w=600px bottom    “  ”  — ‘  ’


Except for monthly Vital Conversations convened by David Nelson, CRES programs arise by request. Our management principle is "management by opportunity." Every year we are delighted by the number of opportunties given to us, as, for example, last year's list demonstrates. (Of course we also provide free consulation to organizations and other services as requested, not listed on our public website.)
This page is continuously updated.
INDEX 600-10x2=580px 
Events listed by date, earlist first

General Announcements Link to eBlast Archive
1982 - 2012 Archive on request About CRES participation
.
On-line Archived Program Announcements and Reports
 
2023
 2022  2021   2020   2019   2018   2017   2016   2015   2014   2013
.

Transcendent meanings from COVID?
Essay for the Interfaith Council Newsletter 
also  yellow box on Vern's Sidebar page

 2024 PROGRAMS
ANNOUNCEMENTS - LINKS - REPORTS - DETAILS
About Vital ConversationsProgram 2d Wed 1-2:30 pm  Coffee 4th Mon 8 am
Photos and reports are arranged by month
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

 
 





#MLK

King Holiday Essay —  2023 January 16
     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.
     You can also read the Letter from a Birmingham Jail here.
     Bill Tammeus writes about King's visits to Kansas City here.
     Vern writes:
     I remember meeting King in a church basement in Washington, DC, the year before he was assassinated. I remember his appearance was delayed quite a while as his team checked the church for threats and dangers, as those of us gathered to hear him hoped to see him alive. It was a dark time. I remember his brilliant analysis of Vietnam, and particularly its effect on young Black men.
     I was a student at the University of Chicago Divinity School when he was assassinated. The next Sunday was Palm Sunday, April 7, and I was to be a guest preacher. I remember struggling to find something uplifting to say, and thankfully, able to rely on King's teachings and his  public ministry in the context of the Christian story. I used a recording of the April 3 "Mountain Top" speech in many sermons in the following months.
     I remember studying the writings and speeches of King, with their eloquence and depth. Each year I continue to reread the Letter from the Birmingham Jail, which every year renews me with astonishment. I also especially cherish his last sermon, March 31, at the Washington National Cathedral, a few days before his assassination. And I claim King also as an exemplar of interfaith respect, which is why I wrote this essay.


 
February 1-7

To observe World Interfaith Harmony week, we offer one of our most cited essays, "Stealing Another's Faith." The question of honoring without misappropriating material from others is not so easy, and this essay raises awareness so faiths can be less in conflict and more in harmony. Read, download this PDF, and share this important essay by Vern -- with excerpts from Huston Smith and Harvey Cox.
 


    
   TO UPDATE


#SevenDays2024




The themes help us focus on kindness in seven different ways, on seven different days.
2024 April tba
LOVE DISCOVER OTHERS CONNECT YOU GO ONWARD

The SevenDays website gives you
the SevenDays story (with the horrific past
on April 14, 2014), the present, and the future,
the SevenDays events this year, how to get involved, resources, and an opportunity to shop and various sponsorship opportunities.

 


CRES is glad to have been involved from the very first year with an interfaith panel, and admires the folks and the organization involved for turning tragedy into continuing community benefit by advancing understanding and relationships.
 



TO UPDATE
# 92 AL BROOKS CELEBRATION

 
No one in the Kansas City area has done more to promote interfaith understanding -- as well as addressing racism, sexism, homophobia, and all forms of prejudice keeping us from seeing one another as sacred children of the universe -- than our friend, Al Brooks. One of the greatest privileges of my life was to help Al with his powerful and fascinating memoir, and now I get to join with others on the planning committee in  inviting CRES friends to his 91st birthday celebration. As Al says, "Be Blessed!"



Please join the Brooks family, Vern, and other friends 
at an open house to celebrate the induction of Al Brooks into
the Black Archives of Mid-America Heritage Hall on his 91st Birthday.

 

1:00 - 6:00pm

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

The Black Archives of Mid-America

1722 E 17th Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64108

 
In lieu of gifts, donations can be made to www.blackarchives.org
The Black Archives is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

LAST-MINUTE UPDATES:


Location: Black Archives of Mid-America Heritage Hall, 1722 E. 17th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64108. The  museum itself is featuring much to see about our friend. The Black Archives staff and volunteers will be help guest register when you arrive. The museum has a large parking lot.

