News‎ > ‎

March 2013 Newsletter

posted Mar 4, 2013, 5:02 PM by Interfaith WS   [ updated Mar 18, 2013, 6:30 AM ]


Can We Become Compassionate Winston-Salem?

                Winston-Salem is often referred to as the City of the Arts.  It’s a deserved reputation because the nation’s first municipal arts council was created here, and the city has a long history of appreciation of and support for the arts.

                Those of us involved with Interfaith Winston-Salem want our city also to be known as the City of Compassion.  We see daily acts of compassion, but we know that we cannot truly be a city of compassion as long as people around us suffer from problems like hunger, homelessness and racism.

                How do we overcome these seemingly intractable deficiencies and become “Compassionate Winston-Salem?”

                Working with Mayor Allen Joines, Interfaith Winston-Salem facilitated an advisory panel discussion February 27 to address this question.  As an interfaith group, we took the lead because compassion is at the heart of all spiritual, ethical and religious traditions. In addition to Mayor Joines, the panel comprised:

s  Nigel Alston, United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church

s  Rev. Willard Bass, Ministers Conference of Forsyth County and Vicinity, Institute for Dismantling Racism

s  Richard Cassidy, Interfaith Winston-Salem

s  Woody Clinard, veteran participant in United Religions Initiative (URI)

s  Joe Crocker, Poor and Needy Division, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust

s  Matt Dyson, United Way of Forsyth County

s  Dr. Jay Ford, Chair of Department of Religion, Wake Forest University

s  Imam Khalid Griggs, The Community Mosque

s  Nan Griswold, retired Executive Director, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC

s  Jerry McLeese, Interfaith Winston-Salem

s  Sylvia Oberle, Habitat for Humanity – Forsyth

s  Andrea Parker, Interfaith Winston-Salem

s  Dr. Mark Ralls, Centenary United Methodist Church

s  Rabbi Mark Strauss-Cohn, Temple Emanuel

                Living the Golden Rule in individual and organizational relationships would move us beyond the polarizing influences of politics, religion and culture.  One of the goals would be to engage members of faith communities in working with compassion-minded individuals from other faith traditions.

                Winston-Salem can align itself with other cities that have elevated the Golden Rule to a guiding principle by endorsing the Charter for Compassion.  The Charter was influenced by the work of Karen Armstrong, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  Compassionate Action Network International (CANI), the certifying organization, will recognize Winston-Salem as one of the international cities of compassion if the mayor and city council endorse the Charter for Compassion. 

                The panel said that if Winston-Salem endorses the charter, it would be as a statement of aspiration, acknowledging that we still have work to do.   A Compassionate Winston-Salem umbrella would be created under which individual acts of compassion and programs of compassion would be nourished.

                Compassionate Winston-Salem would be less a new program and more a new way of living together in community.  As compassion raises its presence to address our city’s needs, self-organizing groups could pursue existing programs more vigorously and create new collaborative programs.

Parker Joins Board of Guidance

Andrea (Drea) Parker, who received her B.A. degree in religion from Salem College in 2012, follows the Pantheist/Naturalist tradition.  A native of Kernersville, she works for Staub Leadership International.  She served in the Peace Corps in 2006-08 in Benin, West Africa and currently is chairperson of the Young Adult Committee of the Board of Directors of the North American Interfaith Network. She is an ordained minister through LEWA (Light and Energy Workers Association) and has more than a decade of experience in the nonprofit field. 


Free Introduction to Zen Buddhist Meditation March 28

        Interested in learning about meditation in the Zen Buddhist tradition? Dr. Peter R. Lichstein will lead a workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 28 that provides an introduction to the practice of zazen - the meditative tradition of complete engagement with “just sitting.” Through brief lectures, demonstration and experiential exercises, Dr. Lichstein, a member of the Interfaith Winston-Salem Board of Guidance, will explore zazen posture, awareness of breath and how to practice with the thoughts and feelings that inevitably arise in meditation. We will also try out walking meditation (kinhin).

        The event, sponsored by Interfaith Winston-Salem, will be held at the Shepherd’s Center, 1700 Ebert St. in Winston-Salem. Participants can register at    Participants may want to bring a meditation cushion, blanket or yoga mat and a firm cushion to sit on.  Plenty of chairs will be available. 

        Dr. Lichstein has studied with Josho Pat Phelan at the Chapel Hill Zen Center since 1996, received the Zen precepts as a lay practitioner in 2005 and has taught meditation with the Wake Forest University Meditation Group since 2011.


