CRES is a 501(c)(3) organization promoting understanding of all faiths through teaching, writing, and consulting.
About CRES participation
2017 UPCOMING PROGRAMS
Vital Conversations — 2d Wednesday of the month 1-2:30 pm
Vital Conversations Coffee — 4th Wednesday of the month 8 am
Healing Religious Bias — 2017 Sept 20 Wednesday 9-11 am
2018 May 7 – July 27 — Mondays 6-9:45pm
Vern teaches the graduate credit course C-RP511
for Central Baptist Theological Seminary
Candlemas — 2017 Feb 2 Thurs 7 pm
World Religions Lectures — 2017 Feb 17-18 Fri-Sat
12th Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner — 2017 Apr 6
Anniversary of Church founding ] — 2017 Apr 6
[ Table of Faiths ] - Interfaith Council Annual Dinner — 2017 May 9
[ CRES Intern Geneva Blackmer ] receives degree — May 10
Sacred — the movie — May 18 Thurs 7 pm
[ A 75th Birthday ] a personal entry May 25
Interfaith Pride Service — 2017 May 31 Wednesday 7 pm
CANDLEMAS: IN LIGHT, MUSIC, POETRY
Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, 13th at Broadway, Kansas City, MO
The original announcement included this information:
The Mass for Four Voices by William Byrd
This observance of a traditional Christian feast day is honored with references to many faiths around the world, from the Paleolithic to the present, in the sonnets selected for the occasion, embraced by music from Elizabethan times when the English sonnet was defined by Shakespeare, the Quadricentennial of whose death we also mark.
Vern lectures in Atchison on world religions for students in the Benedictine Sister's Souljourners spiritual formation program leading to spiritual direction ministry at the Sophia Center, 751 South 8th Street, Atchison, Kansas 66002
Vernn described the three families of faith by stellinh stories suggesting where they typically find the sacred; epitomizing texts were studied; Buddhism and Islam were given special attention; and the benefits of interfaith exchange were celebrated.
A LENTEN SERIES
When Even Evil Will Ordain the Good
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
THE 8-PAGE PDF
Using themes from world religions to illumine our
own tradition, the Reverend Vern Barnet, DMn, explores the powerful mysteries
of the crucified and resurrected love of our Savior through the texts of
sonnets from the "Credo" section his new book, Thanks
for Noticing: The Interpretation of Desire.
Mar 8 - The Jesus of History or the Christ of Faith?Readings: Sonnet 82; Mar 8 -79; Mar 15 - 80 (? 85); Mar 22 - 84; Mar 29 - 86 (? 88).
Art to illustrate the themes
Two views of an icon of Christ teaching and Vel?zquez’s "Christ after the Flagellation contemplated by the Christian Soul" Mar 8 and Mar 15
The Dialogue Institute Kansas City, UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion, and UMKC's International Dialogue Student Ass'n cordially invite you to the
12th Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner
Members of different cultures join to enjoy cultural diversity
Global Warming of Hearts: Love and Acceptance
2017 April 6 Thursday 6-9 pm
Host Committee: Peggy Dunn, Mayor of Leawood; Carl Gerlach, Mayor of Overland Park; Ron Slepitza, President of Avila University; Marvin Szneler, Executive Director of JCRB - AJC; Jeremiah Morgan, Stake President- the Church of Jesus-Christ of LDS; William B. Rose-Heim, M.Div, Regional Minister and President Christian Church of Greater Kansas City; Sheriff, Calvin H. Hayden, Sheriff, Johnson County
The evening featured Eve Levin, PhD, as Keynote Speaker, chair, History Department, University of Kansas. Donna Ziegenhorn presided over the evening with music by Cindy Novelo, remarks by Ron Slepitza, and awards given to Dr Jospeph Sopich, the Down Syndrome Guild, and Cornerstones of Care. Music was provided by Cindy Novelo
The Invocation by Vern, wearing a stole with symbols of many world religions, appears below.
on the theme "Global Warming of Hearts: Love and Aceptance"
SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING,
SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING,
SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING,
SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING,
Save us, O SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING,
May you, O SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING,
--The Reverend Vern Barnet, DMn
Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church
Observes 50 years
Vern was the congregation's second minister, 1975-1984. He appears in the middle of the top row of the church's archive wall of photographs of former ministers, with the incumbent, Rose Schwab, shown in the final picture, who graciously recognized her predecessor during the celebration 2017 May 7. It was in the seventh year of Vern's ministry that the congregation encouraged Vern to begin CRES.