Time: 1-6 pm, May 3 Wednesday, with remarks and the Historic Induction Ceremony at 4 p.m.

Dress: Business casual is preferred.

Food/Beverages: We will be serving hors d'oeuvres and dessert. Bottled water and punch available. Alcoholic drinks have been donated by Beam Suntory -- we will have a “signature cocktail” served during the event. Food and drink are allowed in designated areas.

Book Signing: If you have not had an opportunity to purchase Alvin Brooks’ book Binding Us Together, copies will be for sale in the Black Archives Gift Shop. Al would love to personally sign your book.

Support Alvin Brooks Charities:
     * Metropolitan Community College Penn Valley campus is home to the Brooks Institute. Established in 2000 and named in honor of Alvin Brooks, the Brooks Institute supports the Civil Rights Learning Community, Civil Rights Pilgrimage and Civil Rights/Social Justice Speakers Bureau.
     * Alvin Brooks Center for Faith-Justice at Rockhurst University. The center will house many of the university’s faith-justice related efforts, including a chapel, mission and ministry programs, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs.


   TO UPDATE

Our friend Steve Nicely alerts us to the Funeral Consumer Alliance spring newsletter containing updated funeral prices for 114 funeral homes in our area, with practical information for clergy, social workers, health care providers and others.

Here is the website: funeralskc.org  where you can read the articles and survey the research data.
   
 



#230704
 Independence Day readings
   
     * Vern Barnet
     * Frederick Douglass 
 

Visit Sacred Citizenship for a 2-page PDF version of our June, 2001 Many Paths essay with themes of loyalty, freedom, greatness. Does this essay still work after September that year, and as we are continuing to come to a fuller appreciation of our history, from before 1619 to the present disfunction of much of government, local, state, federal -- as well as international agreements?

---------------

Oration
Delivered in Corinthian Hall, Rochester, NY
by Frederick Douglass
July 5th, 1852
Rochester: Lee, Mann & Co., 1852

[Frederick Douglass, 1817/1818--1895]

"The 4th of July Address, delivered [on the 5th] in Corinthian Hall, by Frederick Douglass, is published on good paper, and makes a neat pamphlet of forty pages. The 'Address' may be had at this office, price ten cents, a single copy, or six dollars per hundred."   {Visit oration for the text.}




#240911  #911

https://mailchi.mp/bd986ec70d8b/on-the-20th-anniversary-911-a-metaphorical-malady?e=d9e1721627

A way of understanding the years since 9/11

While the 9/11 attacks opened new gates of hell, the way our government has responded has brought us inside hell's domain. The smoke from that day, the acrid fumes, amplified into war, brings us purblind to the charred and hobbled Body Politic. How do we understand what has happened? How do we move forward? And what of other international conflicts, especially the war of Russia against Ukraine?

One way of understanding what happened, and is still happening, is by looking at the metaphors we use to explain things and which shape our responses.

9/11: METAPHORICAL MALADY:
CRIME, WAR, DISEASE

1. Before 9/11, terrorism had been dealt with as a CRIME, internationally and at home. The violation of life and property in an otherwise orderly society makes the terrorist an especially despised outlaw. We employ a legal system to assure justice by punishing the criminal and removing the criminal from society. International courts have done the same.

2. But since September 11 we have used a WAR metaphor. Of course the metaphor is hardly new. We love war. We have fought the war against poverty and the war against drugs, though it is hard for us to admit defeat, even though Vietnam and Afghanistan are history now. We still fight the war against cancer, against crime, against . . . you name it.

But a war against terrorism was new. The metaphor had power because we struggled not just against isolated attack but against an organized force seeking not just advantage through harm of a target but rather destruction of a government or civilization. Though we ourselves use violence, we assumed our own righteousness would bring us victory over evil.

Both of the metaphors of crime and war too easily commend themselves because they are simple, and rest on the assumption that we are wholly good — and our opponents are completely evil.

