Loras College to host first Interfaith Leadership Conference Feb. 20

Loras College will host the first River Crossing: Storytelling and Interfaith Leadership Conference 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Alumni Campus Center on campus, thanks in part to a $2,200 grant from the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based nonprofit. Loras was one of four colleges in the nation to receive a grant.

River Crossing will feature storytelling workshops and a panel discussion on transformative interfaith dialogue led by community members, religious leaders and area students. The goal is to have students find their voice in interfaith storytelling and grow interfaith activity in their schools and communities.

“It’s entering a conversation starting with a person’s personal experience instead of debating about facts about a religious tradition,” said Anastacia McDermott (’03) one of the organizers of the event and coordinator of the Father Ray Herman Peace and Justice Center at Loras College. “They get to know the human beings behind the philosophies.”

The conference, with help from the Children of Abraham and Loras’ Better Together student organization, will also offer networking activities and a service project.

The Children of Abraham is an interfaith group that consists of community members along with faculty from Loras College, Clarke University, Wartburg Seminary, Emmaus Bible College and the University of Dubuque. Its mission is to create an atmosphere of religious solidarity, cooperation and friendship by sponsoring initiatives such as monthly conversations on topics like science and religion. Typically 70 to 200 people of varying ages attend.

In 2014, the Corporation for National and Community Service honored Loras College with the first Presidential Award for Interfaith Service because of its leadership through initiatives like Children of Abraham.

Better Together is a student organization on the Loras College campus working to voice religious and non-religious values, experiences and identities, engage others across lines of religious difference in meaningful conversation and make a positive impact on campus and in the community.

For more information on the River Crossing Interfaith Leadership Conference, call McDermott at 563.588.7056, email her at anastacia.mcdermott@loras.edu or register at myweb.loras.edu/Loras/website/InterfaithConference.html.

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