Held at Grand Valley's Eberhard Center, Pew Grand Rapids Campus, the program includes a full day of sessions where each of the three experts will speak on their religion, followed by responses from the other two speakers and discussion with the audience. An evening session will engage all three presenters and Martin E. Marty, who will serve as moderator for the entire program.
"The urgency of religious understanding becomes clearer every day," said James Carroll. "Jews, Christians, and Muslims must together find a way to peace."
The current state of the Middle East reinforces the need for programs such as this. Since 1991, the West Shore Committee has set a goal of instilling mutual respect and a free exchange of theological insights and ideas that foster greater understanding and mutual acceptance.
"The belief in one God often generates a belief in one exclusive truth, and a belief in one's right to harm and destroy others in the pursuit of that truth," said Donniel Hartman. "It is our responsibility to confront our own respective traditions, reinterpret them when and where necessary, and place renewed educational emphasis and priority on those ideas and values that enable monotheism to co-exist within a world blessed by diversity."
Sylvia Kaufman, one of the founders of the Muskegon-based group, stresses that this isn't a political event, but a theological dialogue. The committee has provided a major dialogue program of regional and national significance every three years. This year, the program has been expanded to include a Muslim speaker and has moved to Grand Rapids in collaboration with Grand Valley.
Vincent J. Cornell believes that new ways of affirming dignity of the religious other needs to be found across religious perspectives. "The challenge for the religious person at the dawn of this dangerous new century is not to find reasons to condemn religion, but rather to find ways to making the power of religion constructive and peace affirming rather than destructive and conflict producing," he said.
"In the texts, traditions, and practices of all religions, there have been assertions of power to destroy and power to create," said Martin E. Marty. "The task of our time is to see and help them create."
This event is sponsored by the Lilly Endowment Inc., the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids, The Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, Community Foundation for Muskegon County, United Jewish Charities of Greater Muskegon, Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area, Grand Rapids Center for Ecumenism, Muskegon County Cooperating Churches and numerous West Michigan individuals, organizations and corporations.
Generous support makes it possible to offer the full day program for a $10 registration fee. Those registrants have the option of purchasing the $10 lunch and/or a dinner/discussion for $20. The evening session after the dinner is open to the public without charge. To see the complete schedule of the day's events visit www.jewishchristiandialogue.org. To receive a printed brochure call Sylvia Kaufman at (231) 727-3407 or Chris Anderson at (231) 722-7308. For more information media may contact: Sylvia Kaufman at (231) 727-3407, or email@example.com or Douglas Kindschi at firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.jewishchristiandialogue.org.