52nd Annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner
The 52nd Annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities in South Hampton Roads was held on April 7.
The event honored four individuals and two organizations that have made significant humanitarian contributions to the community. The Jeffrey B. Spence Award for Interfaith Understanding was presented to “Voices of Faith” and was accepted by Jim Bergdoll, the program’s creator and longtime host.
The interfaith dialogue series “Focus on Faith” began in 1982 when a small group of clergy and laity approached Cox Communications for airtime on their public service station. The Interfaith Cable TV committee chaired by Jim Bergdoll, then vice president for development and college relations at Virginia Wesleyan College, was launched and provided support for the dialogue series. The initial Cox-Channel 11 panel for the interfaith dialogue program was composed of Rev. Dr. Donald Dunlap, Freemason Street Baptist Church in Norfolk, Rabbi Lawrence Forman, Ohef Sholom Temple in Norfolk, and Father William Dale, Ascension Roman Catholic Church in Virginia Beach, with Jim Bergdoll as moderator. Cox Cable provided airtime and production support for “Focus on Faith” for more than 20 years with a broad range of representatives of various faith communities participating.
In 2012, the name of the interfaith dialogue series was changed to “Voices of Faith,” and it is now presented as a monthly podcast on the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom website. Jim Bergdoll continues as moderator and coordinator with production assistance provided by the College’s Communication Department.