Past Dialogues

Ralph Anderson Interfaith Dialogues
2004 – 2013
Compiled by Ken Starbuck

We are in the process of gathering information about the 25 year history of interfaith/inter-religious dialogues in Carbondale, Illinois. At the end of 2003 Dr. Dale Bengtson resigned as the chairperson and coordinator, and then there was a change of name and structure.

We have an almost complete list of the dialogues that took place from the beginning until the end of 2003, provided by Don Ugent who made videos of each event. Obviously this is not complete, since it doesn’t start until October 16, 1989. Following is some information about the dialogues during the years 2004-2010.

At the beginning of 2004 the name was changed from the “Jewish, Christian and Muslim Conversations” to the “Ralph Anderson Interfaith Dialogues”. At that same time the Carbondale Interfaith Council became the parent organization, with responsibility for taking charge of financial transactions and coordination within the religious community. The funds were turned over to the treasurer of the Carbondale Interfaith Council, but were expected to be handled independent of the regular budget for that organization.

Ken Starbuck became chairperson at the beginning of 2004, and has been the liaison between the interfaith dialogue committee and the interfaith council. Here is a history of the programs since that change.

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004


April 23, 2013 – 40th Anniversary Dinner of the Carbondale Interfaith Council. Father Bob Flannery spoke about “Vatican II: Interfaith and Ecumenical Connections”, followed by discussion. Held at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship.

February 2-9, 2013 – Houses of Faith Tour sponsored by the Carbondale Interfaith Council. We joined in celebration with World Interfaith Harmony Week, which was unanimously adopted by the United Nations on October 20, 2010. The tour offered an introduction to 13 different faith communities, in 9 different venues.


November 19, 2012 – “To Stay Or Leave Our Religious Tradition” – A conversation with Father Roger Karban and the Rev. William Sasso, held at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Dr. Dale Bengtson was the moderator.

September 10, 2012 – “Mormon Religion and The Public Square”. Held at the Carbondale Civic Center. Presenters were Catherine Stokes, a Mormon from Salt Lake City, and Dr. Darren Sherkat, Chair of the Department of Sociology at Southern Illinois University. Ken Starbuck was the moderator.

April 30, 2012 – “Compassion in Religious and Public Space”. Held at the First Christian Church. Presenters were Father Roger Karban, Imam Abdul Haqq, and Sam Goldman. Ken Starbuck was the moderator.


October 27, 2011 – “Your Faith and the Impact of September 11th”. Held at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Five people spoke about their personal and faith experience following the event ten years ago: Marleen Shepherd – First Christian Church; Imam Moustafa Morsy – Muslim Community; Dr. Laura Dreuth Zeman – Congregation Beth Jacob; Ted Lomax – Carbondale Assistant Fire Chief in NYC after 9-11; and Sister Nancy Liddy – In NYC at the time of 9-11. Ken Starbuck was the moderator.

September 12, 2011 – Interfaith Dialogue with Imam Osama Bahloul as the speaker. Held at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship. Dr. Bahloul told the story of what happened to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, after efforts were made to prevent construction of a new Islamic Community Center by threats and violence to construction property. Charges were made through the legal system to deny the right to build a new center based on the claim that Islam was not a religion. More than a hundred people were in attendance. Ken Starbuck was moderator.

April 25, 2011 – “Communication. Spirituality and the Sharing of Meaning”. Held at the SIUC Communications Building. Presentation by Dr. John. L. Hockheimer. Responders were Katherine Firth, R. Michael Fisher and Randall Auxier. Hugh Muldoon was moderator.

March 21, 2011 – “Religious Perspectives On The Environmental Future of Our Planet”. Held at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship. Presentation by Dr. David Christensen. Panel Members were Imam Abdul Haqq, Father Roger Karban, and Dr. Sam Goldman. Ken Starbuck was moderator.


November 1, 2010 – “Forgiveness As An Act of Faith”. Held at the First Christian Church. Presentations by Father Roger Karban, Dr. Anthony Steinbock, Rev. Bill Basso and Imam Abdul Haqq. Dr. Dale Bengtson was moderator.

October 4, 2010 – “Church & State in America: The Bald Knob Cross and the Ground Zero Mosque”. Held at the Carbondale Civic Center. Main presentation by Dr. Lennie Gross; Panel responders were Rev. Tim Woodward and Imam Abdul Haqq. Ken Starbuck was moderator

April 28, 2010 – Held at Lawson Hall on the SIUC campus. “Sex and the Soul: Sexuality and Spirituality”. Presenters were Father Joseph Brown, Dr. Annette Vailancourt, and Imam Abdul Haqq. Christy Hamilton was the moderator.

