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Beyond Coexistence: Interfaith activities are planned in Oklahoma City metro area

Oklahoma City metro-area leaders of different faith traditions plan interfaith activities in the coming months as part of the new “Beyond Coexistence” initiative.
by Carla Hinton Published: August 17, 2013

Several study groups are meeting in the metro area to read Eboo Patel's “Acts of Faith” together before the author's visit to Oklahoma City in October.

Rita Newton, retired executive director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches, said Patel's most recent book, “Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice and the Promise of America,” also is drawing local readers.

Mark Davies, dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma City University, said several events will be held at OCU in addition to Patel's presentation. They include the Pinwheels for Peace Festival and an International Day of Peace chapel service.

Another tie-in to the “Beyond Coexistence” initiative is the Oklahoma Humanities Council's “Let's Talk About It: Muslim Journey” reading and discussion series, at two sites around the state.

Sarbjit “Sabi” Singh, Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma president and a leader with the Sikh Gurdwara of Oklahoma, said several interfaith forums also are being planned to discuss common concerns among people of different faiths, such as health equity.

Vered Harris, rabbi of Temple B'nai Israel, said presentations by three people representing different faith traditions will be held during midweek evening sessions hosted by the temple, the Grand Mosque and the Raindrop Turkish House between mid-October and mid-November. She said the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service in Oklahoma City will focus on the theme “Thanksgiving and Service” and will kick off a joint project between the Respect Diversity Foundation and youths from Mercy School, the Islamic private school in northwest Oklahoma City, along with young people from Temple B'nai and Emanuel Synagogue.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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Ongoing activities

Study groups

Study groups focusing on author Eboo Patel's book “Acts of Faith” are being organized across Oklahoma so that people may have the opportunity to discuss Patel's ideas about interfaith relationships. One study group began in July in Edmond. Another group will meet on Tuesdays in September at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Shawnee. For more information about study groups, contact Rita Newton at or go to the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma website at

“Let's Talk About It: Muslim Journey” reading and discussion series, sponsored by the Oklahoma Humanities Council through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association, will be offered at two venues around the state. The five-part series will focus on several books, including Patel's “Acts of Faith”; “Prince Among Slaves” by Terry Alford; “The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States” compiled by Edward E. Curtis IV; “The Butterfly Mosque” by G. Willow Wilson; and “A Quiet Revolution” by Leila Ahmed.

In Oklahoma City: Charles Kimball, Ph.D., author of “When Religion Becomes Evil,” presidential professor and director of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma, will lead the program set for 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 10, Oct. 1 and 22, Nov. 12 and Dec. 1 at the Institute of Interfaith Dialog/Raindrop Turkish House, 4444 N Classen.

In Muskogee: Najwa Raouda, Ph.D., with Oklahoma State University, will lead discussions set for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, Oct. 3 and 24 and Nov. 14 at Connors State College-Muskogee.

More information

For more information, go to

Other activities


17 — Interfaith Day of Service, women's transitional housing center, Oklahoma City metro area.


11: Casady School's “12 Days of Peace” begins.

18: Interfaith Days of Prayer for Rain, 6 to 7 p.m. at St. Paul's Cathedral, 127 NW 7. Information: Whole Creation Community ministry at St. Paul's Cathedral,

19: Chapel worship service with International Day of Peace theme, 1 p.m., Oklahoma City University's W. Angie Smith Chapel, 2501 N Blackwelder.

20: Pinwheels for Peace Festival in conjunction with International Day of Peace, 4 to 6 p.m., on the OCU campus, 2501 N Blackwelder. Information: Respect Diversity Foundation, 359-0369.

22: Oklahoma Conference of Churches' annual Interfaith Youth Tour, 1 to 5:15 p.m. Temple B'nai Israel, Sikh Gurdwara of Oklahoma and Frontline Church will be part of the tour. Transportation available by charter bus. To register, call 525-2928 or go to


17: Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma annual meeting, 6 p.m., Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive.

23: Oklahoma City University's Distinguished Speakers Series featuring author Eboo Patel, 7:30 p.m., OCU's Freede Center, NW 27, between Indiana and Florida avenues. The free presentation is entitled “Sacred Ground: There Is No Better Time to Stand Up for Your Values Than When They Are Under Attack.”


14: Amazing Faiths interfaith dinner-dialogue at homes throughout the metro area. Information:

26: Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, 7 p.m., location to be announced.


19: Martin Luther King holiday Cross Cultural Program, Temple B'nai Israel, 4901 N Pennsylvania. Information: 848-0965.

20: Martin Luther King holiday, Interfaith Day of Service.


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