C e n t e r  f o r  I n t e r f a i t h  E n c o u n t e r






Participation during the Fest, which began with about 50 individuals at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, peaked at Little Falls (over 120 people), and averaged between 25 and 30 at the other locations. (Figures include attending children.)

The John Gospel Diversity Fest was aimed primarily at the women of St. Cloud and its rural environs. To especially enable working mothers to attend some or all of the events from 6.30 to 9 p.m., free food and baby-sitting facilities were arranged for all. Some individuals, groups, and businesses of St. Cloud, when approached by CIE, felt inspired to generously contribute food, drink, cash, gift certificates, and even volunteers, thus making CIE's wishes come true. Among these were the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of St. Cloud, Catholic Charities Food Shelf, Sam's Club, the Erpelding family, and Ms. Lorraine Russell.

Daily handouts of the gospel passages carried English transliteration-and-translation of the Greek texts under discussion. These handouts enabled participants to read what was being chanted, presented, and expounded. A quiz at the close of some of the sessions helped in part to sustain participants' interest through the presentations, interfaith prayer-and-dance session (15 minutes daily), and full-house question-and-answer session. Prizes were offered to quiz winners or full-attendance participants on five presentation days. The prizes were provided by local/regional businesses such as Herbergers, Catholic Charities, Catholic Bookshop (aka St. Cloud Bookshop), New Life Christian Bookstore, and by religious communities such as St. Francis Convent.

Mr & Mrs Erpelding and their children H, I, and J attended all seven days of the Fest. They managed the refreshments among other things. From Little Falls, MN, came Baha'i members J. and G. Skoog, daily attendees of the Fest. J. Hannig, a Roman Catholic, too, was a regular attendee. Daily she brought along different participants, including her husband.

The John Gospel Diversity Fest was inaugurated with a symbolic cutting of the ribbon on Saturday, June 17, at 6.30 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church by Ms. Willie White, a leading African American member of Calvary Baptist Church.