Photos and reports are arranged by monthKing Holiday Essay — 2018 Jan 15
Coffee, 4th Wednesdays 8 am
Candlemas 2018 Feb 2 Fri 7pm — see below
What is Islam?2018 March 4 Resurrection Lutheran Church, 9100 Mission Rd
Eliot's Four Quartets 2018 March 13 Tom Brous speaks on his book
Memorial service 180331 for Anand Bhattacharyya, 1932-2018
Meeting Paul Knitter 2018 April 20
Kansas City Mayor Sly James
Margolis Scholarship Essay Contest winner announced.
CRES applauds Indian filmmaker — 2018 Oct 14 Sun 2:35p
Thanksgiving Dinner -- Nov 11 Sunday 4:30
Thanksgiving Benefit Concert
for the Jerusalem Farm -- Nov 16 Fri 7:30
King Holiday Essay — 2018 Jan 15
Download a PDF of Vern's 2-page summary of the genius of the spiritual approach of Martin Luther King Jr by clicking this link.
Candlemas 2018 Feb 2 Fri 7pm — honoring many faiths
:: A complimentary reception hosted by the Central Seminary
:: An exhibition of art in the rare Saint John's Bible
:: Organ pieces performed by Paul Meier on the Gabriel Kney Pipe Organ
:: The Sacred Arts Chorale performing the complete Missa Pange Lingua by Josquin des Prez (1450?–1521) -- Kyrie, Gloria | Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei
:: Guitar, ud, and other music performed by Beau Bledsoe
:: Poetry from Wm Shakespeare, George Herbert, John Donne, T S Eliot, W H Auden, and Vern Barnet, with actor Eddie Straub
:: Of course, the full candle-lighting ceremony, incense, asperges
CLICK ON THE BURNING CANDLES or HERE FOR A FULL REPORT
Evolution Weekend 2018 Feb 9-11— report pending
What is Islam?
2018 March 4 Sunday 9:15 am
Resurrection Lutheran Church, 9100 Mission Rd
Dr Vern Barnet discussed our indebtedness to Islam and answered questions, in an informative hour classroom setting.
The session began with this "Quiz to Initiate Discussion
Eliot's Four Quartets Promoted
Brous spoke at the Retired Clergy Luncheon March 13. T.S. Eliot’s “Four
Quartets” may be the most important religious poem since Dante's Divine
Comedy, Brous suggested, and like Dante, even with the Comedy's
beauty and power, discovering the depths of its meaning its not easy.
Memorial service 180331 for Anand Bhattacharyya, 1932-2018
Wearing the shawl Anand Bhattacharrya has bestowed
on him, Vern spoke about their decades-long friendship at the memorial
service at the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center.
Anand's far-ranging and key contributions to interfaith understanding might be suggested by the fact that he is the “Hindu” in the Donna Ziegenhorn play, The Hindu and the Cowboy. He was tireless in promoting not only the better understanding of his own faith by sharing it in many ways with the larger community, but by supporting efforts to bring faiths together in mutuality and trust. He wrote for The Kansas City Star and often advised me on my column through its weekly appearance for 18 years. An engineer by profession, he was a spiritual scholar, teacher and servant of the divine, a man of integrity and joy.
Anand was the first Hindu member of the Kansas City Interfaith Council 1989; and he and Dipti offered me, along with so many others, great friendship and all kinds of help. So many memories! — including bhumi puja ground-breaking at the site of what became the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center when he was president, to his being honored by CRES at the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Sunday Family Ritual Meal in 1999 (image 1) to his participation in the press conference September 11, 2001 (image 2), and the day of observance September 11, 2002 (image 3) , to his welcoming guests from here and abroad at the nation's first Interfaith Academies for professionals and students when the participants visited the Temple in 2007 (image 4) . . . and so many other public and private ways he enriched our lives.
We honored him at this year’s interfaith Candlemas.
