ALCOA, Tenn. (Dec. 16, 2015) – Two Holston pastors are traveling to the White House on Dec. 17 to discuss religious pluralism with leaders from other faiths, civil communities and NGOs.
The Rev. Catherine Nance, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church of Maryville, Tenn., and the Rev. Michael Sluder, Holston director of connectional ministries, were invited to Washington, D.C., by the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The convening is titled, “Celebrating and Protecting America’s Tradition of Religious Pluralism.”
Nance and Sluder were invited to join in “celebrating the American traditions of religious inclusion, freedom and cooperation among those with different beliefs,” according to the email invitation. “Officials will discuss steps they take to promote and protect these traditions. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss efforts to carry these traditions forward.”
Other United Methodists joining the discussion are Bill Mefford of the General Board of Church and Society and the Rev. Steve Martin of the National Council of Churches.
Sluder said the focus is to talk to other religious and cultural leaders about “how to work together in this current environment of fearmongering over one another’s differences. How do we get to know our neighbors instead of jumping to conclusions based on what someone else tells us to think?”
The event begins at 1 p.m. EST and will be livestreamed.