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Interfaith Peace Conference to tackle the issue of polarization

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C.—All are invited to join an interfaith dialogue about polarization and peace during the Interfaith Peace Conference March 1-4, 2018, at Lake Junaluska.

The conference theme is “Meeting the Other: Can We Talk?” It will address how to communicate with civility and respect while upholding core values and religious traditions.

George Thompson, chair of the Interfaith Peace Conference Committee, said the topic was an intuitive choice given the current social and political climate in the United States.

“Instead of engaging in civil dialogue that inspires an atmosphere for peacemaking, people with conflicting opinions refrain from talking with those with whom they are likely to disagree,” Thompson said. “This leads to greater isolation, anger and potential violence.”

The conference will bring together representatives from the three Abrahamic faiths—Christianity, Judaism and Islam—to promote peace. This year’s keynote speakers will reflect on what each of their faith traditions has to say about peace, especially in regards to polarizing beliefs.

“The theme of this conference could not interest me more. Every day, conversations across differences fill our newsfeed, and they continue to become more fraught,” said Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, one of the keynote speakers. “None of us can manage these difficult times alone, and the theme seems to carry a message of hope. All of our traditions are rich in practices that we can share with one another, so we need each other more than ever.”

Other keynote speakers include newly elected President of the North Carolina NAACP Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, and Associate Professor and Kenan Rifai Scholar of Islamic Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill Juliane Hammer.

The conference will include plenary sessions, workshops, worship and a concert by Abraham Jam, a trio of interfaith musicians who have maintained a message of peace since their formation in 2010.

For more information about the Interfaith Peace Conference: www.lakejunaluska.com/peace.

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