Programs

The Charleston Interreligious Council builds bridges of understanding through its programs and events.. Please join us in spreading sensitivity, tolerance, respect, and fellowship among religious groups in the Charleston area by participating in our many gatherings. Our events are all free and open to the public.

 
 
Dr. Reuven Firestone speaking at the Second Annual James Sawers, Jr. Interfaith Speaker Series October 11-13, 2018.

Dr. Reuven Firestone speaking at the Second Annual James Sawers, Jr. Interfaith Speaker Series October 11-13, 2018.

James Sawers, Jr. Interfaith Speaker Series

Every fall, the Charleston Interreligious Council brings a notable scholar and speaker to Charleston. With the intention of furthering public awareness of interreligious issues and shared concerns, this series creates opportunities for better understanding among people of different faiths. Each Interfaith Speaker Series consists of 5-8 lectures, panel discussions, workshops, and other gatherings held at various venues and sacred spaces around Charleston. 

The James Sawers, Jr. Speaker Series is named after our past president who who devoted his energy, vision and leadership to CIC’s mission. Jim Sawers passed away unexpectedly in March 2017. He was a great leader who inspired people to be creative, thoughtful, and respectful of others. His intelligence and training in religion and science contributed to humankind in many ways, locally and internationally. Jim was a nuclear physicist and ordained United Methodist minister. This program was especially dear to Jim, as he worked hard to bring excellent speakers to Charleston and create an engaging, respectful atmosphere of dialogue. 

We have had much success in our Speaker Series, where participants noted an appreciation for the opportunity to learn and better understand other perspectives on faith, thus deepening their knowledge of their own faith as well as the religious perspectives of others.

We encourage you to join us this Fall! 

 
Participants learning about the history of the Baha’i community in Charleston while touring the Louis G. Gregory Baha’i Museum.

Participants learning about the history of the Baha’i community in Charleston while touring the Louis G. Gregory Baha’i Museum.

Sacred Spaces Tours

The Charleston Interreligious Council creates an opportunity for the community to have a personal tour of various spaces of faith and religious practice throughout Charleston. Each tour is conducted by a knowledgeable person of that community who offers a short presentation about their faith, about the space they hold sacred, and their community’s history in Charleston. The presentation is followed by a question and answer period. Tours often end with a small reception. Participants are able to walk away knowing more about the community and the diversity of Charleston. All tours are open and free to the public. Please join us and get to know the various religious traditions represented in Charleston. 

 
A lively conversation about Feasting and Fasting during our 2018 Food and Faith event, January 29, 2018.

A lively conversation about Feasting and Fasting during our 2018 Food and Faith event, January 29, 2018.

Food and Faith 

Each year the Charleston Interreligious Council partners with The College of Charleston Religious Studies and Jewish Studies programs to host its Food and Faith Program. The Charleston community gathers together to dialogue and share a meal, while learning about the customs and practices surrounding food in the Jewish and Muslim faith traditions. Speakers from both communities share information about the topic, followed by a question and answer session. All participants then share a meal prepared by the Jewish and Muslim communities of Charleston while they discuss topics organized by table. This is a lively and interesting discussion, not to mention an incredible mea!.

 
A Spirited Brunch participant enjoying delicious snacks offered during her visit.

A Spirited Brunch participant enjoying delicious snacks offered during her visit.

Spirited Brunch

Modeled after our Sacred Space Tours, the CIC partners with the College of Charleston Religious Studies Program and the Post and Courier in offering the Spirited Brunch every spring. The Spirited Brunch invites the Charleston community to get to know and enjoy some food from over a dozen participating houses of worship. Participants receive a map of the area with a list of all the participating congregations. Many are able to visit 5-6 houses of worship in a day, learning about the various traditions, and sampling a snack representative of each faith. Its an exciting event and we encourage you to attend! Click below for more information about the Spirited Brunch and how to get involved. 

 
2017 Thanksgiving Service held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

2017 Thanksgiving Service held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

The CIC hosts an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service annually. Held in a different house of worship each year, clergy, choirs and laypeople from a variety of Charleston Communities organize an inspiring space of thanksgiving. A reception follows the service. Those attending are encouraged to bring non-perishable foods or a financial contribution that is donated to the Lowcountry Food Bank. Please click below to see pictures from our past services or to find out about our upcoming service. 

 
A visit to Mepkin Abbey, April 10, 2018

A visit to Mepkin Abbey, April 10, 2018

Special Events/Topics

Each year, the CIC hosts panel discussions, lectures, dinners and other gatherings on topics of particular interest. Please click below for such events.