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Grotarian Event – An Interfaith Panel Discussion at First United Methodist Church

October 20, 2015 at 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm


2111 Camino del Rio South, San Diego 92108
An Interfaith Panel Discussion on Religious Diversity

Our October Grotarian event will be an informative and provocative time of exploring the religious diversity of the San Diego area. Clergypersons from Judaism, Islam and Christianity will share in a panel discussion about religious diversity within each of their respective communities along with a time for questions and answers. A special added feature of this Grotarian event will be a demonstration of the pipe organ, one of the largest organs west of the Rocky Mountains, at First United Methodist, featuring Associate Director of Sanctuary Music & Resident Organist Stephan Price.

Schedule for the Evening
We will gather in Linder Lounge, to the immediate east of the sanctuary. Please park in sections p4, p5, p6, p7 or p8. Signs will provide specific directions.
5:30 p.m. Hors d’Oeuvres
6:00 p.m. Organ Demonstration
6:15 p.m. Dinner
6:45 p.m. Panel Discussion
7:15 p.m. Questions & Answers

Featured Panelists:
BerkRabbi Michael Berk is the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego starting his tenure there in 2007. Rabbi Berk was ordained in 1980 at Hebrew Union College and Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. He holds a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College in 1978. He also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from UC Berkeley in 1975. Rabbi Berk has served Temple Emanu El, San Jose, rabbi at Beth Sholom Temple in Santa Monica, rabbi at Temple Beth Torah in Ventura, and as regional director, Pacific Central West Council, for the Union for Reform Judaism.


 Hassane2Imam Taha Hassane is the Imam/Director of Public/Interfaith Relations & Youth Programs at the Islamic Center of San Diego. He joined ICSD in September 2004 from the Colorado Muslim Youth Foundation where he served as a youth instructor. Imam Taha graduated from Institute of Islamic Sciences at the University of Algiers, Algeria, and served as a high school teacher and Imam in Tenes, Algeria for ten years before coming to the United States. Imam Taha also holds a Master degree of theology in Islamic studies from the Graduate Theological Foundation ion South Bend, Indiana.


BrownRev. Craig S. Brown is the Lead Pastor of the First United Methodist Church beginning in 2013. Craig holds the B.A. Degree in Biblical Studies and Theology from Biola University and the Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary.  Following graduation Craig was appointed to Palisades UMC in Capistrano Beach as Associate Pastor. In 1999 he began serving the 500-member UMC of Thousand Oaks as its Senior Pastor. After six years at the Thousand Oaks congregation, Craig was appointed to Shepherd of the Hills UMC in Mission Viejo, CA. Rev. Brown has been a member of the San Diego Rotary since 2014.


FanestilMODERATOR: Rev. John Fanestil is the Pastor of Faith Cultivation and Leadership Development at First United Methodist Church. Ordained in 1992, John has served as the pastor of United Methodist congregations in La Mesa, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Calexico. John is also a writer. His first book, Mrs. Hunter’s Happy Death, was published by Doubleday in 2006, and he is now working on an unexpected account of American origins for Yale University Press. His writing has appeared in the Christian Century, the San Diego Union-Tribune and elsewhere. John is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and the Claremont School of Theology. He is now completing his Ph.D. as a Dissertation Fellow in the History Department at the University of Southern California.

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October 20, 2015
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Event Category:


First United Methodist Church
2111 Camino del Rio South
San Diego, CA 92108 United States
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