TABLE OF FAITHS
Sophia Kahn, MD, was this year's recipient of the Steve Jeffers Leadership Award, shown here in the middle with some of many friends and admirers. She was recognized for her efforts in many fields, but on this occasion particularly for or inspiring leadership in "KC for Refugees." Previous recipients include Queen Mother Maxine McFarlane (2010), Donna Ziegenhorn (2011), Mayor Sly James (2012), Bambi Shen (2014), the Rev Dr Wallace Hartsfield Sr (2015) and Shakil Haider (2016).
For the Cultural Crossroads report of the event, click here.
Sacred - The Movie
May 18 Thurs 7 pm Tivoli Theatre
Al Brooks, Donna Ziegenhorn, Sunyananda Dharma
discuss the movie afterwards with Vern Barnet
Sacred immerses the viewer in an exploration of spirituality across cultures and religions. At a time when religious hatreds dominate the world’s headlines, this film, sweeping in global reach and yet intensely intimate, explores faith as primary human experience: how it is used to navigate the milestones and crises of private life. Directed by Academy Award® winner Thomas Lennon and shot around the globe by 40 filmmaking teams.
As folks entered the theater, they were given a handout:
Involving many faiths and cultures, a world-wide collaboration: "Sacred"
Jamie Rich, who runs the Spiritual Cinema Series, introduced Vern who named the panelists. Vern said that in his 47-year career, no word has intrigued him more than "sacred" as a key to understanding paradigmatic experiences for others as well as for himself. The film episodes were organized into in three segments (initiation, practice, passage), in each third, scenes from Mt Hiei, home of the "Marathon Monks," appear, where Vern studied as a young man. Vern concluded, "What is sacred? -- Many answers are suggested by the multiple scenes we are about to witness. You may find some puzzling; some may touch your heart."
Vern noted that since there movie offered no overarching narration, the movie was an unusual approach for discussion. The movie opened and closed with birthing scenes. In between, a Muslim father singing the Call to Prayer to his newborn child, a Holi festival, a live crucifixion with real nails during Holy Week, the Hajj, rewrapping of ancestral bones, a bris, a boxing match and sermon in prison, group Tai Chi practice, various forms of prayer (including one who methodically prayed for others), a Buddhist initiation, a couple visiting a fertility shrine and on a porcelain phallus writing their hope to see their first child soon before placing the object on a prayer shelf, a half-sari ceremony, a baptism, workers in protective gear removing dead bodies in the Ebola crisis who think that the disease proves God is angry, an Apache dance, a wedding, a Muslim boy affirming that suicide-bombers go to hell, and dozens of other largely unexplained scenes.
1. What does "sacred" mean to you, or come to mean to you as you watch this movie?
2. Which episode or image in the movie best expressed what is sacred to you?
3. Which challenged you unexpectedly?
4. When did you have your own most profound or beautiful experience of the sacred?
5. If you could offer an experience of the sacred for others, what would it be?
6. What prevents our society from accessing the sacred more often?
7. How might sharing sacred experiences benefit us individually and as a culture?
What great panelists! -- Al Brooks, Donna Ziegenhorn, and Sunyananda Dharma. Each had previewed the movie and responded to a couple questions Vern asked to begin the discussion, and then to audience responses. Examples: Al discussed the importance of faith for those in prison and cited an innocent prisoner who waited thirty years for freedom. Sunyananda explained why Buddhist boys had finery placed on them as part of their initiation into monkshood before their heads were shaved, and how mala beads are used and what they mean, demonstrating with his as he spoke. Donna lamented that the movie did not display folks of many faiths joining together, which let to a celebration of the opportunities we have in Kansas City.
From his experiences in Africa and the Philippines, an audience affirmed the sincerity of practices that may seem strange to those of other cultures and called for our respect of them. The conversation ranged from to comparing the crucifixion to the Sun Dance (quite a sophisticated comment from an audience member). The last question led to a discussion of what assimilation means, and Vern reminded the audience that free Kansas City "Interfaith Passports" were available at the rear of the auditorium.
Perhaps this movie creates an appetite for a less haphazard and more informed movie to explore how different folks and cultures experience the sacred; and with the insights of the panelists, the audience was enabled to envision both personal and social ways in which our lives can be more frequently and more powerfully touched by the sacred.
Although expectations were for about 100, some estimated the crowd at twice that size, most of whom remained after the movie for the discussion.
