Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Eboo Patel headlines conference


OCU will host national interfaith meeting

Oklahoma City University is the site Oct. 17-18 for a free national conference that will bring together faculty, staff, administrators, and student leaders of various faiths from United Methodist-affiliated schools.

Their focus will be on strategies for interfaith cooperation in those United Methodist places of higher education. Title of the event is "Called to Be Neighbors: A United Methodist Higher Education Convening on Interfaith Cooperation."

Among the presenters will be Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith Youth Core on college campuses. He based it on the idea that religion should be a bridge of cooperation, not a barrier between people, according to the IFYC website. He is author of "Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America," "Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation," and "Interfaith Leadership: A Primer," published this year.

Another presenter will be John Wells, who in July became associate general secretary of the Division of Higher Education, part of the denomination’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM). He had been serving in leadership at Mars Hill University, North Carolina. Dr. Wells earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Tennessee.

Amanda Allen of GBHEM explained, "Through this convening, we hope to equip United Methodist-related colleges and universities to:

• "Provide students with the education they need to be leaders in a religiously pluralistic world;

• "Align the identity and mission of their campus with a vision of interfaith cooperation; (and)

• "Share strategies for advancing interfaith cooperation that address diverse campus contexts."

The conference is co-sponsored by GBHEM, Emory & Henry College, and OCU. It is funded by the Lilly Endowment and TMF, the Methodist foundation that serves Texas and New Mexico.


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