March 22, 2010 – “Religion’s Imperative to Present ‘The Other’ Faithfully”. Held at the Carbondale Mosque. Program consisted of a film from a seminar at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions, courtesy of Abdus Sami. Panel Member were Imam Abdul Haqq, Elaine Edelman and Marleen Shepherd. Ken Starbuck was moderator.

January 28, 2010 – Dinner and slide presentation at the First Christian Church. The three people who attended the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions (Abdus Sami, Marleen Shepherd and Imam Abdul Haqq) showed pictures and talked about their experience.


December 3-9, 2009 – Three members of the Carbondale Interfaith Council (Abdus Sami, Marleen Shepherd and Imam Abdul Haqq) attended the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourn, Australia. Their trip was sponsored in part by a Carbondale Interfaith Council fund raiser.

October 19, 2009 – “Greed, The Economy and Religion 2”. Held at the First Presbyterian Church. Presenter was Father Roger Karban, who explored Pope Benedict’s latest encyclical “Love in Truth”. Member of the panel were Imam Abdul Haqq and Sam Goldman (Rev. Janice West missed because of sickness). Ken Starbuck was moderator.

October 5, 2009 – “Torture & Accountability: Where Do We Go From Here?” Held at The View Baptist Church (formerly The First Baptist Church). Presenter was Richard Whitney, Civil Rights Attorney. Members of the panel were Rev. Sam Foskey, Imam Haqq and Steve Low. Moderator – Ken Starbuck

Interfaith Earth Week 2009 – April 18-23 (Many Faiths, One Earth)

  • Saturday, April 18 – Opening Ceremony at the Carbondale Town Square
  • Monday, April 20 – “Not Just Rhetoric: Interfaith Dialogue as Essential to Global Survival”. Held at Congregation Beth Jacob. Presenters were David Koch, David Christensen and Father Robert Flannery. Discussion leaders were Hugh Muldoon and Marleen Shepherd. (This was a Pre-Parliament event, to engage people in discussion about the upcoming 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions to be held in Melbourn, Auatralia, December 3-9.)
  • Tuesday, April 21 –“Talk the Talk”. An Intercultural Student Dialogue at the UCM Interfaith Center: What concerns us most about the environment.
  • Wednesday, April 22 – Multimedia Presentation & Dinner at the First Presbyterian Church. “The Life of Gaia & the Vision of Gaia House”.
  • Thursday, April 23 – Candlelit Peace Pilgrimage – Closing Ceremony (UCM Interfaith Center).

March 2, 2009 – “Greed, the Economy and Religion”. Held at the First Christian Church”. Panel members were Father Roger Karban, Steve Low and Imam Abdul Haqq. Moderator – Ken Starbuck


December 1, 2008 – “American Prison Systems & Faith Perspectives” Held at the Carbondale Mosque. Presenter was Lois Hayward, founder of the New Day Prison Ministries” Members of the panel were Imam Abdul Haqq, the Rev. Randy Johnson and Sam Goldman. Moderator – Ken Starbuck.

October 6, 2008 – “Religion and the Press in Today’s World”. Held at the Church of the Good Shepherd (UCC). Presenters were Rev. Katherine Graves, Imam Abdul Haqq and Father Bob Flannery. Moderator – Ken Starbuck.

Interfaith Week 2008 – April 6-12

  • Sunday, April 6 – Interfaith Art Show Opening at the Carbondale Civic Center.
  • Monday, April 7 – Photoshop Jesus (Slideshow) at the UCM Interfaith Center.
  • Tuesday, April 8 – “Ties That Bind Screening and Discussion” at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship.
  • Wednesday, April 9 – Abrahamic Dinner at the SIUC Recreation Center’s Alumni Lounge.
  • Thursday, April 10 – Interfaith Labyrinth Walk at the UCM Interfaith Center, and Interfaith Music Coffee House (participatory music) at The First Christian Church.
  • Friday, April 11 – Church Women United World Hunger Sale at the Newman Catholic Student Center.
  • Saturday, April 12 – “Our Faith” Children’s Art Exhibit & Activities, and Ebru Marbling at the Carbondale Civic Center. Interfaith Banquet and Keynote Address – The Keynote Speaker was the Reverend Dr. William Schulz, served as Executive Director of Amnesty International for 12 years and as President of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Dr. Mazhar Butt was presented with the 2008 Ralph Anderson Interfaith Dialogues award.


December 3, 2007 – “Images of the Divine”. Held at the Carbondale Mosque. Presenters were Imam Abdul Haqq, Father Roger Karban, Sam Goldman and Jim Hanson. Ken Starbuck was the moderator.

October 15, 2007 – “Global Warming and Scriptural Perspective”. Held at the First Methodist Church. Presenters were Imam Abdul Haqq, Revital Yona (Israel Emissary), and Father Roger Karban. Moderator was Hugh Muldoon.

