Reorganized Kansas City Interfaith Group Draws Diverse Crowd

November 11, 2005

Source: The Kansas City Star

On November 11, 2005 The Kansas City Star reported, "[Reverend Wallace Hartsfield], a longtime area Baptist minister, looked out from a podium Thursday at the more than 600 people who gathered for the [Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council's] inaugural luncheon at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown.

Represented were American Indian spirituality, Bahai, Buddhism, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, paganism, Sikhism, Sufism, Unitarian Universalism, Vedantism and Zoroastrianism.

Hartsfield said later that the only time such a diverse gathering of faiths had occurred in Kansas City was in reaction to a threat, such as an attack on civil rights... The council was founded in 1989. It was reorganized in January when the group split from the World Faith Center for Religious Experience and Study. The word 'Greater' was added to the council’s name, and the council obtained its own nonprofit status.

The council’s founder, the Rev. Vern Barnet, a religion educator, was honored at the event with the first Table of Faiths Interfaith Award.

Barnet told the crowd he was 'touched, excited and moved' by what the luncheon represented.

'Once upon a time interfaith was an idea, then it became a council, and now it is a community,' he said."