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SUGGESTIVE
Brainstorming about
Gifts of Pluralism 2 

Personal Note: I would be happy to be a consultant to the Steering Committee, but I am unable to take a leadership role in the planning process.
 
Outcomes
Approach
Features 
Initial Planning
Additional Background and Comments


"Begin with the end in mind . . . ." 


OUTCOMES

The conference goals and desired outcomes might include

1) Kansas Citians attain a heightened awareness of religious diversity and understand what pluralism is beyond diversity.
While the 2001 cobnference included and recognized Freethinkers, a future conference might highlight the increasing visibility of those religiously unaffiliated, including "nones" and atheists, agnostics, etc.  Much of today's religious news is negative, and a positive approach about the gifts of pluralism is what many people want. Here is a link to scholar Diana Eck's description of Pluralism.

2) Kansas Citians discover our own faiths anew, refreshed by encounter with others by learning how to learn from one another in the depths of faith. An increasingly important dimension may be noticing the various tensions and expressions of one's faith and that of thers -- progressive wing, mainstream group, conservative wing, groups claiming a faith while doing violence, etc. 

3) Articulating the wisdom in the faith traditions which can heal the crises of secularism — environmental degradation, personal distress, loss of true community, both local and global 

4) Opportunities for new partnerships are created, potentially including a new metro-wide alliance of faith communities, perhaps the formation of an Alliance of Religious Organizations, for better communication among all individual congregations and groups.

5) Employers are aware of and have access to new resources to support and enhance diversity in the workplace. 

6) Participants develop personal relationships that cross many boundaries, including religious, racial, age and geographic (state line), with ongoing friendshiips. 

7) Through Appreciative Inquiry, participants develop listening and learning skills that enhance their ability to support religious diversity. 

8) A concluding Joint Declaration outlines future directions of religious cooperation in  the Kansas City metropolitan area. 

9) Exploration of the arts and traditions which enlarge our common humanity are renewed in coordination with the arts institutions of the area and individual artists, plastic, performance, and curatorial.

10) Identifying and engaging skilled persons to deepen the "bench" of interfaith volunteers, including experts in the academic communities and religious judicatories. Build the interfaith movement here beyond an ingrown core and relate effectively to the political, artistic, business, media, academic, and other segments of our metro and bring them together as a Beloved Community.

 


APPROACH

11. A follow-up to Gifts 1 would give a sense of forward movement, which interfaith urgently needs. Gifts 1 was advertised thus:

The Gifts of Pluralism
Finding the Sacred 
in a World without Direction
2001 Oct (26) 27-28
A Conference for Shaping the Future of Religion
in the Kansas City Area:
for everyone interested in learning
about world religions and how they address environmental, personal, and social issues of our time,
using the Appreciative Inquiry method 

12. The focus should be on KC -- avoid the expense and distraction of a national speaker.


FEATURES AND DESIGN

13. A full range of activities needs to be included  -- speakers, panels (with local leaders in business, education, etc), workshops, appreciative inquiry small group discussions, ritual, cultural/arts programming, including a performance open to the wider public of The Hindu and the Cowboy.

In other words, the conference features might include

   meals shared together 
   question box and answer board 
   notebook and resource materials 
   individual and group networking 
   exhibits and cultural performances 
   learn about some Kansas City faith sites 
   worship and other devotional experiences 
   quiet room for prayer, meditation, reflection 
   small groups, panel discussions, plenary sessions 

14. The three crises of our age need to be addressed, perhaps with a focus on a particular problem (though they are all related) in each area such as, perhaps, 
     environment: A Habitable Planet for All
     personhood: Healthy Personhood
     society: The Beloved Community
The conferees might seek a way of drawing these together as a response to the desacralization of our age to bring a unitive vision to the conference.

15. A concluding conference declaration drafted beforehand and edited/perfected through the conference for adoption at the last plenary session with ritual.

16. Optional visits Friday to local houses of worship

17. Special engagement of youth.

18. I would have to be convinced that the conference should run longer than Friday-Sunday.

19. Careful meal time planning (menu, activity, etc).

20. I am not available to do fundraising.

21. The Conference Steering Committee should consist of experienced and new folks (including representatives of cooperating organizations) and be governed  by majority vote after discussion, not consensus. I am not inclined to be involved if consensus,. which was originally the rule only for issuing official public statements of the Interfaith Council, is required. 