We are blessed in so many ways by knowing Anand, and those who never met him still benefit in ways they may never know from his time with us.
At one Thanksgving Ritual Meal, I complimented him on his tie. He happened to have another one just like it, which he gave to me; and it sorta became a tradition that we would wear those matching ties at this annual interfaith gathering; thus were we tied together.
When the Interfaith Academies visited the Hindu Temple, he presented me with a shawl. I have given away all my albs and robes and retain this shawl for when I am called for sacerdotal duties, and always think of him and his generous spirit. It is like a mantle with which he is blessing me.
A collection of tributes with many photos of Anand at key points in the interfaith history of Kansas City appear here: cres.org/Anand.htm
Distinguished theologian Paul F Knitter visited Colonial Congregational Church in Prairie Village 2018 April 20 and spoke on "Attitudes toward the Religious Other: The Christian Landscape," ways Christians can approach thinking about those of other faiths.
Vern had a chance to speak briefly with him before his presentation and mentioned that his 2002 book, Introducing Theologies of Religion, is one of the sources for Vern's class, "Ministry in a Pluralistic World," at Central Seminary.
Vern also commented during the forum after the lecture. One point of discussion was the difficulty of one person representing an entire faith tradition with its many historical and contemporary expressions. Vern noted that the Kansas City Interfaith Council was organized in 1989 not with representatives of 13 faiths, but with 13 people from different faith backgrounds, thus avoiding this easy trap. Even Christians forget that their faith today might be very different from another Christian's faith across the street (even within Protestantism, not to mention Catholicism or Orthodoxy) or in other parts of the world; and historical development is seldom recognized -- a Southern Baptist today may be very different from one 50 years ago.
Thanks to Jen Greene for these photos.2018 April 30, Stephen Prothero and Vern discuss the merits of Prothero's 2010 book, God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World—and Why Their Differences Matter, which Vern is using as one of several texts at Central Seminary. Another member of the audience at the annual Religious Studies lecture at KU happened to have a copy of the 2011 column Vern had written about the book and showed it to them. Prothero signed Vern's copy of his new book, Why Liberals Win (Even When They Lose Elections). Prothero's lecture reviewed his earlier and continuing concern about American religious illiteracy, about which he wrote in his 2007 Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't.
Prothero's website is http://stephenprothero.com/.
2018 May 7 – July 27 — Mondays 6-9:45pm CDT
2018 Aug 27 – Nov 19 – Tuesdays 6-9:45p CT
2019 Jan 7 – Mar 26 — Mondays 6-9:45pm CDT
2019 May 7 - July 23 Tuesdays 6-9:45pm CDT
The graduate credit course C-RP511 is held remotely via Zoom and at
Central Seminary 6601 Monticello Road, Shawnee, KS 6226-3513.
The course, led by Dr Vern Barnet, explores these questions:
DISCOVERING PRESUPPOSITIONS ABOUT OTHER FAITHS -- AND OUR OWN
B. LEARNING ABOUT OTHER
C. ENCOUNTERING FOLKS OF
During the May 14 class (hosted on this occasion
locally by HJ's Youth and Community Center, a facility of St Andrew's Episcopal
Church) which included two remote students, a reflection appeared on the
monitor behind Vern and a student particularly apt with electronics as
well as religion, captured Vern making some obscure theological point as
if he were holding a light saber for emphasis. Vern denies that he is an
incarnation of Obi-Wan Kenobi, but is disappointed that the electonics
seemed to obscure his halo which too few can discern in any circumstance,
anyhow. Maybe as the technology improves . . . .
June 4 Rabbi Moti Rieber, head of Kansas Interfaith Action, visited the class to discuss his work. The inset is a quick figure to illustrate the process of gaining support for policy positions, and generated a wonderful controversy. Our guest expemplifies one form of interfaith work, action, which might be contrasted with interfaith educational programs.
