By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Interfaith Alliance Foundation of Oklahoma will present its 2019 Annual Awards Dinner and Celebration on Thursday October 24. The event will take place at the Hindu Temple of Oklahoma, 7200 N Coltrane Road, which will be decorated for the holiday of Diwali, the annual Festival of Lights.
Doors open at 6 p.m. featuring a buffet dinner and program to follow. All foods will be vegetarian. No alcohol will be used or served. Guided tours of the Temple will be available.
A non-partisan, clergy-led grassroots organization, the Interfaith Alliance Foundation of Oklahoma’s mission is to promote the positive, healing role of faith in civic life and to challenge intolerance and extremism.
Last year Rabbi Abby Jacobson, the Foundation’s President, announced that the organization would hold each year’s annual dinner at a different house of worship to share in the celebration of a different autumn holiday. The goal is to foster even greater interfaith communication, Jacobson said.
The 2018 event was held at Oklahoma City’s Emanuel Synagogue, where Jacobson is the spiritual leader. The event recognized the Jewish festival of Sukkot, often called the Feast of Booths. The menu featured a traditional Jewish holiday meal and the event was held outside in the sukkah.
Dr. Kimball is Presidential Professor and Director of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, Kimball holds an M.Div. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Th.D. from Harvard University in Comparative Religion with a specialization in Islamic studies. Prior to OU, Professor Kimball taught for 12 years at Wake Forest University, where he was Professor of Comparative Religion. An ordained Baptist minister, Kimball is a lecturer and expert analyst on issues on the Middle East, Islam, Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations. He was the Director of the Middle East Office at the National Council of Churches for seven years and has visited the Middle East more than 35 times, working with Congress, the White House, and the State Department. Kimball is the author of several books, including When Religion Becomes Evil (named one of the Top 15 Books on Religion for 2002 by Publishers Weekly) and Truth Over Fear: Combating the Lies About Islam.
“Given the depth of feelings and the passionate convictions connected to religion, few conversations are more urgently needed in the fragile, interdependent, and all too quarrelsome world of the 21st century,” Kimball stated.
El Sistema Oklahoma is an after-school music program serving over 200 underserved public school children in Oklahoma City. A non-profit 501(c)3, El Sistema was founded through a creative partnership of Cathy and Phil Busey, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, and the Wanda Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University. The mission of El Sistema Oklahoma is to engage children within an ensemble-based music program to help them grow as responsible citizens and community members. The organization serves 220 children in third through eleventh grade.
The evening will include the introduction of the organization’s 2019 officers and board members.
Local Interfaith alliances are active in 38 states with over 150,000 members from more than 50 religious traditions. With a national network of religious leaders, the Interfaith Alliance works to “encourage compassion, civility and mutual respect for human dignity in an ever increasing diverse society.”
Individual dinner tickets are $50 per person. Full table sponsorships for a table of eight are available for $500, and half table sponsorships cost $250 for 4 seats. To purchase tickets, or become a sponsor, click here or email [email protected].
For more information, visit tiaok.org.