22. Congruent partner organizations, as noted, should be sought.

23. Registration numbers of Christians should not exceed registration numbers of all other faiths combined.

24. Area political leaders should be involved in various ways.

25. A media outreach should be substantial. before, during, and after.

26. The Council's website must be accurate and up-to-date to facilitate communication, registration, etc.


INITIAL PLANNING

Here is a possible Agenda for an initial meeting. -- Using a  process like Synectics gets everyone involved and excited also produces commitment and clear responsibilities. Having folks at the initial meeting who were involved in planning Gifts 1 -- such as Kathy Riegelman, Donna Ziegenhorn, Larry Guillot, Chuck Stanford, Gene Flannery, David Stallings, Karta Purkh Khalsa, Dan Velicer, Diane Hershberger, Melissa Robinson, George Noonan, Rauf Mir, Rodger Kube, Juan Rangel, David Nelson, Jonathan Bickham, Rauf Mir, Sharon Riedel, and so forth, might be helpful.

    1. What are the outcomes we would desire from an interfaith conference?

    2. What would be the general shape of such a conference? (calendar, time, place, participants, structure)

    3.. What are the community resources a steering committee can call upon to ensure a success?
 

At the beginning, it is obvious such an undertaking requires collaboration with other groups, so identifying them early is critical. (For the Gifts One conference, the two key groups were  NCCJ and Harmony, both of which have not survived, alas, but were major players in that day, and other groups who were structured in specific ways did assist in the planning, along with specially identified high-profile KC leader types.  An organizational meeting with representatives of such organizations and key people invited with a specific agenda prepared ahead of time, with their particular roles identified seems important (for example, Al Brooks could advise about governmental involvement, and Jamie Rich  is a wiz at promotion). 


   4. What kind of marketing plan makes sense and where can financial backing be found?

    5. What kind of facility would be best, and what might be available?

    6.  At some point early, a formal organizational structure for the steering committee needs to be decided so that responsibilities, time-lines, etc are clear


ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND
     AND COMMENTS

The Interfaith Council was organized in 1989 -- and 12 years later we produced the successful "Gifts of Pluralism" conference which attracted national attention. It has already been a longer period of time since that conference, so I believe Kansas City overdue for another.

Most of us enjoy being involved with exciting, worthy efforts that can make a difference in people's lives and in raising the spirits of the community through meetings that are immediately productive and cooperative if we feel aligned with the goal and the methods to achieve the goal. At this early stage of exploration, I would like to contribute some initial thoughts as we all explore whether we want to work toward another such conference. Additional information about the 2001 conference is at and from

http://www.cres.org/gifts/index.htm

   At a future working session, if desired, and if the Council's copies are not easily to locate, I can bring some of

the hundreds of photos from the conference, 
the conference note book, 
a sample grant proposal, 
press coverage, 
conference brochure, 
proclamations, 
and other materials.
Most people don't like reinventing the wheel, but do enjoy rethinking, re-evaluating, adapting, and improving earlier successes.

I hope very early I hope we will be able to answer these questions:

(1) whether we should proceed in creating a second Gifts of Pluralism conference, or some other conference, 

(2) what kinds of commitments we might personally consider making toward that end. 

(3) We will also want to consider resources not presently at the table but available to us.

I understand the Council's thought was to consider a conference for 2016, and if that is to happen, work needs to begin right after Jan 22 if we have affirmative answers then. 

Experience suggests October is a good time for such a conference, but that will be a Presidential campaign year, and because advance involvement and "buzz" is important, as well as adequate preparation time for success,  I would suggest 2017. 

NOTES: 

Andrew Bolton advises us to avoid October 19-21, 2017, when a major symposium/conference is held on resistance and conscientious objection in World War I at  the National World War I Museum in Kansas City.  The  initiating coalition are people of faith in an ecumenical partnership becoming interfaith. Over 200 people including members of the academic Peace History Society who are also co-sponsors are expected. Many themes including civil liberties would be of interest to the interfaith community in Kansas City.

