Local church hosts conference to promote political discussion

Monday, September 15, 2008 | 5:17 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — With the election season well under way, politics is being discussed among family, friends and faith groups. To help inspire and promote community conversation, Missouri United Methodist Church is hosting a conference titled "Civil Dialogue in an Election Year" from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The conference is sponsored by Friends of Peace Studies, a group that promotes education, research and action through MU's peace studies program.

The event is an opportunity for members of the Columbia community to learn skills to help promote civil political discussions, according to a news release. The conference is part of the Faith and Education Collaborative to foster conversation among communities of faith to encourage understanding and peace.

The conference features Sarah Read, president of the Communications Center, and will be followed by small-group listening circles that will include people from different faiths, backgrounds and political beliefs.

"I believe it is important for all people to have civil dialogue around political issues," Read said. "That is how we can best learn from each other and work together to understand and solve the complex issues that affect our present and will shape our future."

The conference is $5 per person and registration is required. Send checks payable to MUMC c/o the Rev. Otto Steinhaus, 904 Red Oak Lane, Columbia, MO 65203. Walk-in registrations will also be welcomed.

For more information, contact Steinhaus by e-mail at or call 442-6886.

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