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LCCC to hold discussion on ‘beliefs and being’

GODFREY – The Diversity Council of Lewis and Clark Community College will present the Panel Discussion on Beliefs and Being: Understanding our Neighbors at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, in the Hatheway Cultural Center, Ann Whitney Olin Theatre on L&C’s Godfrey campus.

“I’m excited and honored to, once again, be hosting our newly renamed ‘Panel Discussion on Beliefs and Being,'” Diversity Council Chair Peter Hussey said. “Formerly known as a ‘Panel Discussion on Religion,’ I believe the new title captures the essence of the event.”

Three guest speakers will discuss their worldviews as members of the Baha’i, Brethren and Buddhist religions, followed by a question-and-answer session facilitated by Hussey.

“This is a remarkable opportunity for our students, campus and community to come together in the spirit of greater understanding and appreciation of one another,” Hussey said. “This aligns beautifully with the mission of L&C’s Diversity Council, the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, which we are so honored to have received.”

Representing the Baha’i, Jeanne M. Aguirre discovered Baha’i principles through a chance encounter, after which she studied religions, literature, history, science and philosophy for decades. She believes she has always been a Baha’i even before she knew it.

Aguirre has now retired from university teaching and is an active member in the metro-east Baha’i community. She has visited the Baha’i World Center and Holy Places in Haifa, Israel. She also spends time volunteering on projects, which support education, both locally and internationally; most recently, she taught in China.

“I look forward to a lively discussion about ways that our diverse beliefs influence our actions, our being and who we may become as a result,” Aguirre said.

Representing the Church of the Brethren, Terry Link is an ordained minister from Springfield, Illinois. He was raised in the Church of the Brethren, confirmed Methodist as a teenager, became a disciple of the Southern Baptist Church as an adult, and eventually returned to the Brethren where he was called-out by the local church to set-apart ministry.

Link has worked in the hotel industry and for the Illinois Department of Corrections as a manager of the field support unit, which opened new prisons for more than 20 years. He currently serves as staff chaplain at a Brethren-founded retirement complex “Pleasant Hill Village” in Girard, Illinois, where his primary task is to keep people connected to their individual faith traditions.

“Looking back it seems my career path has always been inline with a form of the hospitality business,” Link said with a smile.

Representing the Buddhist faith, Joshua Baker is a 22-year-old applied science major from Dorsey, Illinois, who grew up in a Christian family and found Buddhism on his own. His family is supportive in his choice to practice Buddhism, a religion he discovered at the age of 15.

Baker went to a monastery in Defiance, Missouri, every weekend in the early days of him practicing Buddhism. He said he came to the conclusion that Buddhism is truly the religion that works best for him.

“Buddhism in a nutshell, is all about compassion, love, mindfulness, wisdom and truth,” Baker said. “Through compassion comes mindfulness, through mindfulness comes wisdom, and through wisdom truth can be found and seen. A Buddhist practices to find peace within.”

For more information on this panel discussion, contact the college’s public relations department at (618) 468-3220.

This Lewis and Clark event is presented by the Mannie Jackson Endowment and Center for the Humanities and is a Lewis and Clark Arts and Humanities Project, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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