Mary McCoy adds that the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly will be held in Kansas City from June 20-24, 2018.
 
 

 




 

 2014 Dec 4

MY INTEREST: I am not interested if all decisions in planning the conference must be unanimous. The Gifts of Pluralism conference was successful far beyond our expectations because of careful planning and assignments, balance, funding, and participation. My current suggestive brainstorming appears here: http://www.cres.org/gifts/index.htm#2 and of course it would be fun to be in a planning group creating new ideas . A summary prepared at the request of the Civic (not City) Council of the conference appears here under the box with the conference logo  http://www.cres.org/gifts/index.htm , with links to more details about the conference.

I am being frank because my age and energy require me to consider how to weigh other opportunities and other obligations, and I do not want to waste time reinventing the wheel, but I am interested in making the wheel better, to travel further and deliver more goods. I believe that a well-planned follow-up conference would have an even greater benefit to the metro area and to the organizations involved. Other persons and organizations in the community not currently involved would likely be interested and greatly amplify the possibilities. I think successful planning would take about two years, or if things came together a bit more quickly, it could be on the 30th anniversary of the Assisi conference, the first World Day of Prayer for Peace, October 27, 1986. This would also be exactly the 15th anniversary of the first Gifts conference. If more than 22 months of planning are required, some other "peg" for whenever the conference is held should be used, and the date adjusted accordingly.

Vern Barnet



Email 2014 Dec 9

Dear Friends --

The Interfaith Council was organized in 1989 -- and 12 years later we produced the successful "Gifts of Pluralism" conference which attracted national attention. It has already been a longer period of time since that conference, so I believe Kansas City overdue for another.

Most of us enjoy being involved with exciting, worthy efforts that can make a difference in people's lives and in raising the spirits of the community through meetings that are immediately productive and cooperative if we feel aligned with the goal and the methods to achieve the goal. At this early stage of exploration, I would like to contribute some initial thoughts as we all explore whether we want to work toward another such conference. For your easy reference, I've put together 16 points outlined at
.  http://www.cres.org/gifts/index.htm#2
Additional information about the 2001 conference is at
http://www.cres.org/gifts/index.htm

   At a future working session, if desired, and if the Council's copies are not easily to locate, I can bring some of the hundreds of photos from the conference, the conference note book, a sample grant proposal, press coverage, conference brochure, proclamations, and other materials, Most people don't like reinventing the wheel, but do enjoy rethinking, re-evaluating, adapting, and improving earlier successes.

As we approach the 2015 Jan 22 Thu 6 pm meeting, perhaps via email we can identify questions we have and list other points to consider before Jan 22, so that by the end of our meeting, we will be able to answer the questions of (1) whether we should proceed in creating a second Gifts of Pluralism conference, or some other conference, and (2) what kinds of commitments we might personally consider making toward that end. (3) We will also want to consider resources not presently at the table but available to us. I understand the Council's thought was to consider a conference for 2016, and if that is to happen, work needs to begin right after Jan 22 if we have affirmative answers then.

With cordial best wishes for the seasons we each observe,
Vern


I have had several people ask for a report on the status of the idea of an interfaith conference in Kansas City in 2016 or 2017 and I advised the Executive Committee at the last meeting that a report would be forthcoming.  In order to be sure that everyone who has any interest in this idea is kept informed, I am sending this email to the entire GKCIC mailing list.   (Although any such project would have to involve more organizations and individuals than just GKCIC, I am focusing on our mailing list at this point because this idea began within GKCIC and no "interfaith conference" would be feasible without support and participation by GKCIC.)

To date, we have discussed the idea in a Program Committee meeting in September and held a special meeting in January to discuss general ideas.  For those who are interested, I am attaching the following information, in chronological order, which will bring the discussion to date:
· notes from the September 2014 Program Committee meeting
· Vern Barnet's comments, preliminary to the January 22 meeting
· my notes from the January 22 meeting
· Pam Peck's notes from the January 22 meeting
· Larry Guillot's email, regarding the January 22 meeting
You now have all the information on discussions to date.

