Connect 2013 Plenaries & Workshops

NAINConnect 2013, Toronto, Ontario, Canada:

Diversity is our Strength

From the Conference Planning Team: We see diversity very broadly to include religious, racial and cultural diversity, as well as diversity in our physical and mental abilities and in our gender self-understanding. In choosing workshops and plenary speakers, we looked for best practices in all these areas, so that our faith based practices are as fully inclusive as possible. We can more fully realize social and spiritual equity within and among all our faiths.

Proposed Schedule – click Here

Registration Link with maps, housing, and transportation information – click Here

Proposed Plenary Presentations

  • Sr. Sue Mosteller will speak on L’Arche a multinational group of homes housing to serve the needs of the developing handicapped who live and learn with non-handicapped adults in a group setting.  Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, will address us by video. A dance group from the organization will perform.

Jean Vanier

“The response to injustice is to share. The response to despair is a limitless trust and hope. The response to prejudice and hatred is forgiveness. To work for community is to work for humanity.”—Jean Vanier from “Community and Growth”


  • Young Adult Plenary – details TBA
  • Shahid Ahktar will speak about the Association of Jews and Muslims which he founded along with Barb Landau, a Jewish woman after 9/11.  He will talk about their programs such as the annual twinning program of local mosques and synagogues.
Shahid Ahktar & Barb Landau

Shahid Ahktar & Barb Landau

  • A Native Canadian Panel will talk about the meaning of diversity to native peoples given their history with Europeans since their arrival here.


The following proposals have been accepted.  Some will be blended, for a total of 24 workshops of hour-and-a-half each.

Harmony in Action Sarah Harrington; Key Presenter: Hon. Paul Hellyer, former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Harmony in Action, Toronto To be blended with three other themed presentations; World Interfaith Harmony Week, Sacred Journeys into Silence & Prayers St. Francis of Assisi
Justice in Buffalo: Voice, Action, and Impact Prof. J. D. Lawrence  Religious Studies & Theology/Director of Religion Canisius College, Buffalo documentary; United Church of Christ; Blended theme presentation
Golden Rule Kathy Mirtha, Tina Petrova & others Scarboro Missions, Toronto Award winning “Animating the Golden Rule across World Religions”; Four presenters
Teaching Faith Diversity and Wisdom Revs. Dr. Abigail and Dr. Stephen L. Albert All Faith Center, Poway, California Blended theme presentation
Using Values as a Bridge between Religion and Humanism Peter Laurence Ed. D. California Founder member of NAIN, former Chair of NAIN 1996-2000
Interfaith in Prisons Dr. John Duggan Interfaith in Prison, Campbelford, Ont Prison Chaplaincy
Equity and Inclusion Kevin Welbes Godin Equity and Inclusion Four panelists from different faith traditions & a moderator
Qu(e)rying Religion: Interfaith Program Experience on gender identities and sexualities. Sheryl Johnson and Marilyn Elphick U of T student Christian Movement, Toronto Univ of Toronrto student Christian Movement;
Christian encounter with Islam Dr. Helene Ijaz Christian encounter with Islam, Ontario From the perspective of successful interfaith marriages. Possibility of including 2-3 other couples.
Globalization and economic justice: faith community and interfaith responses Michael Buyondo Faiths Together Uganda, Kampala, Uganda Blended theme presentation
Missing Link in Interfaith Culture-Making Connections Paul Chafee; founder and editor of The Interfaith Observer (TIO) The Interfaith Observer, California Paul Chafee – Moderator;  Bud Heckman, Elizabeth Hochman, Paul McKenna, Noah Silverman distinguished panelists
120 Years of Global Interfaith Connections: Roman Catholic Perspective Dr. Carlos Hugo Parra-Pirela Toronto Blended theme presentation
Interactive Panel discussion on Eastern Philosophical Tradition’s: Dharma. Non Violence, Unifying Streams in Religions Dr. Patil (Jain), Zenji Achara (Buddhist), Ramndeep Grewal (Sikh) and a TBD Hindu scholar Toronto Interfaith harmony over Millennia amongst Four Eastern faith traditions: Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism plus a Moderator
Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine Kay Lindahl Women of Spirit and Faith, Long Beach, California Blended theme presentation
1) IF Alchemy. Mixing Oil & Water  communities; 2) F.I.R.S.T. Journey in Interfaith Rev Ruth Broyde-Sharone California Her book MINEFIELDS & MIRACLES: Why God and Allah Need to Talk, took first place for “religious non-fiction” in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and also top honors in the 2013 International Book Awards in the category of  “social change.”
Multi-Faith Dialogue as an Instrument of Change: An Examination of a Southern Ontario Inter-Faith Organization Idrisa Pandit, Director Studies in Islam and Matteo Carboni Renison University College, U of Waterloo Blended theme presentation
Pluralism: Actively Promoting Diversity Rev Leslie Mezei Interfaith Unity, Toronto Blended theme presentation
Social Audit: ISARC gets to the grass roots Dr. Brice Balmer, M. Skaljin ISARC, Toronto Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC) has worked since 1987 to reduce poverty in Ontario, especially for those who receive social assistance.
Best Practices in Youth Engagement Sarha Talcott Blair, K Harish URI Youth Leaders, San Francisco Blended theme presentation
Indonesian Student Leaders Immersion in Religious Pluralism and Democracy in US Meliani Murtiningsih Journal of Ecumenical Studies- Temple University, Philadelphia Blended theme presentation
Negotiating equity in interfaith and intercultural dialogue Humera Javed Ontario Blended theme presentation
Dancing With the Devil: North American Pluralism Dr. Julia Sheetz-Willard Philadelphia Blended theme presentation
Interfaith Social Media: Interfaith Leadership in the Digital World Michelle Earhart – F Fredericks Worldfaith org Frank Fredericks presenter
Journey to the Tent of Abraham Betsy Wiggins Women Transcending Boundaries Cofounders of Women Transcending Boundaries will be there to present,
Mutifaith communities in Public Education Angel Butel & Rev Cody Nelson Macaletser Blended theme presentation
Challenges of Diversity in Faith Communities Sande Hart Chair of United Religions Initiative North America, California United Religions Initiative (URI); Blended theme presentation
Seeking an Eco-sustainable Future Dr. Ted Reeve Faith and the Common Good, Toronto For over 10 years the interfaith charity Faith & the Common Good, with its main program Greening Sacred Spaces, has helped over 500 faith communities deepen their spiritual and practical commitment to a eco-sustainable future
Stories to Light Our Way Ralph Singh New York Blended theme presentation
Strengths of Diverse Networking Kathryn Ward United Religions Initiative, California United Religions Initiative (URI); Blended theme presentation; Several panelists
On the Spiritual Road: Seeking Faith and Religion in the United States. Andrew Harrison California Blended theme presentation
One Model of Interfaith Education J.W. Windland, Brian Carwana Encounter World Religions Centre, Guelph Blended theme presentation
interfaith Dialogue in Mexico Gabriella Franco- Paul McKenna Mexico Blended theme presentation
Interfaith Matters; At Home, Work, School Dr. Rev Lauren Zinn California Blended theme presentation
Indigenous Spirituality and Justice Louise Profeit Bahai Wakefield, Quebec, Quebec
Abrahamic traditions Brad Seligmann; University of Michigan ICCJ-NA youth, Ann Arbor, Michigan Blended theme presentation

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