Interfaith Forum: Building Bridges of Understanding

Events and Programs

Specific times and places for Interfaith Forum events are announced through our membership email list as well as our Facebook page.


Saturday, January 14, 2017, 5 PM

PROGRAM WITH POTLUCK: On Saturday, January 14, 2017 enjoy a fabulous potluck followed by Dr. Louis Venters speaking on Race, Religion, and Social Change: Lessons from the Baha'is in Jim Crow South Carolina. The potluck starts at 5 ​pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1135 State Park Road, Greenville SC. Cutlery, plates and drinks provided; please bring a favorite dish to share. Louis Venters is associate professor of history at Francis Marion University, but he grew up here in Greenville.  He will sign copies of his recent book, No Jim Crow Church, at the end of the evening.

Thursday, February 2, 2017, 6:30 PM

FAITH WALK: As part of the Forum’s continuing Faith Walk series, you are invited to learn more about Islam during a Q&A session at the Taylors Mosque on Thursday, February 2. The program begins with snacks and coffee at 6:30 pm and will include a chance to observe evening prayers.  The mosque address is 96 Meridian Avenue, near the intersection of West Lee Road and Wade Hampton Boulevard (a block or so north of Denny’s).   The program is hosted by the Outreach Committee of the Islamic Society of Greenville. 

Because the February event at the mosque was so well received, the mosque is planning to open its doors to visitors once a month. 

when: various Thursdays
where: Taylors Mosque, 96 Meridian Ave, Taylors, SC 29687
 what: Mosque tour and information session. 
Access the list of open houses and instrucitons for making reservations at this link:  a 

Thursday, February 23, 2017, 7:00 PM

The annual winter interfaith panel at Furman promises to be especially interesting.  Come one, come all; NO RSVP needed!
when: Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7pm
where: Johns Hall 101
 what: Fasting and Faith.

Moderator Dr. Bryan Bibb will explore the broader context of fasting in the religious world while the panelists will speak about the specifics in their respective faiths: Baha'i, Islam, Judaism, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Co-Sponsored by the Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection, The Atlantic Institute, the Furman Interfaith Youth Core, and the Interfaith Forum of Greenville.

Thursday, March 2, 6:30-8:30pm at the Taylors Mosque

Because the February event at the mosque was so well received, the mosque is planning to open its doors to visitors once a month. 

when: Thursday, March 2, 6:30-8:30pm
where: Taylors Mosque, 96 Meridian Ave, Taylors, SC 29687
 what: Mosque tour and information session.

The next chance to visit will be Thursday, March 2, 6:30-8:30pm at the Taylors Mosque, 96 Meridian Ave (about a block north of Denny's). The program will begin with snacks and an information session. After that, there will be a chance to observe prayers plus time for Q&A.  Space is limited. Please RSVP (or ask to be on the email list for future visits) by emailing

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The next event in the FAITH WALK series is the ninth annual ShalomFest at the Temple of Israel on Spring Forest Road this coming Sunday, April 2.  It's a fascinating mix of food, fun, and education. Find all the information at

Thursday, April 6 at 7 pm

Learn "How Storytelling Can Heal the World" with noted Irish poet and theologian Padraig O Tuama on Thursday, April 6, at 7pm in the Daniel Chapel at Furman University.  Padraig works as a community leader with Corrymeela, Northern Ireland's oldest peace and reconciliation organization. 

Thursday, April 20, at 6:30 pm, in the Younts Conference Center at Furman University

On Thursday, April 20, at 6:30 pm, in the Younts Conference Center at Furman University. one of the Forum's past board members, Tony McDade (formerly with Gaihn and now at United Ministries), will be honored for his interfaith work and community service at the annual Peace and Dialogue Awards Dinner sponsored by the Atlantic Institute. Here's the link to information on purchasing tickets to the event:

Sunday, May 14, at 11am at the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

In May, the featured FAITH WALK program will be a Flower Communion on Sunday, May 14, at 11am at the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1135 State Park Road in Greenville. The Flower Communion was created in 1923 as a symbolic ritual to create fellowship among participants from various faith traditions. Upon entering the church, each person places his/her flower in a vase to create a multi-hued bouquet. After the service, each person takes a flower contributed by someone else.  It's not mandatory to bring your own flower because there will be extras on hand, but please do so if you can. Any blossom, from a dandelion to a daffodil to a rose will do. A coffee hour follows the service. 

Tuesday, June 13, at 6pm:  Potluck and Election

The annual potluck plus elections for new members of the IF Board will be on Tuesday, June 13, at 6pm at the Baha'i Center, 132 Greenacre Road. Please RSVP by emailing Cathy Jaggars if you’re coming so she can make sure there are ample forks and drinks to accompany whatever you bring to the table:
The slate of nominees will be presented after dinner and nominations will also be taken from the floor before the election begins.

Friday, August 25, 2017th at 6:15pm: Walk of Faith

This event will showcase a Shabbat and will be held at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue, 425 Summit Drive, Greenville, SC 29609.

A Shabbat service offers an opportunity to contemplate the spiritual aspects of life and to spend time with family.  In the Jewish tradition, it is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night.