If anyone is interested in working on a planning committee (which would also include contacting other organizations to form a project task force), please let me know and I will assist in setting up a meeting.

Mary McCoy



 
 

SEPTEMBER 2014 PROGRAM COMMITTEE (meeting at Aquarius, prior to Fire Puja)

The sole agenda topic was the feasibility of holding a Pluralism Conference in 2015.   Comments follow:

· Best target audience is within a four-hour driving radius
· David Nelson:  Vital Conversations on Jan 14 will feature Beloved Community by Archie Williams, who will speak on “what’s working” – this could be a model for a conference.   We could bring together both ethnic and religious diversity (including, hopefully, Cleaver and other leaders in African-American community) in a combination of faith and culture
· Barbara Criswell added that we could ask the question, “Could Ferguson happen here?”
· David also added that Vital Conversations on Dec 10 will feature Frank Shiffler on “Why I am an Atheist Who Still Believes in God” – bring free thinkers into the mix, also.
· Could we have a partnership with the library
· What about funding?
· We could arrange for Education CEUs and focus on teachers rather than students
· Work through KCIYA for a youth segment to the conference
· Contact leadership in interfaith groups on college campuses
· Businesses can be approached to provide scholarships to students to attend
· David: As part of conference “break out” sessions, we could focus on the community, not just religions, with the idea of asking, “How do we build the Beloved Community?”  -- if we want to attract people from across the region (e.g., from Wichita, St. Louis, Omaha, Des Moines, Oklahoma, etc.), we need to address issues they all address so we could have break-out sessions defined by issues, not religions, which would be novel
· Lewis Diuguid would be good as a potential organizer on the planning committee
· David brought a banner from the Gifts of Pluralism conference in 2001, and distributed, on behalf of Vern, copies of summaries of the 2001 conference

The committee meeting was shortened, due to an early business meeting prior to the Puja.   There will be no Program Committee meeting in October.
Vern’s preliminary comments
Because a decision to proceed with planning could be critical for our future, I would like to suggest some advance "homework" listing some issues we might consider, to which I have given considerable thought. I have assembled materials at
http://www.cres.org/gifts/index.htm#2

For a summary of the first "Gifts of Pluralism" see
http://www.cres.org/gifts/index.htm

For additional early Kansas City background, see
http://www.cres.org/pubs/HistoryofIFC.htm#PreCouncil
and other items indexed at
http://www.cres.org/pubs/HistoryofIFC.htm

We all need to ask whether we are willing to commit a substantial portion of our lives to make such a conference happen. For those of us keenly aware of our mortality and faced with other critical projects before croaking, a clear and shared understanding of the undertaking is essential if we are to make a commitment to making a "Gifts of Pluralism 2" a success. As I wrote earlier, "I do not want to waste time reinventing the wheel, but I am interested in making the wheel better, to travel further and deliver more goods." I personally know the weight of preparing for the first "Gifts" conference, and I would not want others to undertake such burdens without a clear path to success.


I think meetings are productive with a clear agenda and folks having done background homework and thinking. I have many projects I need to accomplish before I croak, and I want to contribute where my time might be best used. It seems as if  the group is not yet gelled enough for me to know whether what I have to offer would be helpful. What I prepared on line with input, revised from others, was in part a measure to see if things were yet ripe. For example, I indicated that I would not be involved if all decisions had to be made by consensus.

I had hoped the group tonight would come up with preliminary answers to questions such as

1. What are the outcomes we would desire from an interfaith conference?

2. What would be the general shape of such a conference? (calendar, time, place, participants, structure)

3.. What are the community resources a steering committee can call upon to ensure a success?

4. What kind of marketing plan makes sense and where can financial backing be found?
If I were at the meeting, I would  hope folks would realize such an undertaking requires collaboration with other groups, so identifying them early is critical. (For the Gifts One conference, the two key groups were  NCCJ and Harmony, both of which have not survived, alas, but were major players in that day, and other groups who were structured in specific ways to assist in the planning, along with specially identified high-profile KC leader types, or Jamie Rich who is a wiz at promotion.)
-


If the organic, bubble-up process you are comfortable with for tonight does not produce different results than a repetition the problem you identify, of "people saying 'I'm interested; keep me informed' but very few who are, at least at this point, willing to get things moving," you might consider an organizational meeting with representatives of such organizations and key people invited with a specific agenda prepared ahead of time, with their particular roles identified. (For example, Al Brooks to help with governmental involvement.)  Using a good process like Synectics that gets everyone involved and excited also produces commitment and clear responsibilities.

