The City Sentinel

Group hopes new approach to annual dinner will foster greater interfaith outreach

Darla Shelden Story by on September 21, 2018 . Click on author name to view all articles by this author. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – According to Oklahoma City’s Rabbi Abby Jacobson, the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma is trying something different for their 2018 annual dinner. 

The Interfaith Alliance was founded to celebrate and protect religious diversity. In line with that objective, the group will now meet at different houses of worship for each year’s annual dinner.

This year, the Interfaith Alliance Annual Meeting, Dinner and Awards Presentation will be held on Thursday September 27, at 6 p.m. at the Emanuel Synagogue, 900 NW 47th Street in Oklahoma City, where Jacobson is the spiritual leader.

Check in will begin at 6 p.m. with a buffet dinner and program to follow.

The evening will include the introduction of the organization’s 2018 officers and board members.

Rabbi Jacobson, President of Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, hopes this plan will foster even greater interfaith communication.

“The Interfaith Alliance is excited to change the format of our Annual Meeting and fundraising dinner,” Jacobson said. “We will hold each year’s annual meeting at a different house of worship to share in the celebration of a different autumn holiday.

“When people join us for the dinner this year, they will share in the Jewish festival of Sukkot, often called the Feast of Booths. The menu will be traditional for the holiday, and the event will be enjoyed outside in the sukkah.”

A non-partisan, clergy-led grassroots organization, the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma’s mission is to promote the positive, healing role of faith in civic life and to challenge intolerance and extremism.

“We are honored to have Dr. Len Swidler, whose keynote address is entitled ‘Dialogue:  The Latest Mark of Modernity’.”

Founder and president of the Dialogue Institute, Dr. Swidler is currently the Professor of Catholic Thought and Interreligious Dialogue at Temple University in Philadelphia. Through his work with the Dialogue Institute, he and his late wife have fostered relationships across cultures and religions all over the world.

At Temple and as a visiting professor at many universities around the world, Swidler has mentored a generation of U.S. and international scholars in the work of interreligious dialogue. He has proposed a ‘Universal Declaration of a Global Ethic,’ based on various religious and ethical communities, ethnic groups, and geographical religions, encouraging work and discussion in drafting their own versions of a global ethic.

“At the event, we will honor Craig Knutson and Julie Knutson with the Harley Venters Humanitarian Award, and Bryon Dickens of OCCC’s Students Connecting with Mentors for Success with the Interfaith Alliance Community Service Award,” Jacobson added.

Norman residents, Craig Knutson is president of Growing Global LLC, and chair of Oklahoma City Center for Nonprofits and Julie serves as President and CEO of the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals (The Oklahoma Academy).

OCCC’s Students Connecting with Mentors for Success program locates mentors for potentially at-risk students, to improve the rate of degree completion.

Local Interfaith alliances are active in 38 states with over 150,000 members from more than 50 religious traditions. With a national network of religious leaders, the Interfaith Alliance works to “encourage compassion, civility and mutual respect for human dignity in an ever increasing diverse society.”

Individual dinner tickets are $50 per person. Gold table sponsorships including a table of eight are available for $500, and Silver sponsorships cost $250 for a half-table for four. To sponsor a full or half-table, email tiaokc@gmail.com.  To register, or for more information, visit tiaok.org.

Dr. Leonard Swidler, founder and president of the Dialogue Institute will be keynote speaker for the 2018 Interfaith Alliance Dinner on Sept. 27.  Photo provided.

Dr. Leonard Swidler, founder and president of the Dialogue Institute will be keynote speaker for the 2018 Interfaith Alliance Dinner on Sept. 27. Photo provided.

Craig and Julie Knutson will receive the Interfaith Alliance 2018 Harley Venters Humanitarian Award on Sept. 27.  Photos provided.

Craig and Julie Knutson will receive the Interfaith Alliance 2018 Harley Venters Humanitarian Award on Sept. 27. Photos provided.

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