3. A third metaphor might come closer to the complexity of the situation: DISEASE. Here the metaphor suggests not separate, competing powers but of all humanity as a sick body, within the organs of communities, cities, and nations, afflicted in various ways, degrading or sustaining each other in different degrees, infected with individuals and groups poisoned (using Buddhist language) with greed, fear, and ignorance. Now, with COVID, we are learning that, as Martin Luther King said, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Is the disease metaphor give us any insights into the war of Russia against Ukraine? I think this metaphor gives us an essential insight into debilitated world governance, enfeebled by the failure to place armaments under international control requiring some body (a strengthened United Nations) to manage conflict between states when states cannot resolve problems peacefully. One way of looking at this situation, using the disease metaphor, is the war as an auto-immune disease of the world body; Russia, which benefits from a peaceful world order, attacks that very order, and the body must address this illness by sending resources to return to homeostasis. Just as chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and other cures, can destroy healthy cells, so the body's response to Russian aggression requires the short-term sacrifice of some otherwise healthy parts for long-term health. Whether the expansion of NATO will inspire a true government of all nations is very unclear, and whether the many increasingly complex forces of civilization lead to planetary senescence and death, or to universal peace 




#Aporia200524

From Aporia to Praise:
TO BE SCHEDULED
(postponed from 2020 May 25)
A late observance of
the 50th anniversary of Vern Barnet's ordination
Aporia: "impasse, puzzlement, doubt."

      Vern offers his conclusions from over 50 years of experience and study: in a troubled world, what paths lie forward? and how can one dare offer praise for the intertwined mix of the horror and the beauty of existence?
* Doing theology is less like mathematics and more like expounding why you love someone.
* My passion for "world religions" in the context of the crises of secularism.
* The mystic's vision (amour fati - love of fate) and the public expression in worship. 






#TableOfFaiths   TO UPDATE
CRES applauds the
Greater KC Interfaith Council's annual
Table of Faiths event - with awards to
our friend of many years, Karta Purkh Khalsa,
and a key organization seeking to cure prejudice,
MCHE, the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education,
and remembering CRES Amity Shaman Ed Chasteen


     
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE Table of Faiths EARLY YEARS --

The first Table of Faiths event, with David Nelson as convener, was a luncheon at the Marriott Muehlebach Hotel downtown Nov 10, 2005. Alvin Brooks, one of the co-chairs (Gayle Krigel, Mahnaz Shabbir, and Chuck Stanford), welcomed guests. Mayor Kay Barnes was the keynote speaker and presented the first Table of Faiths Award to Vern Barnet.
     The second Table of Faiths luncheon, Nov 14, 2006, honored Don and Adel Hall and Ed Chasteen.
     The third Table of Faiths luncheon, Nov 7, 2007, honored Alvin L Brooks and The Kansas City Star.
     The fourth Table of Faiths luncheon, Nov 13, 2008, included a presentation of Donna Ziegenhorn's play, The Hindu and the Cowboy. Honored were Robert Lee Hill and the Shawnee Mission Medical Center, and Steve Jeffers (1948-2008) was lovingly remembered.
     The fifth Table of Faiths luncheon, Nov 12, 2009, introduced The Steve Jeffers Leadership Award, given to Ahmed El-Sherif. All Souls Unitarian Church was also recognized, and Allan Abrams (1939-2009) was lovingly remembered.
     The sixth Table of Faiths luncheon, Nov 11, 2010, honored Notre Dame de Sion High School with the Table of Faiths Award and Queen Mother Maxie McFarlane with the Steve Jeffers Leadership Award.
     The seventh Table of Faiths luncheon, Nov 10, 2011 honored the Kansas City Public Library with the Table of Faiths Award and Donna Ziegenhorn with the Steve Jeffers Leadership Award.
     The eighth and last Table of Faiths luncheon, Nov 8, 2012, presented the theme of "Spirituality and the Environment: Caring for the Earth, Our Legacy." The Steve Jeffers Leadership Award was given to Mayor Sly James and the Table of Faiths Award went to Unity Church of Overland Park.
     There was no Table of Faiths event in 2013. Beginning in 2014, Table of Faiths events were no longer major downtown civic luncheons involving elected, cultural, and business leaders. With a longer evening format, the first in the new Table of Faiths dinners was held May 8, 2014, at Unity Village. 
 
--CRES ARCHIVES
#CouncilPhoto1989_____________________________________________________________

Vern Barnet founded the Council in 1989 as a program of CRES and is Council Convener Emeritus. The Council newsletter has published his brief notes about three milestones in the early history of the Council.