Rabbi Mathew Marko, who presides over the Beth Israel congregation, will begin the service at 6:15 pm with a brief presentation, and the Shabbat service itself will be held from 7:00 pm until 8:00 pm.  Refreshments will follow, with more opportunities to ask questions!

Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 8:30 Walk of Faith

Please RSVP to Space is limited to 20 people. First come, first serve.

Srinvasa Kalyana Utsavam
Lord Srinivasa and Devi Padmavathi

Thiru Kalyana Utsavam refers to the traditional wedding celebration of the Divine Lord Srinivasa and His Divine Consort Padmavathi Devi also known as Alamelumanga Devi.

Lord Srinivasa also known as Lord Balaji or Kord Venkateswara lived in Tirumalai. He was none other than Lord Vishnu in a different form. Once while hunting a wild boar, Lord Venkateswara meets Devi Padmavathi, the daughter of Akasharaja, the ruler of those parts. Akasharaja found Padmavathi Devi as a baby while setting up a Yagnasala and brought her up as his own daughter. Smitten by the dazzling beauty of the Divine Padmavathi, Lord Srinivasa sends his foster mother Vakulamalika to seek Padmavathi's hand in marriage. The Seven Great Sages and Sage Narmada advise Akasharaja that Lord Srinivasa is MahaVishnu and Padmavathi is Mahalakshmi Incarnate and hence the whole world would benefit by this Holy Union. Thus, the Holy Matrimony takes place amidst great rejoicing and all glory.

Today, we celebrate Lord Srinivasa and Devi Pedmavathi Kalyana Utsavam to seek the blessings of the Divine Couple and also for the peace and prosperity of the universe. The traditions of a typical wedding are followed in an elaborate manner during Kalyana Utsavam. The Vara or Groom's side and the Vadhu or Bride's side are represented in the function. The traditional exchange of garlands and tossing of the flower ball also hold a very important place in the celebrations. Then the marriage takes place amongst chanting of Mantras. The Holy Tirumangalyam is tied around the neck of the Holy Bride. This is the most important part of the wedding.

8:30 am Sankalpam
9:00 am - 11:30 am Kalyana Utsavam
11:30 am - 12:30 pm Ratha Yatra
Questions & Answers
12:45 pm Aarthi & Prasad
1:00 pm Lunch

Vedic Center of Greenville
520 Bethel Drive, Mauldin, South Carolina 29662

Thursday, October 26, 2017: Interfaith Dinner Dialogue

This event is a program bringing people of diverse backgrounds together in private homes to share a meal and reflect on the role of faith, spirituality and shared values in their lives. Click here to register as an attendee or host for the Upstate’s Interfaith Dinner Dialogues, Thursday, October 26th, 2017, 6:30 - 9:00 PM. **Registration closes on October 15th, 2017. Please register before then.** View informational postcard.

Sunday, December 3, 6:30 pm: Advent Lessons and Carols

St James Episcopal Church
301 Piney Mt Rd
Greenville, SC 29609
The clergy and choirs of St James offer an annual gift of prayer, Scripture, and Advent hymns and music to bless our Advent and to help us reflect on the mystery of this holy season.  Everyone is invited to come and bring a friend to this free event.  If you are interested in learning the origin of the service of Advent Lessons and Carols, Father Stephen will present a brief introduction at 6:00 in the large classroom on the lower level.  Please join us.  If you have questions, contact Victoria Chance 864-616-0154.   

Sunday, December 3, 8:00 pm: LDS Christmas Devotional

The LDS Christmas Devotional will be available in both local meetinghouses specifically either: 
400 Farrs Bridge Road, Greenville, SC  or 
1301 Boiling Springs Road, Greer, SC 
It is also available by watching it on the BYU channel or  The First Presidency invites Church members and their friends to participate in the First Presidency’s Christmas devotional broadcast on Sunday, December 3, 2017, at 8:00 p.m.
The program, originating from the Conference Center, will include Christmas messages by General Authorities and General Officers of the Church. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will provide the music. If anyone has further questions they can either contact Jim Axelson - 864-834-8123 or Jason Berry - 864-386-1834

2016 In Review:

Thursday, February 25th, 7:00-8:15 p.m. at Furman University 

A panel discussion, moderated by Professor Emeritus David Rutledge, focusing on several faith traditions and communities that have been marginalized and/or demonized in the U.S. during the past century.  (location TBA)

Winter Film Event:
Monday, April 11, 2016 at 7pm at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School. 

The film is an inspiring documentary titled The Children of Chabannes. Afterwards, Norbert Bikales, a holocaust survivor and one of the children saved by the citizens of the town of Chabannes, will speak about his own experience and answer questions. This year’s film event is presented in conjunction the Greenville Jewish Federation, Furman University, BMW, and The Humanities Council of South Carolina

Author Presentation
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 7pm in the Younts Conference Center at Furman University
Wednesday, April 13, at 7pm at Dorman High School Fine Arts Center in Roebuck SC
Thursday, April 14 at 7pm at Christ Church Episcopal School. 

