Join Center for Religious Understanding for multifaith dialogues

October 16, 2013 | Events, UToday, — Languages, Literature and Social Sciences
By Samantha Watson

People of all faiths are invited to participate in upcoming discussions and events to promote understanding and tolerance, as well as make a difference in the community.

The Center for Religious Understanding at The University of Toledo is hosting Multifaith Cafés in October and November to encourage discussion among individuals of different religious beliefs. The center also is inviting people with different beliefs to work together in a UT service-learning after-school program for disadvantaged children.

“It’s a really effective way to get to understand a person’s religion firsthand,” said Dr. Jeanine Diller, assistant professor of philosophy and fellow of the center. “Instead of doing it by studying, you do it by getting to know somebody with a different perspective of religion than your own.”

The cafés will be held Fridays, Oct. 25 and Nov. 15, from 10 to 11 a.m. and Tuesdays, Oct. 29 and Nov. 19, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Phoenicia. Free snacks and drinks will be offered to attendees. David Yonke, former religion editor at The Blade who now covers religion for the Toledo Free Press, will lead the Friday sessions.

The center also is hosting a weekly after-school program for at-risk youth grades K-8 at Chase Academy. The group will meet Wednesdays through Nov. 6 and provide mentoring, activities and snacks for the children.

“Many of these children go home and never get dinner,” Diller said. “We give them a good snack to help them through their week, and we also raise college awareness in a community where it often isn’t mentioned.”

On program days, volunteers can meet at 2:30 p.m. at the fountain by Student Union to catch a ride, or meet at Chase Academy, 600 Bassett St., Toledo, at 3 p.m. Those who are unable to make it to volunteer can provide for the program through donations of money, food or craft supplies or by helping prepare the snacks the evening before.

After the program concludes, volunteers will engage in a discussion on their different faiths and views.

“Three years ago, President Obama put out a call to universities nationwide to encourage students with different religious perspectives to work together for their community,” Diller said. “Great things happen in our community, and the volunteers become aware that there are people of good will across all religions.”

For more information on how to help the after-school program, contact Sabina Serratos at 419.530.2992 or

RSVPs for the cafés are appreciated, but not mandatory, and can be sent by email to

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