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Campus Community Interfaith Exploration

Cultivating Hope in Anxious Times, October 31 - November 10, 2019

Cultivating Hope in Anxious Times is the inaugural program of the Champaign Urbana (CU) Campus Community Interfaith Exploration, a collaborative effort that builds bridges across local faith communities, the University of Illinois, community groups, campus religious and student life associations, faculty, staff, and administrators. This series begins Thursday, October 31st and culminates with a weekend of events November 7th - 10th, 2019. Guests include Dr. Eboo Patel, author, speaker, educator, and interfaith leader, Ted & Company TheatreWorks, and a number of religious scholars, faith, and community leaders.

Click this link to register to attend Cultivating Hope in Anxious Times. Registration is not required, but allows organizers to provide attendees with up-to-date information on the programs. If you require accommodations to participate in these events, please note it in your registration or e-mail

The full schedule includes:

Thursday, October 31st
Lecture: “Once Upon a Time in Kathmandu: How Hinduism Made Me a Better Catholic"
4pm (Room 1090 Lincoln Hall, 702 S. Wright St., Urbana)
Francis X. Clooney, Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard University, scholar of Hinduism and Hindu-Christian Studies

Thursday, November 7th
Acts of Faith Book Discussion with Eboo Patel
12-2pm (University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., Champaign)

Keynote Address by Eboo Patel, University of Illinois alumnus and founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core.
6-8pm (Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 South Lincoln Street, Urbana )
Reception will follow the talk. 

Friday, November 8th 
"From Missionary ‘Focus’ to Neighborly ‘Commitment’: Chicago Lutheran Stories in Christian–Muslim Relations"
Time 3:30pm
Location: St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church and Campus Center, 909 S Wright St, Champaign

Dr. Mark Swanson, Harold S. Vogelaar Professor of Christian-Muslim Studies and Interfaith Relations, Associate Director of Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
The lecture tells several different but convergent stories: that of the evolution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s approach to Christian–Muslim relations, from the Global Mission Unit’s “Focus on Islam” in 1988 to the Church’s Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment in summer 2019; the story of developing Christian–Muslim relations in the city of Chicago, especially from the vantage point of the Lutheran Seminary of Theology at Chicago, and the story of Professor Swanson’s own scholarly work at a meeting point between academics and missiology.

Beyond Tolerance Panel Part 1: Dinner and Panel Presentation
5:15pm (Central Illinois Mosque and Islamic Center, 106 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana)
Panelists from Lutheran (Dr. Mark Swanson), Muslim (Dr. Marcia Hermansen), Jewish (Dr. Jennifer Grayson), and Mennonite (Dr. Safwat Marzouk) institutions
This panel will focus on moving past tolerance of diversity towards mutual respect and affection for the people, practices, and convictions of faith traditions different from our own. Following the panel, Sinai Temple will conduct its Friday evening Shabbat worship at CIMIC, starting at approximately 7:30 PM. All who are interested are invited to join.

Saturday, November 9th
Beyond Tolerance Part 2: Lunch and Panel of Local Faith Leaders
12:45pm (Sinai Temple, 3104 W. Windsor, Champaign)
This panel will focus on moving past tolerance of diversity towards mutual respect and affection for the people, practices, and convictions of faith traditions different from our own.

Sunday, November 10th
"I'd Like to Buy an Enemy 2.0: The Fear Version" Performance by Ted & Company TheaterWorks
3pm (Lincoln Hall Theater, 702 S. Wright St., Urbana)
A comedy exploring how fear and "othering" give rise to Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism. 

The Campus/Community Interfaith Steering Committee is a group of people of varied religious perspectives who have come together to strengthen our community by building relationships, deepening understanding, discovering common ground,  and promoting collaboration on the significant issues of our time, while also appreciating the differences among us.

Lead partners include: Interfaith Alliance of Champaign County, University YMCA, First Mennonite Church, Sinai Temple, Central Illinois Mosque and Islamic Center, Hillel Foundation, Muslim Student Association, Illinois Interfaith in Action, and these units at the University of Illinois: the Department of Religion, the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, and Diversity & Social Justice Education. This program is paid for in part by the Campus Innovation Grant from the Interfaith Youth Core and the University of Illinois Student Cultural Programming Fee.