As an adjunct to the film event, another Holocaust survivor, Gerda Bikales, will discuss her harrowing life as a Jewish child in Germany during World War II.  Her book is Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and it will be for sale at all three venues. The dates are Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 7pm in the Younts Conference Center at Furman University; Wednesday, April 13, at 7pm at Dorman High School Fine Arts Center in Roebuck SC; and Thursday, April 14 at 7pm at Christ Church Episcopal School. 

National Day of Prayer observance
May 5, 2016 -

Interfaith Forum annual potluck and elections
May 17, 2016 (place and time TBA in late April)

Bring a dish to share and be prepared to vote for new Board members and also on a constitutional amendment. 

Report on Interfaith Book Groups
June 2016

Hear from several group members about their reading experiences, receive a list of the groups’ favorite books, and find out where/when they meet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 7pm at the Hughes Main Library in Greenville: Expanding Your Religious Horizons

Did you know that the Baha’i Faith is the second largest religion in South Carolina? Or that Governor Nikki Haley was born into Sikhism before converting to Christianity? Have you heard that the Piedmont Humanists regularly pick up litter along a stretch of Pelham Road as a service project? And that there is a Christian Science Reading Room on North Main Street? The Interfaith Forum and the Atlantic Institute are partnering to present a panel discussion featuring representatives from these four faiths, who will outline the basics of their beliefs and provide insight into the difficulties they have faced by being members of a minority group.

The four panelists are: Dr. Parampal Singh Bhullar, a Sikh who is a palliative care physician with GHS; Cathy Jaggars, a Secular Humanist and retired Marine who is an adjunct professor at Greenville Tech ; Joel Sprague, a Christian Scientist who leads a research laboratory for TRI/Environmental in Anderson;  and Cyn Massey, a Bahá'í who heads the Woodruff Library in Spartanburg County.

Thursday, October 27, 2016: The Annual Upstate Interfaith Dinner Dialogues. 6:30 - 9 PM

This event is a program bringing people of diverse backgrounds together in private homes to share a meal and reflect on the role of faith, spirituality and shared values in their lives. View informational postcard.
Registration closed on October 15th, 2017. Thank you to all those who participated this year.



2015 In Review:

Upstate’s Interfaith Dinner Dialogues (October) 

Panel Discussion on The role of Religion in Peacemaking and Division (February):

Three Furman professors examined places around the world where religion has often been a source of conflict. This popular event was standing-room-only.

To Light a Candle Film Screening (February):

This documentary covered the continuing persecution of the Bahá'ís in Iran and the underground university they created after being denied access to higher education.

Secrets of an Interfaith Book Club (March):

A report on the two existing groups, which have been meeting for seven years. Two new groups were subsequently formed, which means there are now four active interfaith book clubs sponsored by the Interfaith Forum.

With One Voice Film Screening (April):

Mystics from several spiritual traditions shared perspectives on the unifying truth that transcends all religions.

Interfaith Service for the National Day of Prayer (May):

Held at the Poor Clare Monastery in Travelers Rest.

Annual Meeting (May):

Covered dish meal followed by elections and reports.

2014 In Review:

Upstate’s Interfaith Dinner Dialogues (October)

This annual event is a program bringing people of diverse backgrounds together in private homes to share a meal and reflect on the role of faith, spirituality and shared values in their lives.

Interfaith Delivery Day for Meals on Wheels (May)

Kinyarwanda Film Screening (May)

Annual Meeting & Covered Dish Supper at The Monastery of St. Clare (May)

National Day of Prayer Interfaith Service and Breakfast at The Kroc Center (May)

Sacred Space: The Promise of Peace and Understanding Film (March)

Spiritual Leaders Breakfast (March)

Altruism and Vocation: Jewish and Christian Perspectives Moderated Panel Discussion (January)

A moderated panel discussion with Dr. John Shelley, Professor of Religion Emeritus, Furman University and
Rabbi Marc Wilson, Founder/Director of the Year of Altruism

Drop-in at the Governor's Mansion in Columbia (January)

Governor Nikki Haley proclaimed January as SC Interfaith Harmony Month at the South Carolina State House in Columbia.

Other Events Held Periodically

Greenville Tech International Students Dialogues

Based on the Upstate’s Interfaith Dinner Dialogues’ model, the international students are invited into private homes where they share a meal and discuss their faith traditions in an atmosphere of mutual respect and engaged listening. The experience has proven to bring students together during their time on campus and creates a shared understanding that diminishes the potential for dissension.

Festival of Faiths

This festival, held periodically and often produced in cooperation with Furman University and Greenville Technical College, celebrates the rich variety of Greenville’s religious traditions through lectures, panels, art exhibits and music presentations.

Golden Rule Workshop

A program offered to businesses, schools, faith communities and other groups that uses a teaching common to all religious communities to provide skills in compassionate behavior and interfaith understanding.


Interfaith Forum co-sponsors events in the larger community that seek to build understanding between faith communities and traditions.

Book Club Discussion Groups

For several years, Interfaith Forum has sponsored books clubs that offer study and dialogue around interfaith themes.