Registration is open for the Interfaith Peace Conference at Lake Junaluska, which will bring Christians, Jews, Muslims and members of other religious traditions together Thursday, Nov. 21, to Sunday, Nov. 24, to explore “The Arts of Peace: Imagining the Way.”
Participants will reflect on how various art forms lead people to new ways of imagining the peace promised within their deepest religious visions. The event will feature artists, interpreters, workshops, worship, films and arts-related activities such as music, drama, textile art, dance and other art presentations.
In addition, guest performances will include a sema or whirling ceremony, the Mars Hill University Gospel Choir and “Women and War,” a reader’s theater play by Jack Hilton Cunningham.
“We could not be more excited about the speakers, artists, musical performers and display of visual arts in relationship to this theme,” said George Thompson, chairman of the Interfaith Peace Conference Committee. “These participants represent an amazing diversity in faith and cultural backgrounds.”
The guest presenters include:
• Mariela Shaker, Syrian violinist, motivational speaker and award-winning advocate for refugees. Shaker survived the war in her homeland after receiving a full-tuition scholarship to attend Monmouth College. She has performed for audiences around the world. Her goal is to use her music to build bridges, promote peace and raise awareness for the plights of the Syrian people.•
• Laurie Wohl, fiber artist and lecturer who is internationally known for her unique Unweavings, liturgical projects and interfaith messages. Her interfaith project, “Birds of Longing: Exile and Memory,” relates poetry and spiritual texts from the Spanish medieval period of the Convivencia to contemporary Middle Eastern poetry in the context of her Unweavings fiber art pieces. She has exhibited her work around the world.
• Jonathan Homrighausen, Biblical scholar and doctoral student in Old Testament at Duke University and author of “Illuminating Justice: The Ethical Imagination of The Saint John’s Bible.” He earned his master’s degree in Biblical Studies at the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley), where he spent a good deal of time studying Judaism and Islam. Inspired by “The Saint John’s Bible,” he is also an amateur calligrapher.• I
• Ilyas Kashani, a “hakim” or practitioner of Traditional Islamic Healing and Medicine who has studied traditional and modern holistic therapies since 1990. He has a master’s degree in acupuncture from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute and certification in Chinese herbology from the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture. In 2000, he founded the Circle of One, a nonprofit Center of Traditional Medicine that serves people in need.
The conference also will display two volumes of the Heritage Edition of “The Saint John’s Bible,” on loan from Carson Newman University.
The 2019 Interfaith Peace Conference, a capstone event, is an ongoing response to God’s call to peacemaking and reconciliation. Organizers seek to highlight the way Abrahamic traditions have written, embellished and illuminated their Scriptures to draw readers and worshippers into their deeper and more expansive meanings.
Affirming the community of Abrahamic faiths, the conference brings together people with diverse religious traditions to find new ways of imagining the peace promised within their deepest religious visions.
Registration for the conference is open to the public and available at www.lakejunaluska.com/peace. Lodging and meal packages are available for those wishing to stay at Lake Junaluska, and there are special discounted rates for students. For more information about the Interfaith Peace Conference, call 800-222-4930 or visit www.lakejunaluska.com/peace.
Lake Junaluska is a conference and retreat center and residential community that surround a 200-acre mountain lake in Western North Carolina. Lake Junaluska’s mission is to be a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For information, visit www.lakejunaluska.com.