June 11 our guest was Maggie Finefrock, head of
The Learning Project and CRES Chief Learning Officer, a veteran of many
pilgrimages, including the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, and most recently,
a 300-mile pilgrimage observing the bicentennial of St. Rose Philippine
Duchesne (1769-1852)'s Society of the Sacred Heart. She presented two tables
of items relating to the practice of pilgrimage, elicted and responded
to questions from the class deepening our understanding of what a pilgrimage
is and is not, and introduced us to material on the chart she presented.
Maggie's husband, Dr Doug Bottorff, discussed his
own spiritual path, Ananda Marga. The class considered the role of the
guru and the importance of faithful practice.
The Rev David E Nelson, president of The Human Agenda, was guest at the first session of the "Ordinary" term class Vern leads at Central Seminary on ministry in a pluralistic world. David told the story of two boys and their parents from different cultures to illustrate how different responses to the same situation can lead to damaged or healthy outcomes. He then outlined Appreciative Inquiry, and from his sermon (at the nation's first Interfaith Academies sponsored in part by Harvard's Pluralism Project and Religions for Peace-USA), he explained why he has given so much (and received so much) from interfaith engagement and relationships. David's rich career beyond parish ministry includes work with emergency responders, Head Start programs, prison inmates, the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, and the monthly Vital Comversations.
From yearning God conceived
and teemed the world
-- "The Purpose of Sex"Congratulations to the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council for its uplifting "Table of Faiths" dinner 2018 May 8 at the Overland Park Convention Center -- and to award recipients, Jewish Vocational Services (Table of Faiths Award) with Hilary Cohen Singer, and Mindy Corporon and Melinda Coproran -- "Faith Always Wins" (Steve Jeffers Leadership Service Award). The program, chaired by the Rev Kelly Isola, included inspiring speakers Bill Tammeus, Aisha Sharif, and Alvin Brooks.
in Thanks For Noticing: The Interpretation of Desire, p186.
Especially gratifying were the ways the speakers and activities elaborated the theme of the evening, "to know and be known," a theme around which Vern's book, Thanks for Noticing, was created, citing a Muslim Hadith Qudsi (page 17-18, 28, 31, 51, 75, 95, 101, 161, 186.)
Vern, who organized the Council in 1989, was given the first Table of Faiths award by then-Mayor Kay Barnes in 2005 shown here, after Vern had retired from the leading the Council.
For the record, the 2018 program incorrectly listed Vern as the first recipient of the Steve Jeffers Leadership Service Award; Steve tragically died in 2008 and the first Jeffers award was given that year. Steve and Vern had worked together many years on numerous projects, and with the assistance of Michael E Nelson and Michael C Brannigan, and with help from members of the Interfaith Council, completed Steve's dream of an 'interfaith PDR'-- Physicans' Desk Reference, the internationally published 740-page The Essential Guide to Religious Traditions and Spirituality for Health Care Providers.
Vern says, "Although I am deeply grateful to the Council for the inagural Table of Faiths Award, it would be wrong for me to allow the error to stand that I received an award in the name of my precious friend, Steve. I remain overwhelmed by the the Council's Table of Faiths Award and its generous inscription." The award reads, The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council presents the inaugural TABLE OF FAITHS AWARD to The Reverend Vern Barnet, D.Min. for his lifelong career dedicated to encouraging interfaith dialogue, for his vision in founding The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, and for the compassion and wisdom he exhibits every day.
Those who have received the Steve Jeffers Leadership Service Award include Dr Robert Hill, Ahmed El-Sherif, Queen Mother Maxine McFarlane, Donna Ziegenhorn, Mayor Sly James, Bambi Shen, the Rev Dr Wallace Hartsfield Sr, Shakil Haider, Dr Sofia Khan, and this year's recipient, as noted above, Mindy Corporon and Melinda Coproran -- "Faith Always Wins."