I guess it's a chicken-and-egg problem--do people commit before they know what they are committing to, that is, do they need the time to figure out, even without much background or information, what might be possible, OR do they need to have possibilities or various models or history with the benefits and costs suggested and explored with openness for modifications and adaptations or some new but informed idea, before they are willing to do more than say, "Keep me posted"? Obviously I am in the latter category . . .  so keep me posted!


MGM notes from meeting on 22 Jan 2015
 

Attendance: MGM, GLM, Pam, uma, Appachu, Bhaswati, Kathleen Bergman, Barb McAtee
 

OPENING QUESTION:  What do you envision for an interfaith conference in Kansas City?

INDIVIDUAL RESPONSES:
Pam: don’t pattern it after Pluralism I.   New things are important – what is needed now?
Greg: we haven’t dealt with the “why” of hatred…for instance, even after many years of distrust between certain groups, neither group understands why the other group distrusts them;we need to look inside and have empathy
Appachu: we are at one end of a self-selecting group…how do we move along the spectrum to adjacent areas? Can we find topics that will reach out?
Bhaswati: there is no point in repeating.  We need to look at current issues: how does each faith look at issues? How does each faith representative discussion the faith perspective to reach a common approach?
uma: other groups from outside the city can join to put it on. We can address issues of importance to others – an example of a workshop/breakout could be “how to start an interfaith group” – we need to involve people both inside and outside this city
Kathleen: interfaith is a continuum and we need to be open to all on the spectrum and find ways to be in unity by honoring all viewpoints…like an interfaith “think tank”
Barb: we should think of arranging it like the Parliament.  We should work with Festival of Faiths.  We could hold the event over several days (a long weekend) with TOF as a Thursday night “kick-off” with a keynote speaker.  Have a festival atmosphere for all ages with activities and energizing and issue-focused sessions. On the last day, form a coalition of organizations with similar goals to devise a plan to work together to bring in unexposed people…not just talk about the problems.  We need to generate enthusiasm and youth.
Mary: Agree with all the positions stated, especially the idea of addressing today’s issues in an energizing fashion and with sessions that will target specific needs and set realizable goals.

Those in attendance then discussed some specific ideas and themes that may be considered, which are set out below, not in order of “importance” but in the order as expressed:
· Hold the event from Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon
· Target those persons and organizations within a 4-5-hour driving radius
· Describe a theme in terms of the breadth of human existence, e.g.,
o “Across the Civic Spectrum”
o “Visions of the Future”
o “Seeing the Full Civic Spectrum”
o “Widening Our Horizons”
o “The Shining Community: Life Across the Civic Spectrum”
· We need to discover and target like-minded groups in this area of the Midwest:
o Topeka
o Chris Hamilton at Washburn
o Wichita
o St. Louis
o HTCC
o More2
o Interfaith Alliance of Iowa
o Kansas Power & Light
o Sustainable Sanctuaries
o Nebraska Power & Light
o Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
o Black Chamber of Commerce
o Major African-American churches
o Asian churches and business organizations
o GKC Chamber of Commerce
o Local interfaith organizations
· uma suggested drafting a “form letter” to be sent to all potential “partner organizations” to ascertain interest in formulating the planning of a conference

The group acknowledged that one of the first steps would be to identify the organizations that should be approached and uma volunteered to make up such a list if people would contact her with organizations and their contact information for those organizations.

No decision was made on the next meeting, awaiting dissemination of notes and ideas and identification of organizations.
 