June 20, 2007 – Program followed an ethnic potluck dinner at the First Christian Church. Hugh Muldoon introduced the speaker, Rev. Dirk Ficca – Executive Director of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. Ken Starbuck was the moderator.

March 26, 2007 “Interfaith Social Justice”. Held at the University Baptist Church. Presenter was Will Tanzman from Chicago, representing the Interfaith Justice program. The presentation was followed by general discussion, with Dr. Dale Bengtson acting as moderator.

March 5, 2007 – “Religious Beliefs and Practices of Unitarian-Universalism and Baha’ism”. Held at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship. Presenters were Nick Cote’ (member of Baha’i) and Rev. Bill Sasso. Imam Haqq was on the panel, but Rev. Graves was unable to participate because of sickness. Hugh Muldoon was the moderator.


December 4, 2006 – “Medical Ethical Dilemmas and Faith Perspectives”. Held at the Carbondale Mosque. Presentation by Rev. Tim Madison, Chaplain at the Carbondale Memorial Hospital. Panel consisted of Father Robert Flannery, Marshall Kapp (SIU Professor of Law and President of Congregation Beth Jacob), and Imam Abdul Haqq. Ken Starbuck was the moderator.

September 17, 2006 – “Religion and Politics in America”. Held at the Carbondale Civic Center, with over 100 in attendance. Presenters were State Rep. John Bradley and Richard Whitney (Green Party Candidate for Governor). Panel consisted of Rev. Sam Fosky, Sam Goldman and Imam Abdul Haqq. Rev. Bill Sasso acted as moderator.

March 13, 2006 – “Diversity in Protestant Christianity”. Held at the First Christian Church. Panel consisted of Rev. Sam Foskey, Rev. Katherine Graves, Rev. Philip Nordstrom and another minister from the Pentecostal tradition. Rev. Kim Maquire was the moderator.

January 30, 2006 “A Current Perspective on Israel and the Middle East”. Held at the Congregation Beth Jacob. The speaker was Eitan Schwartz from Israel, with Stephen Low acting as moderator.


November 14, 2005 –“Diversity Within Catholic Christianity”. Held at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Panel consisted of Father Joseph Brown, Father Gary Gummershiemer and Father Roger Karban. Father Robert Flannery acted as moderator.

September 30, 2005 – “Celebrating Friends and Education for an Effective Citizenry”. This was an award dinner provided by the Carbondale Muslim Community at the Carbondale Middle School. Rev. Katherine Graves was one of the speakers, and several awards were given to those instrumental in the history of Carbondale’s Interfaith Dialogues. Imam Abdul was the banquet master.

May 9, 2005 – “Can the Qur’an and Democracy Co-Exist?”. Held at the Carbondale Mosque, with Imam Abdul Haqq the moderator. The presenter was visiting professor at Southern Illinois University.

April 18, 2005 – “The Faces of Jesus in Christianity, Islam and Judaism”, held at the UCC Church of the Good Shepherd. Panel consisted of Sam Goldman (Congregation Beth Jacob), Rev. Norman Greer, Imam Abdul Haqq, and Father Roger Karban. Moderator was Hugh Muldoon.


November 8, 2004 – “Prayer and Meditation: A Dialogue on Easter and Western Spiritual Practices”. Held at the St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church. Panel consisted of Rev. Janice West, Father Roger Karban, and a woman substituting for Monk Albert on the Buddhist perspective. Moderator was Jim Hanson.

October 11, 2004 – “ Your Faith Perspective in the 2004 Presidential Election”. Held at St. Andrews’ Episcopal Church (site of many dialogues in the first 20 years), the panel consisted of Imam Abdul Haqq, Father Roger Karban and Steve Low. Rev. Sam FoskeModeratoy was the moderator.

October 9, 2004 – The dialogue was part of the new Mosque open house on Wall Street. The subject of the dialogue was “An Evening with Islam”. The panel consisted of representatives from the Muslim community, moderated by Imam Haqq.

April 19, 2004 – “The Patriot Act: Religion and Civil Rights”. This was the first public meeting at the new building of the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship ( Sunset & Parrish). Leonard Gross, a Professor at the SIU Law School and a member of Congregation Beth Jacob, was the presenter. Panel consisted of Imam Abdul Haqq and Steve Low (Father Karban missed because of illness). Moderator was Rev. Bill Sasso.

March 22, 2004 – “What I have Learned from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Conversations”. This followed a potluck at the First Christian Church. Panel – Imam Abdul Haqq, Father Roger Karban (Southern Illinois Catholic Dioceses) and Steve Low (Southern Illinois Jewish Federation). Rev. Katherine Graves was the moderator.