After the inaugiral award, the Table of Faiths Award has been given to Ed Chasteen and Don and Adele Hall (all three in 2006), The Kansas City Star and Alvin L Brooks (two awards), Shawnee Mission Medical Center, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, Notre Dame de Sion, the Kansas City Public Library, Unity Church of Overland Park, Children's Mercu Hospital, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Blue Valley School District, the Dialogue Institute - Kansas City, and, as noted above, Jewish Vocational Services.
CRES is seeking to provide an accurate history of interfaith activities in Kansas City, so any corrections to this list are welcomed.
Tomorrow Alum Assn Award Recipients
Previous Kansas City Tomorrow Alum Assn "Distinguished Alumni Award" recipients Vern Barnet (2006) and Jody Ladd Craig (2013) congratulate the newest recipient, Kansas City Mayor Sly James at a luncheon in his honor at the Polsinelli law firm offices on the Plaza 2018 May 22. (Here is a list of all honorees from 1987.)
Vern thanks Senator Claire McCaskill for her understanding of how religious diversity enriches America in countless ways, following at an event 2018 June 9 at which she spoke eloquently about valuing our variety of faiths.
Kansas City Human Rights Commissioner Kelly Kendall, filmmaker Mohammed Shaik Hussain Ali, recipient of the "2018 OUT HERE NOW Celebration of Courage Award," Open Circle'sJamie Rich, and CRES's Vern Barnet pose at the Tivoli Theater after the enthusiastic and heart-felt applause following the screening of "Evening Shadows" June 14. The award is presented jointly by the Commission and the Kansas City LGBT Film Festival. This evening was co-hosted by CRES, Open Circle, and The Fairness Project.
The story: Upon returning to his hometown from Mumbai where he lives with his beloved, a talented young man is shocked to discover that his overbearing father has arranged to marry him off to his childhood friend. Feeling tremendous pressure from his family, the young man finally and impulsively tells his mother, the only person who has ever really attempted to understand him, "I am gay!" She is shocked and repulsed, but as the film skillfully follows the ensuing questions and conversations, she comes to accept and support him, leading to a dramatic confrontation with her husband and evenually her own liberation as a person whose own talents are no longer suppressed by her husband.
While made for Indian audiences, Americans viewing this film see the struggle against oppression in our own country afresh by being immersed in a fascinating segment of today's Hindu culture and Indian politics.
The Reverend Vern Barnet, DMn, was ordained a Unitarian Universalist minister May 24, 1970. On 2018 June 21, his retirement was observed at the denominational annual General Assemby, this year coincidentally held in Kansas City. The photo by Josh Paszkiewicz captures him a few minutes before the ceremony at the Convention Center began.
"Retirement" is, of course, misleading, as Vern continues a hectic schedule of speaking, teaching, writing, editing, and consulting. While he maintains his clergy status with his cherished local Unitarian Universalist colleagues, he is also a committed and active layman at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral (Episcopal) in downtown Kansas City, MO, and participates in diocesan lay ministries.
The shawl he wears on many liturgical occasions was presented to him 2007 June 17 with an award from the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center in Shawnee, KS, by his now-deceased dear friend Anand Bhattacharyya. The symbols of world religions — Primal, Asian, and Monotheistic — on the reversable stole were created as a gift by Su Budd, a parishioner of Vern's last congregation as he was launching interfaith community ministry in the area in 1985.
The symbols represent (first panel, top to bottom) Judaism, Catholic Christianity, Protestant Christianity, Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Unitarian Universalism, Baha'i, (second panel) Zoroastrianism, American Indian traditons, Paganism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Chinese traditions of Daoism and Confucianism, and Shinto.
For an outline the CRES world religions "research program," click on this link.
