Grace Place to host interfaith lecture series

By Maria Ahmad

Grace Place is holding an interfaith lecture series in hope of opening the door for dialogue and understanding between different beliefs.

Grace Place, 401 Normal Road, is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church on campus. This fall it will be hosting a lecture series titled “What it Means to Be…” Each speaker will relate what it means to be a believer of their respective faith. The sessions will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays starting on Oct. 3 at Grace Place. Food and worship is also part of the schedule for those who choose to participate.

“We all need to broaden our awareness,” said Sarah Schaffner, former interim campus pastor. “We live in our own little boxes and need to step outside and try to experience the world through the eyes of another.”

Grace Place is hosting this type of event for the first time. A pastor’s wife had attended an interfaith series in Southern Illinois and suggested Grace Place to do a similar event with the hope that a space for open dialogue will help knit the community closer.

The idea was embraced by NIU professors and DeKalb community leaders, said Schaffner.

“Sharing the many ways in which all people are alike and the few yet important differences that make use unique, help bridge misunderstanding and bring all people closer together,” said Jeff Hecht, associate dean for the College of Education.

The series is open to all students, faculty, staff and community members and is intended for anyone who is looking to broaden their beliefs. Each session will be a lecture that will guide into discussion, allowing the audience to ask questions in a safe space.

“I am looking forward to being able to understand and learn about other people’s beliefs as well as sharing my own,” said Syed Warsi, president of Muslim Students Association at NIU.