Festival of Faiths to Explore Sacred Earth, Sacred Self in Celebration of Diversity May 13-18 at Actors Theatre

The Center for Interfaith Relations presents the 19th annual Festival of Faiths, May 13-18, 2014, focusing on the theme of Sacred Earth Sacred Self. The Festival celebrates the diversity of our faith traditions, promotes unity and strengthens the role of faith in society through common action.

The Festival will open with a free, public Interfaith Service at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. Fifth St. All remaining events will take place at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

The Temple’s volunteer choir, Shir Chadash, will sing Bar’chu during the opening service.

Through its theme, Sacred Earth Sacred Self, the Festival extends an invitation to all to reflect upon the interconnectedness of all species, interacting with each other in reciprocal exchange. As a result, the choices that we make in our everyday life tell the story of our relationship with the Earth and in turn with the Divine.

The Festival provides an opportunity to conduct this reflection in an interfaith setting, which brings together international scholars and leaders in environmental and social justice, sustainability, and agriculture. Programs will include daily guided public meditations, keynote addresses, discussions, films, and photographic exhibits.

A highlight of the Festival will be the joint appearance by two of America’s most notable literary figures – Wendell Berry, poet, farmer, essayist and activist, and Gary Snyder, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and environmentalist. The title of this event, Distant Neighbors, is also the title of a new collection of Berry and Snyder’s correspondence, written over the last half-century. Distant Neighbors will not appear in bookstores until June, but advance copies will be on sale at the Festival bookstore.

All Festival Events at Actors Theatre (free or charged) require a ticket. Ticket prices for individual programs range from $15 to $25. Student tickets are half-price. Week passes are available for $150 and can be purchased by calling Actors Theatre box office, 584-1205 or 800-428-5849, or online at www.festivaloffaiths.org. Fees will apply to online ticket sales.

The Festival will present four major programs on Wednesday, May 14. Indigenous Reflection features Dr. Melissa Nelson, a cultural ecologist and indigenous scholar-activist, who will speak from 9-10 a.m. This is a free event; however, tickets are required.

Soil and Sacrament will feature Fred Bahnson, author of a book by the same name, from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Healing Self, Healing Society will feature Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, a leading Islamic scholar and social activist, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Distant Neighbors, from 7-9 p.m., will feature Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder. Jack Shoemaker will serve as moderator. Tickets will are $25.

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