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Whitworth to host PC(USA)’s conversation on Unity with Difference March 12-14

Led by Neal Presa, event includes presentations on race, gender, religious identities

March 7, 2014

SPOKANE, Wash.

Whitworth University will host the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s third Conversation on Unity with Difference March 12-14 in the Seeley Mudd Chapel. The three-day event, organized and led by PC(USA) General Assembly Moderator Neal Presa, will feature seven presentations on topics related to race, gender and religious identities.

Presentations will begin at 9 a.m. following introductions and an opening prayer by PC(USA)-related Whitworth’s president, Beck A. Taylor. Each presentation will be followed with a Q&A from those in attendance and an online audience. Online audience members can also follow the event on Twitter using the hashtag #UnityDiff.

Presa’s goal for the event will be to spark wide-ranging conversations throughout the PC(USA) and beyond. He views Whitworth is an ideal environment for this discussion. “Whitworth is a university that takes faith and learning seriously,” Presa says. “Because of its historical and renewed commitment to the Reformed tradition, it’s an ideal partner for the PC(USA) for this event.”

The Conversation on Unity with Difference is a follow-up to previous conversations which took place at Princeton Theological Seminary and Stony Point Center (New York) in December of 2012 and 2013, respectively. The Moderator’s Third Colloquium on Ecclesiology will take place March 17-19 at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Dean of Spiritual Life Terry McGonigal says that the goal of the event will be to prompt dialog from a variety of perspectives. “I hope that, locally and regionally, this is the beginning of a deepening conversation on important issues,” McGonigal says. “It’s easy to put labels on people from a distance, but it’s different when you’re in the same room.”

Presenters at the third Unity with Difference conversation will include McGonigal, Lawrence Burnley, Whitworth’s assistant vice-president for diversity and intercultural relations; Director of Cambridge College Jose Irizarry; Raymond Reyes, associate academic vice-president at Gonzaga University, a Jesuit school here; Matilde Moros, assistant dean for special programs at New Brunswick Theological Seminary; Laura Cheifetz, executive director of church and public relations at the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation; and Bridgett Green, acquisitions editor for Bible at the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.

For a complete schedule of the event, click here.

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