2023 March – April, A Holy Month of Holy Days

Our panel of 3 faith leaders spoke about Ramadan, Passover, and Easter, at Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral, in Lexington.

The panelists are The Very Reverend Carol Wade, the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral; Dr. Shaheed Coovadia, the Imam of Masjid Bilal; and Dr. Raphael Finkel, teacher and prayer leader at Ohavay Zion Synagogue. The moderator is Addison Hosea, Chair of the Steering Committee for CMD.

The video is available at https://youtu.be/Un9XZQfVy_E

2023 January – A Call to Peace-Building

Our 2 speakers told us about PeaceCatalyst.org, and shared information about the organization’s efforts toward creating community and improving interfaith communication. They spoke enthusiastically about “peace feasts.”

Mr. Martin Brooks is president of PeaceCatalyst. Martin has been with Peace Catalyst since 2011 when he and his wife Susan returned from Turkish Cyprus. Drawing on the teachings and examples of Jesus, Martin has worked with local churches and mosques to create safe spaces to ask questions and build greater trust between Christians and Muslims. He has organized dialogue events, iftar meals and “Peace Feasts” with Palestinians, Syrians, Turks, Pakistanis, Somalis, Kurds, and Iranians.

The Rev. Dr. Lisa Culpepper. Originally from South Carolina, Lisa lives with her husband in Lexington, Kentucky, and serves as the minister at Mt. Horeb Presbyterian Church on Iron Works Pike. She has been involved cross-culturally for many years through her travels to Eastern Europe, Syria, and Lebanon. Lisa felt called to peacemaking among Muslims and Christians through personal relationships, education, and community involvement.

YouTube video is found here, https://youtu.be/zmz3-P0V-Rg

October 2022 – Changes to Kentucky Voting Laws

The Christian Muslim Dialogue of Lexington (http://cmdlex.org) hosted a program about changes to the Kentucky Voting laws for the upcoming voting cycle on November 8 2022.

Don Blevins, Fayette County Clerk in Lexington Kentucky, spoke about changes in the Kentucky voting laws. He encouraged voters to preview the ballot at https://FayetteCountyClerk.com. He also spoke about how to vote early, and answered questions, including those about electioneering, gerrymandering, and how precinct boundaries are determined.

Dr. Jennifer Jackson, co-president of the Kentucky League of Women Voters (https://lwvlexington.com and https://www.vote411.org/kentucky), spoke about the League’s history and mission and that its name is a “nod to the past”, and is now oriented toward providing accurate information to all voters. LexTran public transportation is providing free transportation on Nov 8

Jennifer walked through the download and use of the app OutreachCircle, designed to provide accurate voting information, and to encourage friends to vote. She answered questions, including those about election deniers, Voter ID laws, and about the League.
Click here for Google Play
Click here for the Apple Store


April 2022: B.U.I.L.D. – Build a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct Action

Matt Huffman, the Organizer and Executive Director for the Lexington chapter of B.U.I.L.D., spoke about how residents can influence social justice issues in the Lexington area. You’ll find B.U.I.L.D. on the web at https://www.facebook.com/BUILDlex. B.U.I.L.D is a community group that selects important issues in the community and works to keep attention on these issues.


March 2022: Afghan Resettlement in Kentucky – How Four Kentucky Organizations Are Helping New Arrivals

Representatives of four local Kentucky organizations spoke about their efforts to assist Afghan refugees as they move to Kentucky.

Nadia Rasheed, M.D., is a human rights activist and community leader. She has served on the executive committee of Masjid Bilal, the Mayors International Affairs Advisory commission, and on the Advisory board of KRM Kentucky refugee ministries. She is a member of the Steering Committee of Christian Muslim Dialogue.

Mary Cobb is Director of Kentucky Refugee Ministries, a role she began in 2016. KRM is central KY’s only refugee resettlement agency, but also offers a variety of services to a range of other vulnerable immigrants.

Dominique Olbert is the President of the Community Response Coalition of Kentucky (CRCKY), a nonprofit program that helps immigrants negatively impacted by immigration issues.