“Christianity and Indian Culture” Presentation April 9

      What do you know about the intersection of Christianity and Indian culture? At 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 a group from Wake Forest University will present their understanding in a forum at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Summit Street in Winston-Salem. You can register for the free presentation at

        In December/January, twelve Wake Forest University faculty, divinity students, and undergraduates traveled to India to study Christianity in India. This "Multicultural Contexts for Ministry" experience explored the Hindu religious context in India in order to understand the various forms Christianity has taken there.

        In this presentation, trip participants will discuss photos from the trip and analyze themes of religion and culture in relation to the Catholic Church in India, the Church of South India, Evangelical missions, and the Mar Thoma and Syrian Orthodox traditions.

        Presenters include Jessica Chapman, Tasharia Harris, Andrew Luisi, Mandy Mizelle, Sara Reynolds, Katie Schlimmer, Ashley Sims, Caitie Smith, Jessica Stokes, Chelsea Yarborough, and Dr. Michelle Voss Roberts.


“Journeys” Breakfast Program

        Interfaith Winston-Salem‘s “Journeys” breakfast group meets the first Sunday in each month to hear the story of someone’s faith journey.  Sessions are held at the Community Arts Café in downtown Winston-Salem at 8-9:30 a.m.   Eva Gelfand, an Arab-Jew from Temple Emanuel, will tell her family’s faith journey on April 7.  Contact Jerry McLeese at if you’re interested in joining the group.


“Interfaith Contemplatives” Meet on Third Tuesdays

        Board member Andrea Parker leads these sessions, which include individuals from several traditions.  Typically, participants meditate or contemplate for 20 to 30 minutes before a time of discussion and reflection.  If you’re interested in the group, contact Drea at  Meetings are held at the Shepherd’s Center, 1700 Ebert Rd. in Winston-Salem.


“Interfaith Appreciation” Lectures Attract 500-Plus Attendees

        More than 500 individuals attended Dr. Michelle Voss Roberts’ three-lecture series on “Interfaith Appreciation” in February at Centenary United Methodist Church.  Dr. Voss Roberts’ lectures focused on Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism.  She is an assistant professor of Theology and Culture at the Wake Forest School of Divinity.  The series was jointly sponsored by Centenary and Interfaith Winston-Salem.


“The Tribe” Movie Stirs Discussion

        Approximately 40 people came to the a/perture cinema to watch “The Tribe” and hear a panel discussion involving Rev. Kelly Carpenter and three chaplains from Wake Forest University, Rabbi Michael Gisser, Rev. K. Monet Rice and Imam Khalid Griggs.  They discussed the pressures faced by individuals who cannot or won’t be visible in the white American culture.  For example, Imam Griggs mentioned how some young people may create nicknames for themselves so that they will fit in better.  Rabbi Gisser, who is white, said all he would have to do to hide his Jewishness and blend into a white culture would be to remove his kippah (the cap worn by Jewish males).  The program was co-sponsored by the Chaplain’s Office at Wake Forest University, Interfaith Winston-Salem, a/perture cinema and the City of Winston-Salem Human Relations Department.


“Founding Friends” Program Established

        Interfaith Winston-Salem has established a recognition program to honor individuals and organizations that make financial contributions during the critical first two years of existence for IF-WS.  Everyone who makes a contribution during 2012-13 will permanently be recognized as a “Founding Friend.”  The following individuals and organizations comprise the current list of “Founding Friends.”  Your support enables us to offer programs at no cost to participants.  You may become a Founding Friend by making checks payable to IF-WS and mailing to 1959 N. Peace Haven Rd. #256, Winston-Salem, NC 27106.

Interfaith Sustainer ($1,000 and above)

Sybil and Jerry McLeese

Interfaith Partner ($250-999)

Mr. and Mrs. Art Bloom

Knollwood Baptist Church


Interfaith Friend (Up to $250)
Laura Barclay

Richard Cassidy

Centenary United Methodist Church

James A. Collins

Dalia Shirley Deane

Debbie and Keith Gough

Dr. Peter Lichstein

Kirk McNeill

Andrea Parker

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Mary Ben Stroupe

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Winston-Salem

Wake Forest University Chaplain’s Office

Charles F. Wilson

Ron Yost

Cheryl and John Young


Book of Memory

Mr. George Marshall

Mr. Jerry Petosky