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Rumi Forum launches 3R Series

Restoration, Reconciliation, Resiliency

COVID came along and dominated our lives almost two years ago at a time when we were already battered by interracial tensions and divisive political rhetoric. The isolation that the pandemic forced us into has affected the psyche of all, and COVID-related economic difficulties made the lives of many rather difficult. In the middle of these historic moments, we had a contentious election that peaked with an attack on the Congress, the symbol of our nation. 

It appears that we are in dire need of restoring our trust in our political system, in our government and agencies, in our civil society, and more importantly in each other. Our goal with the 3R Series is to inspire a vision of Restoration through Reconciliation and to remind ourselves of the Resiliency Americans have demonstrated again and again in difficult times throughout our history. We hope this effort will inspire hope, instill an urgency, and drive people to act to bridge the divides in our society so that we can heal and be whole once again.

About the book, “How to Heal our Divides”

If we didn’t recognize them already, 2020 put a spotlight on several serious, deep divides that have had strong negative impacts on our society – racial, political, religious, and other divides. Much has been written describing these divides and how they came about or encouraging us to look deeply inside ourselves to discover our own flaws.  All good things! But there has been a lack of attention regarding what to do about it. “How to Heal Our Divides” is a project aimed at building awareness of organizations that are taking real action to address these issues. The project is not an attempt to gloss over serious problems or “make happy” but instead to highlight tangible efforts that are solving problems – actually healing divides in effective and practical ways.  

Perhaps you are tempted to just write off “the other side” and lambast them for all the terrible things they’ve done. But is that really in the best interest of our country and our culture? Shouldn’t we instead try to listen and learn and actually talk to each other? Are there at least some things we can work on together, even if we don’t agree on everything? (How many people have you met with whom you agree on absolutely everything?) Granted, some will never listen. But some will. We owe it to our children to try to make things better.

Moderator

Allison RalphAllison K. Ralph, Ph.D., is the Associate Director of the Inclusive America Project at the Aspen Institute. Prior to joining the Inclusive America Project as Assistant Director in 2019, she served the Project as consultant and advisor for two years, including as editor of Pluralism in Peril: Challenges to an American Ideal. She began her career in the non-profit sector at the El-Hibri Foundation after earning her doctorate in Church History from The Catholic University of America in 2015. She also holds a B.A. in History from the University of North Florida and an M.Phil. in Church History from the University of Cambridge. At heart, she is still the blue-collar farm girl and custom picture framer she was raised as at the family home and business.

 

Panelists

Martin BrooksMartin Brooks is the President of Peace Catalyst International. He has been with Peace Catalyst International 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. A gifted collaborator, he works with city officials, refugee agencies, local clergy, and interfaith groups to seek the peace of the city and mutual thriving for all.

 

Jeff-BurnsJeff Burns is a peace and human rights, activist.  He has been active in building bridges of reconciliation,  peacemaking, and friendship between Muslims and Christians in the U.S. and overseas for the last ten years. Jeff served as the East Coast Regional Director for Peace Catalyst International for four years. PCI focuses on reconciliation and peacemaking in the way of Jesus. Before his calling as a peacemaker Jeff served as a senior pastor for 18 years. He went on to become a part of the house church movement in the U.S.  As a leader in the house church movement; Jeff served as an elder in the Sojourners Simple Church Network in Raleigh, NC for nine years where he started an intentional community that focused on peacemaking with the local Muslim community.

 

Rich TafelRev. Richard L. Tafel serves as the minister at the Church of the Holy City. With an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and a graduate degree in Theology from Harvard University, Tafel is ordained and his first job was as Assistant Minister of Harvard University’s Memorial Church. With his knowledge of politics and vision for social change, he launched his first company that helped nonprofits engage in public policy. He worked domestically with College Summit on access for low-income students to college. In addition, he created the global strategy for the AIDS Responsibility Project that helped facilitate the delivery of AIDS drugs to Africa. In addition, they worked with Brazil, Mexico, and Jamaica on ending HIV/AIDS discrimination.

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