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Press Release for Wednesday, October 10, 2012

UNF Hosts Community Public Prayer Civil Discourse Program

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Associate Director 

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida will sponsor “A Community Conversation on Public Prayer: Beyond Talking Points” from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the UNF University Center Banquet Hall, Building 43. This event is free and open to the public.

The symposium on public prayer, a program in civil discourse, is designed for sharing viewpoints on the nature of praying in civic/municipal and public/official events, in a context of a diverse metropolitan population. The goal of the symposium is to enhance the understanding of the various viewpoints presented, to encourage the appreciation that there are a diversity of viewpoints on public prayer, to encourage tolerance of diversity of opinion and to encourage respect for the beliefs and practices of others.

“Public prayer—prayer that takes place at the beginning of official public events—is a topic on which a lot of people have varying opinions, and many of the views are strong ones,” said Dr. David Fenner, UNF College of Arts and Sciences associate dean. “The community needs an opportunity for people with all kinds of perspectives to come together in an informed, open and safe setting.”

The symposium will consist of a panel of academic and community leaders and a group of responders from a wide variety of perspectives. UNF President John Delaney will serve as moderator, while panelists will include Dr. Ronald Baker, Russell Baptist Church senior pastor; Dr. Julie Ingersoll, UNF associate professor of religious studies; Dr. Bert Koegler, UNF professor of philosophy and chair of the Department of Philosophy; Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick Sr., Bethel Baptist Institutional Church senior pastor; Dr. Rick Philips, UNF associate professor of sociology; and Rev. Tarah Trueblood, director of the UNF Interfaith Center.


Responders for the program will include Dr. Parvez Ahmed, UNF associate professor of finance; Dr. Raymond Johnson, Biblical Concepts Ministries president; Celeste Krueger, executive director for OneJax Institute at UNF; Rabbi Joshua Lief, senior rabbi at Congregation Ahavath Chesed; and Dr. David Schwam-Baird, UNF associate professor of political science.

For more information about this event, contact Dr. David Fenner at (904) 620-2560 or at . Although this event is free, an e-ticket is required. To download and print your free e-ticket, visit  


Sponsors for this event include the OneJax Institute at the University of North Florida , the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Interfaith Center and the Intercultural Center for PEACE.