MATTOON – A presentation on Religions of the World that begins at 2 p.m. Sunday (January 21, 2018) kicks off the 2018 Mattoon Public Library event series.
University of Illinois graduate students Heather Wetherholt and Beau Ott are presenters for the session that covers these topics: understanding religion, religious diversity and tolerance, religious demographics, The “Big Five” world religions, religion in America, and issues in religion today.
The Big Five world religions include Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hindu and Islam, with a focus on exploring religions uncommon to many in East Central Illinois.
“This program is designed to promote understanding of what others believe and how they think so that we might better understand the world,” said Library Director Carl Walworth. “A program that informs and challenges us, hopefully causes us to think, is a great way to spend part of Sunday afternoon and kick off a new year at the library.”
Wetherholt and Ott are both seeking graduate degrees in Religious Studies, and are teaching assistants for undergraduate courses including Religions of the World. They intend to focus on the role of different cultures and the importance of respect and diversity.
The event series is a way to highlight a variety of speakers and performers who inform, entertain and help broaden our perspective, Walworth said. Future speakers may be local or regional.
“We plan to utilize the Road Scholars program promoted by the Illinois Humanities Council. We plan to use local people on a range of topics. We plan to host an entertainer or two, and hope to host a showing of an independent film that otherwise wouldn’t be shown in this market.”
The program this Sunday is on the library’s first floor and includes light refreshments. The special event is the only part of the library available on Sunday.