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Religion and Civic Spaces: Navigating Challenges and Fostering Unity

Image Source: Ted Eytan/Flickr


Religion and Civic Spaces: Navigating Challenges and Fostering Unity is hosted in partnership with The Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement at Seattle University.

Religious communities and interfaith councils play specific and positive roles in civic life that can assist leaders in addressing major social issues, respond to moral challenges, and ritualize significant milestones that impact a diverse country. As we approach the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election, considering the current divisions among voters and fragmented societal connections, how can religious communities and interfaith councils contribute generatively to our society? What are the past examples and current challenge points that enable us to forecast options for engagement in the future?

Join experienced leaders on Tuesday, March 12th in responding to these questions as part of the FOCUS24 | Faith, Democracy & Our Common Future: Shaping a Path Forward. FOCUS24 is a year-long paid interfaith series building capacity, fostering community, and advancing advocacy efforts in this critical “year of democracy.” Join us in shaping a path forward, register today!

Already registered? Visit the FOCUS24 All-Access page to add the event to your calendar.

Featured Experts

Bill de Blasio, Former Mayor of New York City, USA

Bill de Blasio is an American political leader who served as the 109th mayor of New York City from 2014 to 2021. A member of the Democratic Party, he held the office of New York City Public Advocate from 2010 to 2013. De Blasio started his career as an elected official on the New York City Council, representing the 39th district in Brooklyn from 2002 to 2009. As mayor, de Blasio led NYC through the Covid-19 pandemic, turning what was once a global epicenter into the safest city in the country. In 2014, de Blasio created a groundbreaking initiative which ensured that early childhood education became a universal right in the five boroughs. The universal Pre-K and 3-K programs in NYC have become a national model.

Prior to being an elected official, de Blasio served as the campaign manager for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s successful senatorial campaign of 2000 and got his start in NYC government working for Mayor David Dinkins. De Blasio graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Metropolitan Studies and from Columbia University with an M.A. in International Affairs.

Charline E. Manuel, Chair of Global Ethic Committee at PoWR

Charline Manuel is an inspirational Author, Speaker and Board Consultant. In her work she has encouraged small and large audiences nationally and internationally through her writings, keynote messages, workshops, seminars, and retreats. Charline is passionate about developing and harnessing the positive attributes that support individuals in living a high-quality life, personally and professionally. She promotes the development of skills and abilities, that advocate harmony, diversity, inclusion, and empathetic relationship building for a more compassionate and peace-filled world.

Charline holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology and Urban Studies, and a Master of Arts degree in Human Resources Development. In addition, she is a graduate of Unity School of Religious Studies and received ordination as a Unity minister in 1995 and went on to serve as a senior spiritual leader in a thriving ministry for twenty-two years. Charline serves on the Board of Directors of Unity World Headquarters and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Parliament of World’s Religions headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. She is on the faculty of the Unity Urban Ministerial School helping to develop spiritual leaders since 2012.

Frank So, Executive Director of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon

Frank So, EMO is the Executive Director and President of the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, coming to EMOregon directly from the Office of the Vice President at the White House. As a Vice-Presidential Associate, he frequently traveled with the Vice President, advising her office on trips outside the continental United States. He previously worked for President Obama as a Presidential Associate, where he traveled in advance of the President to help ensure effective state functions on the ground. 

For over a decade, Frank served as a U.S. diplomat in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Northern and East Africa. Most recently, he was the Senior Mission Advisor with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Colombia and Senior Human Rights Advisor for USAID in Honduras.  Frank holds a master’s degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from the University of Ulster and a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Seattle University, where he served as the student body president.

Rabbi Daniel A. Weiner, Senior Rabbi of Temple De Hirsch Sinai

Rabbi Daniel Weiner is the Senior Rabbi of Temple De Hirsch Sinai. Rabbi Weiner is passionate about building a 21st-century Jewish community at Temple; his innovations in worship include producing video “rabcasts” and leading popular Rock Shabbat services. He also promotes Temple’s timeless values of community service and collaboration through partnerships with other faith leaders and his efforts to promote gun responsibility.

Rev. Terry Kyllo, Executive Director of Paths to Understanding

The Rev. Terry Kyllo serves as the Executive Director of Paths to Understanding and is a Lutheran Christian pastor who strives to recognize the unity of the human family. He is the founder of Neighbors in Faith – Answering Islamophobia, Building the Beloved Community (now a program of Paths to Understanding). Terry is the author of two books, has published in multiple publications, and been featured on radio and television shows. He has received a number of awards for his contributions to multi-faith leadership.