Bahai News -- Register Citizen - NCCC tackles new topic Front Page

NCCC tackles new topic

PIETER VANNOORDENNEN, Register Citizen StaffMarch 10, 2003

WINSTED -- A new program at Northwestern Connecticut Community College is helping area residents understand religions throughout the world.

"We hear a lot about the United Nations, but we never think about what it is like where these people come from," Gwendolyn Gardner, director of Continuing and Extended Studies, said. "This is to give people an idea of what other cultures are about."

The World Religions program - new this year - was started in response to the increasing importance of global issues. These issues have their roots in religion, NCCC professor Gardener said.

"Many political aspects are impacted by religion," Gardener said.

The program features a lecture series and classes aimed at giving the public a wider understanding of how religion impacts foreign cultures.

Every Tuesday night until April 22, the school will host a lecture focusing on the major world religions. This Tuesday, Chester Makoski of the Northeast Baha’i Council will discuss the Baha’i faith, a religion founded in the mid-19th century that currently has around five million followers.

The program tries to get practitioners of the religion to speak, instead of having clergy or professors, NCCC professor Claire Vreeland said.

"The idea is that all religions teach their parishioners how to deal with life," Vreeland said.

Protestant, Roman Catholic, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism will be presented in coming weeks.

Vreeland got the idea for the program while doing an interfaith seminar at Untied Methodist Church in Winsted.

"It is really essential for us now to understand our world neighbors and our next door neighbors," Vreeland said. "Understanding other people’s religions is vital to the peace process."

Lectures are held Tuesday nights from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Cost of admission is $10.

NCCC’s Continuing Education program also offers two classes for more in depth learning on specific religions.

"Islam - A Look At The Basics" looks at the teachings of the Quran and the life of the Prophet Mohammed. The class, taught by Mary Lou Tanner, is designed for people with little knowledge of the Islamic faith.

The class is held on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. starting March 20. The cost is $29.

Jerry Oakes will teach "The Bible Code & The Jesus Connection." Connections between Christian and non-Christian teachings and advances in science will be discussed. All classes are open to the public.

©Copyright 2003, Register Citizen (CT, USA)

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