A 75th Birthday
May 25 is also the birthday of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He would be 214 years old. Emerson lasted three years as a Unitarian parish minister; I served fifteen, for which I am grateful; thereafter my career status as a Unitarian Universalist minister changed from “parish” to “community” minister, and now “retired.” Like Emerson, I have read beyond Christian literature, with most of my work devoted to interfaith activities. I would have argued with him about lots of things, including communion, which he felt he could no longer administer with integrity. His doubts about Christian beliefs were modern of the sort perverted by the Enlightenment. A Transcendentalist and a Romantic, his individualistic themes have helped to bring us less the development of character and more the Gospel of Greed and Ayn Rand and now Donald Trump. If Emerson had understood the Eucharist better as the loving and just sharing of divine grace, maybe the benefits of his influence would have been less likely to have been ccorrupted. May his birthday encourage me to be ever self-critical and benefit from learning from others. My own sins should make me more understanding of others; and even if God may have forgiven me, I need to be mindful of past and potential wickedness lest I become untethered from the earthly realm in which the joy of duty best fulfills.
Speaking of the Eucharist: my day’s highlight was
attending Mass at the church where I am a member, Grace and Holy Trinity
Cathedral (Episcopal). The liturgical calendar this year gave my birthday
the extra blessing of the Feast of the Ascension.(See
Acts 1:9, Mark 16:19--an appendix not in the oldest manuscripts, Hebrews
4:14, and an interpretation of Psalm 110 and Daniel 7:13; Luke 24:51-52
is doubtful; clearly the story is a later tradition influenced by cultural
patterns, and the feast developed even later.) The sixth of the
Cathedral chancel windows depicts this final episode in the story of the
earthly life of Jesus. I love the entire set. Christ, at last untethered
to the earthly realm, is that freedom in the mystics’ raptus beyond distinctions,
or, to use a Buddhist phrase, “entering the gate of the not-two doctrine,”
an ecstasy to be enjoyed but not possessed; as the disciples could not
cling to Jesus, the mystic may be changed by the experience, but must not
cling to it. One must let it go.
Ascensions, assumptions, and other risings (sometimes with apotheosis) into heaven are common in Judaism, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman ancient religions and of course the Hellenistic culture (my favorite is, of course, Ganymede, but Hercules also deserves mention), alchemy, shamanism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Mesoamerican traditions, Daoism, and other faiths. Two thousand years from the Christian story’s setting, we know you can’t find God above the clouds anymore than you can find him below; that above 30,000 feet, oxygen is pretty thin and you’ll shiver and die; that we have airplanes and spacecraft of various sorts to leave the ground; and the message of the Christian story may be less an astronomical tale than a paradigm image of the exaltation of the Savior as divine, the mystical union with God, and for us below to do the healing work of love He has given us to do here right on earth.
Unannounced, Vern began the sweeping ceremony from
the front entrance of the church, sweeping up the central aisle, from the
back to the front of the pews, using the words below.
Healing Religious Bias
Vern works with the Learning Community Work Group of the Kansas City Cultural Competency Initiative (KCCCI) folks, whose mission is to create a sustainable community process to provide culturally appropriate care and reduce disparities in service to clients, students and peers. KCCCI members are largely human service providers – mental health, behavioral health, social welfare, education and more. Vern provide an overview of world religions, discusses their representation in Kansas City, offers a working definition of bias, and presents best practices in providing culturally competent service.
You are welcome even if you
have not read the book or seen the movie
“The purpose of a Vital Conversation is not to
win an argument,
that will add value to the participants and to the world. In Vital Conversations,
we become co-creators of a better community. --David Nelson
The discussions began May 24, 2002, at the CRES facility
by examining Karen Armstrong's The Battle for God
2017 Vital Conversations Schedule
2017 January 11
Seldom Seen: A Journey into The Great Plains by Patrick Dobson. In May 1995, with nothing but a backpack and a vague sense of disquiet, the author left his home and a steady deadening job in Kansas City. Over the next two and a half months he made his way to Helena, Montana. He not only meets a series of very interesting people and makes a difference in their lives, but introduces the reader to a clearer understanding about the meaning of relationships and life.
Canoeing the Great Plains: A Missouri River Summer is part two of this adventure in our wonderful part of the country. This time Patrick travels down the Missouri river and communes with nature and people. As the miles float by and the distinctions blur between himself and what he formerly called nature, Dobson comes to grips with his past, his fears, and his life beyond the river.
Patrick Dobson joined us for this fascinating conversation.
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. The National Orphan Train Complex is located in Concordia, Kansas. Several of you have visited this complex and others could visit it soon. This book follows the story of several specific children. You can explore and bring additional stories to the conversation. For NPR's broadcast, go to http://www.tinyurl.com/hfs4ezn.
Selections are subject to change. If you would like to be reminded and have additional information, contact David Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (816) 453-3835
ABOUT CRES PARTICIPATION
Having spawned several other organizations,
including the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council,
we continue to offer programs initiated by and through others
but we no longer create our own in order to focus on our unique work.
For interfaith and cultural calendars maintained by other groups, click here.