Baha’i faith first to be discussed in Interfaith Dialogues

By Tammy Keith Originally Published September 26, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated September 25, 2013 at 6:22 p.m.
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Jeannie Denniston, 62, an attorney in Morrilton, will be the first speaker in the Interfaith Dialogue series that begins Tuesday at the Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce. She will discuss the Baha’i faith.

MORRILTON — Jeannie Denniston of Morrilton said that when she first heard about the Baha’i faith after graduating from college, she wasn’t interested.

“My first thought was, ‘That’s all we need, another religion,’” she said.

She was acting in a play at The Repertory Theatre in Little Rock, she said, and a fellow actor mentioned it.

He invited her to a fireside, a gathering where the Baha’i faith is explained.

“My heart was struck,” Denniston said. “I thought, ‘Well, I don’t know if you people believe this, but I do.’”

After investigating the religion for six months, she became a Baha’i. That was 41 years ago, and she’s still enthusiastic about her faith.

Denniston, 62 and an attorney, will be the first speaker in the Interfaith Dialogue series, which will begin Tuesday in Morrilton.

Speakers will discuss different faiths at 6 p.m. at the Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce, 115 E. Broadway. Refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m.

Anne Queen, one of the series organizers, said, “Our own faith can be deepened by understanding others.”

Last year’s series was so successful that organizers decided to do it again, Queen said.

Sessions will be held each Tuesday through Oct. 29.

“It is our desire in these sessions to work together for justice and peace throughout the world, beginning in our own community,” Queen said in a letter to churches and organizations.

Denniston said the Baha’i faith may not be familiar to many people, but it is becoming more well-known.

“It’s one of the fastest-growing religions in the world,” Denniston said of the Baha’i faith. “It’s more diverse, more widespread.”

She said that, among other teachings, Baha’is believe there is one God, one humankind, one creator, and that men and women are created equal.

“We believe in one religion, that God has sent different messengers to different areas of Earth,” she said.

The Baha’i faith was founded by Baha’u’llah in the mid-1800s.

Other sessions will be as follows:

Oct. 8 — Rabbi Eugene Levy, Judaism, and the Rev. Frank LaBlanc, Christianity

Oct. 15 — Nilu Runge, Hinduism, and the Rev. Beth Turner, Christianity

Oct. 22 — Sophia Said, Islam, and Deb Cooper, Christianity

Oct. 29 — Jack Harris, Catholicism, and the Rev. Todd-Paul Taulbee, Protestantism

For more information, call Turner at (501) 266-2068.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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