The Council's ancestry, in brief: the 1893 Chicago Parliament of World Religions; the interfaith gathering in Assisi, Italy, convened by Pope John Paul II, the first such gathering in North America since the 1893 Parliament, the "North American Assisi" held in Wichita, KS (Vern was on the planning committee), and with some from the Kansas City area and others who had been drawn into interfaith relations through CRES, the hosting organization, the members of 12 different faith traditions began their work to honor and learn from one another and encourage the community to celebrate the rich diversity available in the Kansas City area.




 
 
 #ThgvgSunday

TO UPDATE
2024 TBA 2022 November 13 Sunday 5 pm CT
INTERFAITH THANKSGIVING GATHERING
“Promoting Interfaith Peace, Renewal and Regrowth” 

FREE online interfaith gathering -- including interfaith prayers of gratitude.
Hosted by Heartland Chapter of the Alliance of Divine Love 
Co-sponsored by Greater KC Interfaith Council
Livestream on www.facebook.com/HeartLoveKC
bit.ly/3zNcLX2


The annual observance was sponsored by CRES for its first 25 years. 
This year, 2022, is the 376th year of the tradition and we are indeed grateful to the 
sponsors for perpetuating the recognition of the place of gratitude in every faith.




OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

WEDDINGS of all kinds click for information

We can provide a customized ceremony. We regularly work with the great folks at Pilgrim Chapel and are happy to serve at any venue. 

THANKS to Robert and Shye Reynolds, a CRES fund to assist couples with fees for weddings  has been established, to celebrate their marriage June 19, 2002, on the occasion of their thirteenth anniverary.

FORTHCOMING BOOKS 
see also
our publications page

in progress: KC Star, Many Paths columns and fresh essays:
The Three Families of Faith and the Three Crises of Secularism
     Many have asked for a compilation of columns Vern wrote for the KC Star, 1994-2012,  and the essays fatured in Many Paths. Here are tentative chapter headings for the selections:
      ? The Three Families of Faith ? Faith and the Arts  ? Science and Religion  ? Teachers of the Spirit ? Ritual and Worship ? Religion and Public Policy ? Specific Faiths (Buddhism, Islam, etc) ? Comparative topics (reincarnation, gods, water, prophets, etc) ? How the column began and ended
 

OTHER 
PROGRAMS
and SERVICES

If you would
like to engage Vern 
or another member 
of the CRES staff
for a speech,
consultation,
a wedding,
a baptism,
or other work
with your organization 
or personally, 
please visit 
www.cres.org/work/services.htmor email vern@cres.org

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.




#VC

A Vital Conversation Coffee
Vital Conversations
monthly  hybrid  schedule  with
 ZOOM
2nd Wedneday each month 
1-2:30 pm
MidContinent Public Library  Antioch Branch,
6060 N Chestnut Ave, Gladstone, MO
64119 and via Zoom
 (816) 454-1306   --   to receive the active zoom link, email

humanagenda@gmail.com -- or call David at (816) 453-3835
#VCvideo


David answers questions about Vital Conversations
 

A 13-minute YouTube video with Vern
 
What is VC? You initiated it. When and why? Who sponsors it? Give some examples of the range of topics. You have had a number of authors, local and national, participate. name some and talk about why you like to feature them. Who attends and who is welcome to attend? How can people prepare if they wish, even if they don't read the book? Where is VC held? Is there a dress code? What changes did COVID bring about?   What is OWL? When have you done remote locations? How do people find announcements and the material to prepare?


You are welcome even if you have not read the book or seen the movie
A Free Monthly Discussion Group Led by David E Nelson
CRES  senior  associate minister
president, The Human Agenda

“The purpose of a Vital Conversation is not to win an argument,
but to win a friend and advance civilization.”  Vern Barnet

"Listen with curiosity, not judgement.”  David Nelson

Vital Conversations are intentional gatherings of people to engage
in dialog 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’sThe Battle for God

Reading is magic and a mysterious activity that feeds the mind, transports the imagination, sooths the soul, and expands life.  It is most often done in solitude and yet connects us to so many others both near us and far from us.  Many readers enjoy the opportunity to share their reading discoveries and to expand from the sharing of others.  Reading is an important aspect of our common humanness.
David E. Nelson
Vital Conv. Coffee
an open exchange of ideas
with no preset agenda
 4th Monday monthly 8 am
Now on Zoom
311 NE Englewood Road
Kansas City, MO 64118
816-453-2770


2024 Vital Conversations Schedule
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

 
To see last year's fascinating programs, click here.


