Interfaith Week 2015 – A Thank You Letter

Interfaith Luncheon at Eckerd College

After a day of rest and recuperation, I am reflecting on the past week full of interfaith events that celebrated so many things — deep listening, open communication, leading by example, tolerance and respect, peaceful activism, the building of bridges between people and communities, the healing of deep-seated wounds and historical divides, the planting of new seeds for the future.

In short, the week was an inspiring whirlwind of collaboration and connection that we usually have to leave town to experience by attending various conferences and symposiums. It warmed my heart to see these relationships being formed in our own backyard.

I want to give a heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in Interfaith Week on any and every level. It was truly an honor to be a part of such thought-provoking and mind- and heart-opening activity and dialogue. I made so many new friends and look forward to seeing what grows from the many seeds that were planted this week.

Here are just a few of the people involved with the planning and production of the various workshops, panel and book discussions, performances, films and keynote presentations that made up this year’s second annual Interfaith Week event.

Imam Abdul Karim Ali
Imam Abdul Q. Aziz
Aiyana Baida
Lisa Brekke
Beverly Banov Brown
Rev. Dr. Lori Cardona
Vandana Dillon
Rev. Jack Donovan
David Enfield
Sepideh Eskandari
Lauren Haddad Friedman
Mayor Rick Kriseman
Erica Leggatt
Bishop Preston Leonard
Cynthia Lukas
Jan Magray
Dr. Kerry McCord
Rev. Doug McMahon
Rev. Russell Meyer
Susan Meyers
Janell Miller-Evans
Eric Rainbeau
Denise Rispoli
Rabbi Ed Rosenthal
Rev. Libby Shannon
Katherine Taylor Robinson
Ruth Broyde Sharone
Ashley Sweet
Dr. Frank Tedesco
Rev. Dr. Grace Telesco
Sarah Trinler
Rev. Shinkyo Will Warner
Denise Whitfield
Robin Whitlock
Martha Williams

I also want to thank our sponsors, St. Petersburg Interfaith Association, Suncoast Institute of Noetic Sciences, The Bridge and The Connection Partners.

This would also feel incomplete if I didn’t give a special thank you to my wife, Jennifer Oppelt, who handled the fact that I decided to host Interfaith Week during our 12th wedding anniversary with benevolence and grace.

If you’re interested in helping out next year, or getting more involved with interfaith activities in your area, please contact me directly.

Looking forward,
Joran Slane Oppelt

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