 

POSTSCRIPT:  At Sergio Moreno’s presentation “Stories of Devotion” at Hallmark, he raised the following questions, which guided his project, but which also would appear to be questions which a conference should address:
· How can we relate better?
· How can we build relationships?
· What brings meaning to Life? (and, as an editorial note: How can we best understand what brings meaning to Life in the minds of others?)
A thought: “One Community: Building Relationships Across the Civic Spectrum”



 

Jan 22 meeting-added note
Larry Guillot
1/24/15
To: maryrmccoy@hotmail.com

Mary,

Couldn't make Thursday's meeting on a possible large scale interfaith conference.

You have indicated that you are interested in having a broad reaction to the proposal, so I add these reflections for having missed the meeting.
· The IFC should attempt a large scale conference (follow up to Gifts of Pluralism, 2001), on the condition there is a dedicated leadership.  Example: the earlier conference was only possible with the interaction of CRES (Vern & I), Harmony in a World of Difference (Diane Hershberger) and NCCJ (Juan Rangel).  Diane and Juan were full time agency reps; Vern and I both volunteers giving considerable time.  The involvement of Pembroke was also very significant--and it took a lot of work after that planning to carry off the actual conference.
· To get buy-in and involvement, it would seem that a significant number of interfaith, inter-cultural and religious organizations open and active with interfaith activities should be approached, just as members of the IFC are, to see if there might be a coalition of involvement and support, even if a small number were to exert a kind of core leadership.
· In order to "shop" the idea, the IFC leadership would do well to develop a tentative proposal of goals, target sponsorship and target conference participants. What changes of attitudes, behaviors of individuals and organizations envisioned?
· Significant attention would also well be given to the different situation of 2015-16 to 2000-2001.  Where before information on religious traditions was then thin to non-existent broadly and the idea of "pluralism" as a preferred approach to interfaith matters was relatively new, today information on world traditions is part of the daily news and pluralism is not new, even if not followed or practiced by everyone.
· In fact, a 2015-16 conference would have to take into its focus the current tensions and differences within traditions (they are not uniform or even universally consistent internally), the growth of the "nones" and of increasing secularism-humanism-personal focus on spirituality vis-a-vis traditional religious institutions and traditions.
· While there is still much to be done for and with traditional institutions and traditions (if that were the focus of the conference), a wider, more contemporary focus would draw a wider group that would also pose more challenging goals.
Obviously, I am interested in a possible large conference in GKC in the future, but for this year and probably two, I am committed to a project I need to do while I am in fair health, so I would be unable to give major time to such an effort.  I would have to be "in the wings" or, changing the metaphor, supporting the wings to make such a conference fly.

With large appreciation for what you are doing with Cultural Crossroads and now the Interfaith Council.

Cordially,
Larry G


Preliminary planning for Interfaith Conference, 2017. (notes by Pam Peck)
Interfaith Spectrum for a New Era:  Workshops for Change
Informational:
Interfaith “101”:  Overview of Global Faiths:  What would you like people to know about your faith?
Interfaith organizations in the KC area, in the 5-state area: Their focus and purpose.  What do they offer?
Current opportunities of the GKCIC:  regularly occurring: Vital Conversations, Sacred Texts Book Club, Table of Faiths event,  volunteering. What would you like to occur or be available?
Understanding: Mini-workshops:
How do you think religion and culture affect each other?
Origins of the Middle-East conflict:  Creating a timeline.
Geography of world religious conflict:  Creating a map
Who are the current players on the world stage of interfaith conflict, peace efforts?
Common terms we need to understand.
Perspectives in praying for our world: Invite participants to compose and share a prayer.
Initiating:
Looking at Websites and starting one.  What do you want to convey?
Starting an organization in your area. Where would you start?
Starting a conversation group in your workplace.  How would you go about it? What would guess to be conversation starters and stoppers?
Asian/Hispanic/Black conversations: Identifying the problem, ending stereotyping.  Creating opportunities for interaction.
Identifying and bringing the uninvolved into the circle:  Communicating, listening to, welcoming, involving.  “I see where you are coming from.”
Asking and answering the hard questions.
Congressional input:
How does current foreign policy affect global faith-based conflict?  What has been your experience with religious lobbyists? What can we do at local level to help promote needed changes?  O& A
Youth activity:  Hands on project such as tie-quilts for Head-start centers.  Discussions:  Have you experienced prejudice, comments about your appearance and your faith?  How did you respond?  What would you like people to know about your faith?
Children’s activity:   Art project, bullying, making friends with people who look differently than you.

