By AARON YNCLAN, Staff Writer
Last semester, Prof. Bill Secrest of Henry Ford Community College began a lecture series designed to broaden student and public knowledge and understanding of a number of religious faiths. This series would come to be known as the Building Bridges of Understanding Lecture Series.
The series is comprised of seven lectures, all of which have taken place over the past two semesters, with each lecture featuring a different speaker. In the fall, three of the lectures discussed the beliefs and practices of Zen Buddhism, Mormonism, and the African American experience with religion, the latter of which was presented by UM’s own Reverend Dr. Benjamin Baker.
This winter semester, the final four lectures brought in speakers on Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam, with the fourth featuring Reverend Roger Mohr from the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Detroit. In an interview with the HFCC campus paper The Mirror News, Prof. Secrest explained that these lectures were just the beginning and have been leading up to the Building Bridges of Understanding Conference in April. A two-day event, the conference will feature individual presentations from all the lecture speakers, as well as open panel discussions and “artistic performances.”
The focal point of the conference, however, will come from the three keynote speakers: author and former Navy-Seal J. Robert DuBois, Rabbi Dorit Edut of the Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network (DION), and Iraq native and Dearborn resident Imam Hassan Qazwini. The conference will take place from April 5-6th on the HFCC campus. Prof. Secrest has repeatedly expressed his desire to have participation in the conference from the larger Dearborn community, and he hopes that the UM-D campus will take advantage of the invitation.