#vcJan  
2024 January 10 Wednesday 1-2:30 
pm.  David Nelson, humanagenda@gmail.com 
In person at the library and on Zoom ID: 832 3534 6541
ABOUT VITAL CONVERSATIONS: YOUTUBE VIDEO

 
Stringing Rosaries by Denise K. Lajimodiere

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#vcFeb
2024 February 14 Wednesday 1-2:30 
pm.  David Nelson, humanagenda@gmail.com
In person at the library and on Zoom ID: 832 3534 6541
ABOUT VITAL CONVERSATIONS: YOUTUBE VIDEO

Postwar Journeys: American and Vietnamese Transnational Peace Efforts since 1975 by Hany Thi Thu Le-Tormala who will be with us for the conversation


 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#vcMar
2024 March 8 Wednesday 1-2:30 
pm.  David Nelson, humanagenda@gmail.com
In person at the library and on Zoom ID: 832 3534 6541
ABOUT VITAL CONVERSATIONS: YOUTUBE VIDEO

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#vcApr

2024 April 12 Wednesday 1-2:30 pm.  David Nelson, humanagenda@gmail.com
In person at the library and on Zoom ID: 832 3534 6541
ABOUT VITAL CONVERSATIONS -YOUTUBE VIDEO

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#vcMay
2024 May 10 Wednesday 1-2:30
pm.  David Nelson, humanagenda@gmail.com
In person at the library and on Zoom ID: 832 3534 6541
ABOUT VITAL CONVERSATIONS: YOUTUBE VIDEO  

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#vcJun
2024 June 14, Wednesday 1-2:30 
pm. David Nelson, humanagenda@gmail.com
In person at the library and on Zoom ID: 832 3534 6541
ABOUT VITAL CONVERSATIONS: YOUTUBE VIDEO

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#vcJul
2024 July 12, 2023, Wednesday 1-2:30 pm.  David Nelson, humanagenda@gmail.com
In person at the library and on Zoom ID: 832 3534 6541 Passcode: 076621
ABOUT VITAL CONVERSATIONS: YOUTUBE VIDEO

    Uni

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#vcAug
2024 August 9 Wednesday 1-2:30 pmDavid Nelson, humanagenda@gmail.com
In person at the library and on Zoom ID: 832 3534 6541
ABOUT VITAL CONVERSATIONS: YOUTUBE VIDEO

Wire 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#vcSep
2024 September 13 Wednesday 1-2:30 pmDavid Nelson, humanagenda@gmail.com
In person at the library and on Zoom ID: 832 3534 6541
ABOUT VITAL CONVERSATIONS: YOUTUBE VIDEO

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#vcOct
2024 October 11 Wednesday 1-2:30 pmDavid Nelson, humanagenda@gmail.com
In person at the library and on Zoom ID: 832 3534 6541
ABOUT VITAL CONVERSATIONS: YOUTUBE VIDEO

Fre


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#vcNov
2024 November 8 Wednesday 1-2:30 pmDavid Nelson, humanagenda@gmail.com
In person at the library and on Zoom ID: 832 3534 6541
ABOUT VITAL CONVERSATIONS: YOUTUBE VIDEO

From

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

vc#Dec
2024 December 13 Wednesday 1-2:30 pmDavid Nelson, humanagenda@gmail.com
In person at the library and on Zoom ID: 832 3534 6541
ABOUT VITAL CONVERSATIONS: YOUTUBE VIDEO

Selections are subject to change.  For Zoom link and additional information,
contact David Nelson -- humanagenda@gmail.com or (816) 453-3835.


Click here for 2025 Vital Conversations.

200x 133wi




 

     
     






 
“ — ” ‘—’ 24
“ — ” ‘—’ 18
“ — ” ‘—’ 14
‘—’ 12
‘—’ 10
  https://cres.org/programs2023.htm#Sonnet84
While I have sought substantial familiarity with the world's faiths, I have also pursued immersion in one.