Rabbi Morris Margolies (1921-2012)Congratulations to Haidee Clauer from Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy! Her essay won in the contest for the 2018 Margolis Scholarship Contest. Vern was one of the five judges. The prize was created by the will of Bernard Margolis, but Vern misunderstood the name and thought it honored Rabbi Morris Margolies who served Beth Shalom for 25 years. Rabbi Margolies participated in the Christian Jewish Muslim DIalogue Group Vern coordinated and they (both having studied at the University of Chicago) became friends. Bernard Margolis was executive vice-president of Katz Drug Stores Co. Anyhow, cheers for Haidee Clauer and thanks to Mark D Wasserstrom for managing the contest who welcomes submissions for the 2019 contest from area high school students. We are glad to remember both Rabbi Morris Margolies and Bernard Margolis, each of which helped to make Kansas City what it is today.
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.
2018 October 14 Sunday, following the 2:35pm screening, Glenwood Arts Theatre, 3707 W 95, Overland Park, KS 66206, CRES presented a special Interfaith Discernment Award for the film Evening Shadows -- for "portraying universal spiritual themes of self-discovery and social advancement" -- at the Kansas International Film Festival. The filmmaker, Mohammed Shaik Hussain Ali, accepted the award in person from Maggie Finefrock, CRES Chief Learning Officer, along with Vern. CRES is pleased to add our award to others the film has merited. The film is in Hindi with English subtitles. We would like to think that the film helped to made it possible for the Indian Supreme Court to throw out odious section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a left-over from the Bristish raj which violated millennia of Indian culture and religion.
A Neighborhood of World Religions
Distinguished interfaith leaders Mahnaz Shabbir and Alan Edelman, superb presenters of their respective Muslim and Jewish faiths, contributed insights from their traditions regarding the corresponding environmental, personal, and social crises. A delicious lunch followed with Table Talk suggestions.
After lunch interfaith explorer and Buddhist leader and speaker from the Tibetan tradition, Sergio Moreno, with scope and insight, discussed Buddhism's history and practice, and Kara Hawkins and Stumbling Deer presented an American Indian "case study" in the most beautiful and touching words and music. Vern was asked to conclude the conference, so he asked everyone to join hands and then we lifted them to the sky.
Tall Oaks Conference
Center is located at 12778 189th, two miles east of Linwood,
KS, about 40 minutes from downtown KC. The conference participants
greatly enjoyed the facilities and the hospitality. Martha E Pierce, Center
executive director, participated in the workshop, and we are especially
grateful for her enthusiasm for interfaith understanding. The Greater Kansas
City Interfaith Council was a collaborative partner with this conference
at Tall Oaks (a Disciples of Christ church camp).
Although this event is not sponsored by CRES, we list it since its "Vern Barnet Interfaith Service Award" is named for CRES minister emeritus, the founder of the Kansas City Interfaith Council (1989), then a program of CRES.
2018 November 11 Sunday 4:30 pm
recipient Barbara Criswell is the proprietor of Aquarius Store for Conscious
Living, a leader in the Pagan community, active in the Greater Kansas City
Interfaith Council, the Heartland Pagan Alliance, a Mayan Prietess and
ceremonialist, and a mentor to spiritual seekers from all paths.
HISTORY.— The annual dinners
were begun by CRES led by Vern
Barnet in 1984. CRES continued to host them for a quarter century
at various Kansas City sites through 2009 using a family “seder” liturgical
meal participatory format with real food interpreting the American multi-faith
experience. Children, their parents, and their friends, took speaking parts
in enjoying the meal with a script adapting and updating William Bradford’s
of the Plymouth Plantation.
Thanks to Mary McCoy for this dining image and the photo of those offering benedictions.
Nov 16 Fri 7:30 pm
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 2552 Gillham Rd, Kansas City, MO
Thanksgiving Benefit Concert for the Jerusalem Farm
CRES was pleased to co-sponsor this event with thanks for the Jerusalem Farm folks who
provide home maintenance labor and other forms of assistance to needy Kansas Citians
The William Baker Festival Singers have celebrated Thanksgiving each year with a Benefit Concert for Human Need, raising funds for organizations that help the less fortunate in our community. For now over 21 years the Festival Singers have raised tens of thousands of dollars for organizations across the region. In 2018 the beneficiary is Jerusalem Farm, and all the donations from the event were given to this worthy service organization.