Keynote Speaker:  Kevin Locke?
Music/Poetry/ Dancing?
 


2015 February 23

Dear Folks--

1. I am grateful to receive the compilation of materials oncerning a possible interfaith conference. Many good ideas have been generated.

2. Despite the great ideas, there seems to be no general pattern for how to proceed. I would advise against enlarging the group at this point beyond those doing interfaith work until a clearer vision for the conference emerges. How can groups be selected until the desired outcomes for the conference are identified? Alignment is essential in a cooperative effort. One brainstorming session after another with emerging and fading constituencies makes for slow and frustrating progress, and different agendas then tend to collide. A comprehensive planning process and steering committee or other organizing body seems essential. A conference requires folks accepting and fulfilling specific responsibilies.

2a. Minimal discussion appeared to have taken place at the meetings about desired outcomes. I worry about this because unless you know what you are aiming for, how can you plan to achieve it? Specifically, as I mention in the notes I had planned to provide before the meeting, one of the things I worry about is BURN-OUT. So one of the ten outcomes I have suggested is to identify and empower folks to carry on the interfaith work in the future, to deepen the interfaith "bench,' to use a sports metaphor.

3. While I had arranged material to be viewed before the meeting, I changed the link when I learned that it was best not to interfere with the bubble-up brainstorming process for the meeting. Since it is now possible to share the material, I am happy to give you the correct link --  http://www.cres.org/gifts/index2.htm . The material has these headings:

Outcomes
Approach
Features
Initial Planning
Additional Background and Comments

4. I dislike re-inventing the wheel because it takes time, resources, energy, and such. Improving the wheel and adapting it to current needs by involving fresh minds, hearts, and spirits, is likely to be more efficient, fun, and productive, with participant buy-in and delight.

With best wishes,
Vern



 
 
 
 

2014  Dec 10
Thank you for putting some advance thought to this, Vern.   I agree that it would be good for all of us to consider what issue(s) we think are of primary importance in today's world, whether such issue(s) can or should be addressed by an interfaith council, and, if so, what we would anticipate as the outcome from addressing such Issue(s).
I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts.
Mary




2014 Dec 10

In order to keep everyone "in the loop" about pending conversations, I want to let you all know that there will be a "preliminary conversation" regarding the feasibility of pursuing an interfaith conference in Kansas City.   That conversation will take place:

Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Christian Science Reading Room in Red Bridge
504 East 112th Street, KCMO 64131
(south side of Red Bridge Shopping Center at Holmes Road).

Although any such conference would necessarily be conducted by a consortium of interested organizations, and not the sole act of the Interfaith Council, we would first need to determine whether GKCIC would have the desire and ability to be the impetus for gathering together organizations.   It will depend, of course, on what issue(s) we think are of primary importance in today's world, whether such issue(s) can or should be addressed by an interfaith council, and, if so, what we would anticipate as the outcome from addressing such Issue(s).
thank you,
Mary McCoy



 
2014 Dec 10  , Barb Mcatee wrote:n

 I would also like for us to address the growing divisions in our communities and how to better find common ground for productive, meaningful conversations, conversations that hopefully lead to action.  It does no good to “preach to the choir.”  Even our “opponents,” or (those who might differ with us) have meaningful life experiences and knowledge to share.  The art of ‘reframing” and “elevating” conversations seems to be more critically needed these days.
 

----

Thu, 11 Dec 2014 Dec 11
Thanks, Barb. This is a very helpful way of explaining what "social issues" can mean, the breakdown of our sense of community among all of us, when we are divided in so many ways, without the will and the skills to listen to one another, the "disengaged citizenry" where private perspectives and desires become more important than recognizing and appreciating how we can create a safer, stronger community by meaningful conversations. While I may slightly disagree with you about the value of preaching to the choir (it can deepen the "choir" members' commitments), I strongly agree with you that we much reach out to include many, many folks who have not previously been involved. What ideas do you have about how to do this?