The Power of Spiritual Practices in Interfaith Dialogue: Bridging Divides and Finding Common Ground
Interfaith dialogue is greatly enhanced by the spiritual practices such as silence and listening, as shown through the work of Interfaith America. These practices help bridge divides between different faiths and within religious communities themselves, particularly in the context of a polarized society. By learning to listen and understand one another, we can find common ground that positively impacts our communities without sacrificing our deeply held values. Maria Cressler and Tracie Bernstein invite you to join them for an evening to explore the ways in which silence and active listening can be used as a pathway to deepen our understanding of both the God of our own faith and that of others. Ultimately, we have more that unites us than divides us, and these practices can help us find and strengthen those common bonds.
Dinner will be served at 5:30pm along with friendship and conversation across the dinner table, followed by the program starting at 6:30pm. There will be an opportunity for Q&A and dialogue throughout the evening.
Maria Cressler is the Executive Director of Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center and has served in this role since September 2009. She received a B.A. in Sociology from Georgia State University and a Master of Theological Studies and Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Spring Hill College. Prior to Ignatius House, she served in pastoral and parish roles leading programs such as prison ministry, Emmaus, Cursillo, Rite of Chrisitian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), and JustFaith. These experiences continue to shape her deep desire to help others encounter God. Believing deeply that none are to be excluded from God’s love, Maria expanded the ministries of Ignatius House to include Hispanic retreats, teen and young adult retreats, the Ignatian Spirituality Project serving the homeless, and other efforts to help people of all lifestyles know they are children of God. Maria and her husband, John, minister together at married-couples’ retreats and interfaith events.
Tracie Bernstein is a highly skilled facilitator with extensive experience in team building, mediation, and visioning. She draws from profound Jewish wisdom to enhance group cohesion and articulate shared goals. Tracie has trained educators and clergy nationwide and partnered with innovative Jewish leaders. She has facilitated staff retreats and leadership trainings using personal engagement and collaboration. In 2020, she founded Nourishing the Soul Workshops, sharing her 30 years of experience in developing programs that enable individuals to access meaningful Jewish experiences. She previously served as the Assistant Director of Israel Programs for Young Judaea and as the Marketing Director for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Later, she joined Moving Traditions, where she trained facilitators to launch the award-winning Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing program across the United States. After studying and working in Israel, Tracie partnered with Rabbi Aryeh Ben David to help spearhead the transformative Ayeka program, which engages American Jewish Adults in soulful education. Tracie holds degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. She resides in Atlanta with her husband, Rabbi Michael Bernstein, and their children.
The cost to Ignatius House to present this evening’s event is $50, which is a suggested contribution. However, contributions of any amount are welcome. Additional contributions will support the “Fr. Niel Jarreau, SJ Fund” to provide spiritual programming for those in hardship.
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