Comparative Religion

Temple Beth El Presents its 17th Annual Comparative Religion Series
“EVIL   …   Human or Divine?”
Tuesday Evenings January 21 – February 25, 2014,  7:00 – 9:00 pm at Temple Beth El

CHARLOTTE, NC – Why does evil exist?  Temple Beth El’s 17th Annual Comparative Religion Series will explore the roots of evil and the ever changing face of evil in our world.  Temple Beth El’s Comparative Religion Committee invites the entire community to attend this series that seeks to understand the religious perspectives on the question: “EVIL   …   Human or Divine?”
This January and February, educators and religious leaders representing nine Charlotte area faiths will discuss their faith’s perspectives on the topic of EVIL.  Our guest lecturers will provide compelling answers to such questions as:  How is evil defined in your faith’s theology?  Is evil necessary?  Is “free will” responsible for evil or is evil preordained?  Has there been a theological evolution in your faith’s concept of evil?  When confronted with evil, how are one’s actions and responses guided by their faith? 
The public is invited to join us at Temple Beth El (5101 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28226).  Sessions will run from 7:00 to 9:00 PM on six consecutive Tuesday evenings, beginning January 21, 2014.  Educators and religious leaders representing Judaism, Greek Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Mennonite, Baha’i, Islam, Unitarian/Universalism, and Evangelical Christianity will offer their perspectives and respond to your questions on the topic “EVIL   …   Human or Divine?”

Judy Schindler, Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth El, and Chanoch Oppenheim, Rabbi and Director of the Charlotte Torah Center, will provide an introduction to the Series on January 21st, which will deepen our understanding of the course of study, and will encourage us to engage in thought-provoking discussions with our guest lecturers throughout the Series.

Schedule of Speakers:
•    January 28:        Father Steve Dalber, St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church – Greek Orthodox perspective
                              Reverend Ollie Rencher, St. Peter's Episcopal Church - Episcopal Perspective
                              See speaker bios below

•    February 4:      Tamar Myers, Daughter of former African Mennonite Missionaries – Mennonite perspective

•    February 11:    Representative Jim Pitts,  The Baha'i Community of Charlotte, NC- Baha’i Faith perspective
                            Sam Wazan, author of Trapped in Four Square Miles, -  Islamic perspective

•    February 18:      Reverend Robin Tanner, Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church – Unitarian/Universalist perspective

•    February 25:      Pastor Mike Moses, Lake Forest Church- Evangelical Christian perspective

•    March 4:            Snow date

This year’s program has been planned by the Temple Beth El Comparative Religion Committee and is offered at no cost to the public. Sandra Gold Weinstein, a long time Temple Beth El member, has been a fan of the Comparative Religion Series and other community programs we host. She has established the Sandra Gold Weinstein Fund for Community Hospitality to provide refreshments to our guests at various Temple programs to which we invite the community at large.  Donations made be made to this fund by making checks payable to Temple Beth El- Sandra Gold Weinstein Fund for Community Hospitality or by clicking here

Father Steve Dalber- St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church, Charlotte, NC 

Father Steve received his Master of Divinity degree in May 1994, and was ordained on December 4, 1994. From the time of his ordination through May 1995, he served at Saint George Cathedral in Manchester, New Hampshire. Father Steve then served as Assistant Priest and Youth Director at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Newport News, Virginia, until October 1998, when he joined the Saint Nektarios community in Charlotte.

The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher- Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church, Charlotte, NC

The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher has served as the Rector (Senior Pastor) of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Center City Charlotte since September 2012.  Before ministry in Charlotte, Ollie and his wife (Ellie Rolfes Rencher) lived in Memphis, Tennessee, where he served as the Senior Associate Rector of Church of the Holy Communion and was responsible for outreach, pastoral care, and congregational development.  He has served in Oxford, Mississippi as the Assistant Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and Episcopal Campus Minister at the University of Mississippi.  Ollie graduated from the General Theological Seminary of The Episcopal Church in New York after serving in the areas of marketing and business development for healthcare and telecommunications institutions in Jackson, Mississippi.  His ministry journey has been included with disaster recovery programs, racial reconciliation initiatives, outreach and social justice ministries, and community revitalization commitments.

The annual Comparative Religion Series was established 17 years ago with the intent to educate our community, promote understanding and respect for all faiths, and reveal the commonalities in our differences. For more information, please visit or call Temple Beth El at 704-366-1948.

Temple Beth El is a welcoming and spiritual Reform congregation, providing opportunities for all those who wish to engage in Jewish life through prayer, study and social action, while supporting each other in times of joy and sorrow. With 1,000 member families, Temple Beth El is the largest Reform Jewish congregation in the Carolinas.