“Conversations” are an informal study and discussion program of the Abrahamic faith traditions. It invites Christians, Jews and Muslims, as well as those of other or non-faith traditions, to meet and learn about one another’s beliefs. This exchange offers opportunities to forge friendships with one another as well as cooperation that can benefit the larger community.
These discussions expand the conversations beyond the halls of academe and the centers of organized religion into the community. Local public libraries offer a neutral venue for the Conversations and non-clergy facilitators are recruited and trained to lead the discussions. A Study Guide is provided to the participants at no cost. College professors as well as clergy served as resources, extending the knowledge beyond the Study Guide and answering the many questions participants have asked.
“Conversations” were initially held at the Chautauqua Institution of New York and are now offered at libraries in the Cleveland area, in Chicago and in New Orleans. It is intended that the Conversations will eventually be offered in communities throughout the nation
While the Conversations have already demonstrated their ability to help many overcome their ignorance and fear of members of other faith traditions, they are only intended to be an introduction. Participants are encouraged to continue their studies, to develop friendships with the others in the group and to work together in their communities to help build understanding and cooperation.
THE CONVERSATIONS ARE A COOPERATIVE ENTERPRISE
Organizations of the Abrahamic faith traditions offer:
Outreach to their members
Recruitment of persons willing to serve on the local committee for the Conversations
Recommendations for facilitators and resource persons.
Local libraries provide:
Space with tables and chairs for 15-20 participants at evening meetings over a five week period
Registration of those who wish to participate
Providing the Study Guides, furnished by Communities in Conversation.
Publicity as done for other events at the library.
Books and other materials participants may borrow to further their understanding.
Communities in Conversation provides:
Knowledgeable resource persons to answer questions for each of the traditions
Study Guide written by scholars
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Please contact our director, Emilie Barnett