The 50-voice chorale performed a range of music from Hildegard von Bingen and José Marin to Javier Busto and Sondre Bratland, with favorites including Schubert's Ave Maria and There is a Balm in Gilead. Bledsoe and Botero performed selections from the Cantigas de Santa Maria from the Court of Alfonso X of Castile to the famous Villa-Lobos work, Bachiansas Brasileiras No. 5. And with the Singers, they presented several additional delights, including Mozart's Laudate Dominum from the Vesperae solennes de confessore.
The 16-page program offered special thanks to Patrick Neas for coordinating the program and to Charles and Michelle Ritter and John Gregory for financial support, and to the Our Lady of Sorrows Parish for the hospitality.
CRES was pleased to assist with the promotion of this wonderful evening of music and knows first-hand the contributions the folks from Jerusalem Farm make to our community. The four “cornerstones” of their life are prayer, community, simplicity, and 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,
in dialog that will add value to the participants and to the world.
In Vital Conversations, we become co-creators of a better community.
The discussions began May 24, 2002, at the CRES facility
by examining Karen Armstrong’s The Battle for God
2018 Vital Conversations Schedule
“The purpose of a Vital Conversation is not to win an argument but to win a friend and advance civilization.”—Vern Barnet
Conversations — A Program of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith
Council, CRES, and Mid Continent Public Library Antioch Branch, 6060 N.
Chestnut. Gladstone, MO 64119 The Second Wednesday of each month from 1
to 2:30 pm.
10, 2018 The Things They Carried by
April 11, 2018 God Against the Gods: The
History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism by Jonathan
May 9, 2018 Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, Angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens with Jasmine Syedullah.
Igniting a long-overdue
dialogue about how the legacy of racial injustice and white supremacy plays
out in society at large and Buddhist communities this urgent call to action
outlines a new dharma that considers the ways that racism and privilege
prevents our collective awakening.
June 13, 2018 Our Fathers: Making Black Men, Lewis Diuguid.
Many people don't understand why black lives must matter and why the racial
divide seems to be taking the country back 50 years. Like the mythical
Sankofa bird, the answer to what's missing now lies in what existed before.
July 11, 2018 The Hate U Give by
August 8, 2018
The Evolution of Africans in North America: The Three Phases of Permanent Perpetual Slaveryby Archie J Williams
This book uses elements of science by observing patterns of events shaping socioenvironmental conditions impacting on a targeted group. This analysis may bring some understanding of present-day functioning of the identified group, African Americans, and may assist with predicting what treatment would bring the greatest healing.
Archie steaddily and eloquently presented the three phases of history of African Americans -- Bondage, Permanent perpetual slavery, and Heal thyself -- and answered many questions from the overflow crowd with the knowledge and wisdom of his research and study, and expressed his convictions and hopes with extraordinary grace.
Archie holds a Masters in Social Work. He is known for his memorized speeches of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, which he recites in cadence so exact you would think you were in the presence of Dr King.
September 12, 2018 God: A Human History
by Reza Aslan
October 10, 2018 Sinners in the Hands of A
Loving God by Brian Zahnd
November 14, 2018 Celestial Mechanics by
William Least Heat-Moon
December 12, 2018 Convictions: How I Learned
What Matters Most by Marcus J. Borg
Selections are subject to change. If you would like
to be reminded and have additional information, contact David Nelson at
email@example.com 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.
full announcements pending
“ — ” ‘—’ 24
“ — ” ‘—’ 18
“ — ” ‘—’ 14
“ — ” ‘—’ 12
“ — ” ‘—’ 10
ANSWERS ? NOTES
All items are true except--
12. (F) The US and allies overthew the democratiocally selected Iranian Prime Minister Mosaddegh in 1953 and reinstalled the oppressive Shah in exchange for oil control by Western countries.
15, (T) The nation was Morocco in 1777.