Marilyn S. Daniel, an attorney in the Lexington area for 45 years, has served on the Mayor’s Immigration Commission (LFUCG-2007) and the Mayor’s International Affairs Advisory Commission (2015-present).

A recording of the Zoom program can be found here: https://youtu.be/rXJzAxGdgaI

February 2022: Braver Angels – A Path to Depolarization

Drs. Gary and Sharon Stewart spoke by way of Zoom about Braver Angels and its mission in the US and local efforts of the Kentucky chapters. “Braver Angels is a national grassroots organization that provides participants with these skills through structured workshops, podcasts, debates, skills training, one to one conversations, and film and book discussions. The focus is on divisive political, racial, family, and other contemporary issues (e.g., immigration, abortion, racism)”

A recording of this event can be found at Youtube: https://youtu.be/d_M4emA0m3A

January 2022: A Spiritual Response to Religious Extremism: How Religion and Race Have Shaped U.S. Public Education

From desegregation to the school-to-prison pipeline to critical race theory, race has defined twentieth- and twenty-first-century public education. In this talk, Dr. Leslie Ribovich, Assistant Professor of Religion at Transylvania University, spoke about her research on mid-twentieth-century New York City and contemporary conversations to show how religion has, too.

October 2021: A Spiritual Response to Extremism

Dr. Ihsan Bagby, associate professor in the department of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky, and Dr. Mark Johnson, the Senior Pastor at Central Baptist Church, spoke about how extremist political and religious views, and recent political fractures, affect specific congregations and how pastors and imams navigate those turbulent waters.

August 2021 – Exploring Extremism in Kentucky and Beyond

Presenters were: Andrew Boone, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Kentucky where he also serves as the Anti-Terrorism Coordinator.
Michael Brown, Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Hydee R. Hawkins, Civil Rights Coordinator in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Kentucky.

April 2021: A Pentecostal pastor looks at interfaith dialogue

Paul Prather is probably best-known in Central Kentucky as a contributing columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he currently writes about faith and values, and previously served as a staff writer for nine years in the 1980s and 1990s. Mr. Prather is also the pastor of a rural, charismatic/Pentecostal congregation in Montgomery County. He’s been a part-time or full-time minister for more than 40 years.

Here is a link to his article about his experience talking to us, posted April 29, 2021. It is behind a pay wall. https://www.kentucky.com/article250999354.html

February 2021: Ecological Grief and Divine Reason; and, Living out our Faith

Dr. Bella Mukonyora from WKU spoke on “Ecological Grief and Divine Reason.” Modern humanity has a disruptive relationship with our planet and the environment. Dr. Mukonyora spoke about ecological grief, a human response to the loss caused by environmental destruction or climate change.
The Rev Carol Devine spoke on “Living out our Faith.” and provided guidance and resources on how our houses and communities of worship can move toward carbon neutrality.

February 2020: Why Be An Interfaith Activist

Dr. Jamil Farooqui spoke about grass roots level promotion of free speech, religious harmony and tolerance. He currently serves as the Medical Director of the SHARE Center Free Charity Clinic, Board of Trustees of Bilal Mosque, Board of the Islamic Society of Central Kentucky, Board of CAIR, KY Chapter and Board of Directors of Lexington Universal Academy [Islamic School]. He is also an active member of Bluegrass Interfaith and United Interfaith Encounter groups.

October 2019: Embracing Christian-Muslim Dialogue

A panel of ordained and lay Christians from several different Christian denominations shared how they became involved in interfaith dialogue with their Muslim friends and neighbors, how they remain active in Christian-Muslim dialogue and events, and how it has enriched their own lives and broadened their understanding of what it means to be a faithful person.

The Reverend Carol Ruthven moderated a panel, consisting of Mark Sloss, Pastor at Faith Lutheran Church; Kory Wilcoxson, Senior Minister at Crestwood Christian Church; Alan Fryar, professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences; Nancy Jo Kemper, past Executive Director of the Kentucky Council of Churches ; and Jim Smith, DVM, retired from Hagyard Equine Medical Institute.

