Building Bridges, Bridging Divides

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The Center for the Study of Religious Freedom announces a diverse calendar of events

News Release | February 9, 2018

The Center for the Study of Religious Freedom (CSRF) at Virginia Wesleyan University strives to inform, transform, and equip individuals to be engaged leaders and citizens, as they increasingly understand why religious freedom is a basic human right of daily significance.

With this vision in mind, the Center has announced its spring 2018 calendar of events. From programming and partnerships surrounding “Reformation to Race,” the Nexus interfaith dialogue events, and religious freedom in the classroom, to CSRF in the community, the Life Matters series, and an impressive lineup of guest speakers, there are ample opportunities to build bridges and bridge divides during the spring semester.

“At the Center we try to wade right into the middle of tensions–religious, racial, political and otherwise” noted Director for the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom Craig Wansink. “If we do not discuss tense issues in a respectful manner, breaching divides is impossible.”

On February 15, the CSRF will host “From Conflict to Peace in Modern Israel–Challenges in Daily Life” during the lunch hour (12-12:50 p.m.) on campus in the Shafer Room of Boyd Dining Hall. This VWU study-away presentation will include 15 VWU students who took a course on Challenges in Ancient and Modern Israel, and then, as a culminating adventure,  travelled to Israel on a ten-day trip during Winter Session. The students will share their research on the challenges of this fascinating country.

Programming for "From Reformation to Race" focuses on Martin Luther King's legacy. The Center encourages thought and reflection about race, reconciliation and freedom and seeks–through King's legacy–to "have an opportunity to make America a better nation." Events in March and April include a town hall on the topic "Creating a More Civil Society: Is M.L.K.'s Legacy Just a Dream?" moderated by Barbara Hamm Lee, executive producer of Another View radio program, "How to Be Less Stupid About Race: Racism and Anti-racism in Our Classrooms and Communities,"  with Crystal Fleming as part of the Justine L. Nusbaum Lecture series, and "Confronting White Supremacy: A Workshop for Students of All Backgrounds."

These and other events planned for spring 2018 support the mission and vision of the Center which is grounded in Virginia Wesleyan University’s commitment to a rigorous liberal arts education and its United Methodist heritage. Through its program initiatives, the Center seeks not only to educate minds, but also to touch hearts, strengthening individuals to be agents of change and transforming communities. The Center does not advocate any particular political or religious perspective, but does stand for principles of dialogue, liberty and engaged citizenship. 

View a full listing of CSRF spring 2018 events

Information about each of the events is also provided in the Center’s latest newsletter, Understanding Religious Freedom, Spring 2018.