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Joint SBS-Interfaith Conversation Cafe Meetup

SBS will be exploring the possibility of finding new experts to present academic Meetup lectures later in 2013 on biblical, literary, historical or archeological topics related to the Abrahamic religions -- but meanwhile, we've decided to remain on hiatus no longer!

SBS has caught the attention of the St. Paul Area Council of Churches (SPACC) -- and they want to talk!


Secular Bible Study-

Interfaith Conversation Cafe


New Time & Place:

Monday, January 21

6:45-8:30 PM

St. Paul Area Council of Churches HQ

1671 Summit Ave, St. Paul, MN 55105

SPACC is inviting the atheists, UUers, and theists of Secular Bible Study to have a joint meetup with their "interfaith dialogue" group -- the St. Paul Interfaith Network (SPIN) "Interfaith Conversation Cafe" (ICC), which is co-hosted by none other than our own long-time SBS member, Steve Miller.

According to their website (, ICC is "an interfaith dialogue focused on questions of faith as they affect our world. Open, facilitated conversations address topics of faith and society - by listening and questioning with curiosity, discovery and sincerity."

Why should SBS jointly meetup with ICC? One of our original purposes according to our co-founders, Chester Barber & Grant Steves, and our sponsors, the Methodist church and Minnesota Atheists, was to encourage local "interfaith groups" to become more inclusive in inviting atheists and secular humanists into their dialogue -- so this is our chance!

This joint ICC-SBS Meetup will be a little different than SBS's usual style: Rather than have a lecture followed by discussion, we'll follow ICC's "Socrates Cafe"-style of choosing a popular topic for discussion that same evening. Also, we'll pass a "talking stick" (or related object) and sit in a circle, to facilitate dialogue (and minimize yelling!). But with folks like Steve Miller hosting, we should have no dearth of informed, thoughtful conversation about our topic of majority interest.

There will also be a snack available, as well as coffee/tea (but bring your own mug) -- an expenses-defraying donation jar will be out, but we'll not be asked to do anything more than stare ominously at it. (Besides, Frank Burton will be putting in some cash for us.)

This joint Meetup will NOT be held at First Universalist Church, but at SPACC HQ's St. Paul meeting room facility on Summit Ave, 2 blocks west of Snelling or 10 blocks east of the Mississippi River, on the north side of Summit Ave., opposite Macalester College (see map link). Conversation begins promptly at 7:00 pm; doors are open at 6:30 pm.

Finally, if rather than bringing out the long knives we all enjoy engaging in reasoning, extemporaneous dialogue between those of various faiths and no faith at all, then this joint ICC-SBS meetup invitation may become recurring.

So come on over to Summit Ave. and see what the "new interfaith dialogue" is all about, joining us for SPIN's first "outreach" invitation to the secular community to dialogue on issues of religion in society!

Don't miss this Joint ICC-SBS Meetup! RSVP "YES" today, and make your thoughts known -- to all!

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member


    January 22, 2013

  • Frank B.

    Some planned attendees noted their cars couldn't start in the -10F weather this evening -- fortunately Paul Douglas' long-range forecasts suggest it'll be a bit warmer when we meet ICC again on Feb 17 (but we'll see!) :)

    January 22, 2013

  • Frank B.

    Out of four proposed topics ("What bothers/pleases you about...?", "MLK," "Gun Control," & "Young Earth Creationism"), we voted to discuss MLK on Martin Luther King Day -- and heard some heartfelt thoughts. SBS will meetup with ICC again on the third Monday of February -- bring your favorite topic!

    January 22, 2013

  • Frank B.

    One possibie topic for the evening of Obama's Inauguration Day: The Causes of Racial Segregation in the Church?

    January 17, 2013

  • Lee

    It's a bit too far for me to bus, but I'm still able and willing to do my presentation on William Blake and the Bible. I'd probably be able to do it in the spring.

    January 14, 2013

  • Frank B.

    Hi Rita Joan -- if we start a bit earlier to worm south through rush hour traffic, I should be able to give you a lift. I'll contact you directly concerning your home address.

    January 11, 2013

  • Steve M.

    Frank and Rita Joan, is it possible you both could work something out? I know Frank offered to bring up to 3 folks from South Minneapolis, but possibly Rita Joan is not too far off the beaten track. I usually have responsibilities for someone from St. Paul or I would try.

    January 11, 2013

  • Rita J.

    Thanks for the invite. I would really love to come to this meeting, but I have found night driving in the winter to places far from my home is beyond my capability. Night driving is no problem in other seasons. If there is any car pooling among members from NE Minneapolis I would be able to come. I know that I will really enjoy this group when I can come.

    January 11, 2013

  • Steve M.

    To echo what Frank is saying, this is a very open and welcoming program. A Universalist Unitarian congregation has held Sunday services at SPACC. Bjorn Watland of Twin Cities Atheists has been a speaker at an event sponsored by St. Paul Interfaith Network (SPIN) which is ICC's umbrella organization. Topics have included the shootings in Newton, Connecticut, reaction to betrayal by loved ones, and what should our reaction be to natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti. One doesn't have to be "religious" to be concerned with these issues. Besides the people who show up pick the topic--what about living in our present world to you want to discuss?

    January 11, 2013

  • Frank B.

    I can take 3 people from South Mpls "over the river and through the woods" to Summit Avenue -- let me know if you need a ride. And no, I have no idea what snack SPACC will have for us!

    January 11, 2013

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