everything on the table: the verses they found offensive in one another’s holy books, anti-Semitism, violence in the name of religion, claims by each faith to have the exclusive hold on truth, and, of course, Israel.”
Their book, Getting to the Heart of Interfaith (Skylight Paths), examines what they identify as the core beliefs of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, what in each faith might present an obstacle to interfaith understanding, and how to build honest and supportive relationships with people in religious traditions other than one’s own. They also find common ground in what they call the “spirituality of interfaith relations,” going beyond intellectual examination of texts and tenets to sharing with one another spiritually. In addition to speaking appearances nationally and internationally, they maintain a weekly blog at YES! Magazine.

The InterFaith Council has a long history of bringing people of different faith traditions together for conversation and collaborative action. The Council actively supports the diverse religious expressions found within the communities of lower Fairfield County, and seeks to build understanding among the various traditions through both collaborative action addressing social needs, and through conversation and education. It sponsors a monthly interfaith conversation, Learning and Latte, which will resume after a summer break on Tuesday, October 12th at the Cosi restaurant on High Ridge Road (adjacent to Merritt Parkway Exit 35), as well as a monthly InterFaith Book Club.

This Fall the Council is launching a periodic “Art and Soul” series, beginning Oct. 21 with author Nayan Chanda speaking on Spicing up the European Imagination: Search for theTaste of Paradise, which explores how the lure of spices led the West to the East. On Nov. 11, art historian and Harvard professor Cecilia Levin will address The Divine & the Vine: Foliate and Floral Imagery in Ancient Religious Art.

Through a diverse array of special events and programs, and the Living Water for Dry Times initiative which is bringing faith communities together to address needs in housing, health, education and employment, the InterFaith Council is making “the place for interfaith action and the space for interfaith conversation” in our communities.

For more information on the InterFaith Council, call 203-348.2800 or check the InterFaith Council’s website, http://www.interfaithcouncil.org, or InterFaith Council on Facebook. For more information on this and other programs, please contact Kate Heichler (kateheichler@gmail.com) or Mark Lingle (marklingle.pastor@gmail.com).

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