August 2019: The Covenants Initiative

Charles Upton presented on The Covenants Initiative—now the Covenants of the Prophet Foundation— which is a Muslim interfaith peace movement that, since its debut in 2013 at the Bilal Mosque in Lexington, Kentucky, has become international in scope. It’s based on the ground-breaking book The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World by Dr. John Andrew Morrow.

April 2019: Bureaucritizing Islam: Morocco and the War on Terror

Dr. Ann Wainscott, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Miami (Ohio) University spoke about her book "Bureaucritizing Islam: Morocco and the War on Terror." Morocco has a unique approach to combating terrorism by reforming religious institutions to reward loyalty and discourage dissent by religious elites.

March 2019: Andalusia

Dr. Oliver Leaman, professor of philosophy at UK, spoke about Andalusia – Christian, Jews and Muslims in the medieval Iberian peninsula. The long period when three different religious communities lived in what is today Spain and Portugal has been described very differently by historians.

February 2019: Amnesty International

Tony Goodwin, Kentucky Field Organizer for Amnesty International USA, introduced the audience to Amnesty International USA, human rights, and grassroots advocacy. One of the current human rights crises AI is highlighting is concerning the surveillance and mass detention of the Uighur Muslims in China.

January 2019: Prison Ministry

The Rev. Dean Bucalos, Executive Director of Mission Behind Bars and Beyond (MB3,) spoke about Prison Ministry, and how faith communities can prepare and welcome those who have been imprisoned make a successful reentry into society.

October 2018: The Crisis in Burma

Rabbi David Wirtschafter presented on the Crisis in Burma. The UN considers actions taken by the Myanmar security forces to be genocide and ethnic cleansing. Rabbi Wirtschafter spoke on parallels to Jewish history and what actions concerned people can take.

September 2018: Jesus in the Koran

Dr. Aiuyub Palmer, Professor of Islam and Arabic Studies at the University of Kentucky, and Dr. Matthew Pierce, Assistant Professor of Religion at Centre College, presented on Jesus in the Koran.

January 2018: Native American Spirituality

Janet Quigg, Dave Little, and Anne Wood spoke about native American spirituality. All 3 are involved with organizations that advocate for native Americans – Janet organizes the annual Pow Wowprogram in Richmond, KY, Dave is a speaker and lives in southern Ohio, and Anne serves as a representative of the Native American Community to the Kentucky Council of Churches

October 2017: The First Amendment

Jeremy Rogers, from the Louisville office of Dinsmore and Shohl, is a 1st amendment attorney. with experience representing media, churches, and religious groups. He shared stories, insights, and lessons learned from his First Amendment practice.

August 2017: Separation of Church and State

Siddique Malik, president of Americans United Louisville Chapter and columnist for the Louisville Courier Journal, and Doug Culp, Secretary for Pastoral Life & Bishop’s Delegate for Administration, spoke about the historic and ongoing tensions in the "Separation of Church and State."

April 2017: Welcoming the Stranger

The Right Reverend John Stowe, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, spoke about "Welcoming the Stranger." . Exodus 22:21 – "Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt."

March 2017. A Trialogue of Faith

Moshe Smolkin, Rabbi of Ohavay Zion Synangogue, Dr. Aiyub Palmer Professor of Islamic Studies at UK, and Bruce Caldwell, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington answered questions posed by the moderator. Our special location for this event was Ohavay Zion Synagogue.

January 2017: Supporting the Rights of Immigrants and Refugees

Panelists: Isabel Taylor, Multicultural Affairs Coordinator for Lexington Fayette Govt; the Rev. Kenneth Golphin, Pastor, Quinn Chapel AME Church; and Dr. Nadia Rasheed, member of CMD Steering Committee and civic activist. They spoke on understanding their human and civil rights and be able to advocate on their behalf for the protection of those rights.

October 2016: A Dialogue of Faith

Panelists Dr. Aiyub Palmer, Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky, and The Right Reverend Bruce Caldwell, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, answered the same questions posed by the moderator. These included whether we worship the same God; if one can be faithful to Jesus or Mohammed and still be accepting of other faiths, and more.