Home 2018-07-19T19:35:27+00:00


24th Annual Festival of Faiths

April 23-27, 2019

Louisville, KY


THE 23RD ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF FAITHS is a five-day nationally acclaimed multi-faith celebration of music, poetry, art, film, and dialogue with spiritual leaders, practitioners, and teachers.



Lyla June Johnston

Pat McCabe

Diane Rehm

Ruby Sales

Lynne Twist

Lyla June Johnston is an artist, human ecologist, public speaker, and community organizer of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne), and European lineages. Her multi-genre performance style has invigorated and inspired audiences across the globe towards healing. Her messages focus on Indigenous rights, supporting youth, inter-cultural healing, historical trauma, and traditional land stewardship practices.
Pat McCabe (Weyakpa Najin Win, Woman Stands Shining), whose indeginous name is Weyakpa Najin Win (Woman Stands Shining), is a Dine’ (Navajo) mother, grandmother, activist, artist, writer, ceremonial leader, and international speaker. She is a voice for global peace, and her paintings are created as tools for individual, earth, and global healing. She draws upon the deep Indigenous sciences of thriving life to reframe questions about sustainability and balance, and she is devoted to supporting the next generations, the “Women’s Nation” and the “Men’s Nation,” in being functional members of the “Hoop of Life” and upholding the honor of being human.
For nearly 40 years, Diane Rehm engaged millions of radio listeners through her daily broadcast focused on news, social issues, and the arts. Among many honors she has received is the National Humanities Medal, given to her in 2014 by President Barack Obama. After leaving the air at the end of 2016, Diane’s memoir, “On My Own,” was a national bestseller. She hosts a weekly podcast, through her personal website www.drshow.org, or iTunes.
Ruby Sales answered the call to social justice in her teens at the Tuskegee Institute, where she joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and worked on voter registration in Alabama. Ruby is a highly regarded theologian whose inspiring words have focused on such topics as (most recently) the deaths of African Americans by white police, security guards, and vigilantes, for which she has compiled a national database on these events. The SpiritHouse Project, which she founded, has created events, teach-ins, demonstrations, etc. to focus on this significant problem or our times.
A global visionary, Lynne Twist is committed to alleviating poverty, ending world hunger, and supporting social justice and environmental sustainability. Through a variety of experiences ranging from working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta to advising some of the world’s wealthiest families on philanthropy, Lynne has gained a deep understanding of people’s relationships with money. She is the author of “The Soul of Money,” co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance, and founder of the Soul of Money Institute.

Sharon Salzberg

Cemalnur Sargut

Monica Coleman

Becca Stevens

Omid Safi

Sharon Salzberg is a central figure in the field of meditation, a world-renowned teacher, and a New York Times bestselling author. She has played a crucial role in bringing meditation and mindfulness practices into the West, and into mainstream culture since 1974. She is co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass., and the author of ten books, including “Real Love.” Sharon offers a secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them readily accessible.
Cemalnur Sargut has been president of the Turkish Women’s Cultural Association since 2000. She is one of Turkey’s deepest and most inspiring Muslim spiritual teachers, who is leading a resurgence in the study and practice of Sufism, the mystical dimension of Islam. The association she heads reaches millions of people “who would like to apply solutions to today’s problems in the Sufi view that knowledge is a state to be practiced, and worship is a journey toward love.”
Monica A. Coleman is professor of Constructive Theology and African-American Religions at Claremont School of Theology in Southern California. Answering her call to the ministry at 19 years of age, she is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, priest, social entrepreneur, and founder of Thistle Farms. A victim of child abuse, she opened in 1997 a haven for survivors in a loving community, initially for five women who had experienced trafficking, violence, and addiction. Twenty years later, Thistle Farms continues to welcome women with free residences that provide housing, medical care, therapy, and education for two-year terms. The global market of Thistle Farms helps employ more than 1,800 women worldwide, and the national network has more than 40 sister communities.Becca will be accompanied by 2015 Graduate and Survivor Leaders, Ty and Kristin.
Omid Safi is a leading Muslim public intellectual in the United States, and he writes a column for “On Being.” He is director of the Duke University Islamic Studies Center, where he specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam, and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. He is committed to traditions that link together love and justice. He is among the most popular speakers on Islam in mainstream media.

Najah Bazzy

Mary Berry

Tsoknyi Rinpoche

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

Hannah Drake

Najah Bazzy, R.N., is a transcultural clinical nurse specialist, and diversity specialist. She is executive director and founder of Zaman International. She is CEO of Diversity Specialists and Transcultural Health Care Solutions. Najah has an extensive background in critical care nursing with special expertise in cross-cultural health care.
Mary Berry is the executive director of the Berry Center in New Castle, Ky. She has spent most of her life farming in her native Kentucky, beginning on Lanes Landing Farm, owned by her parents, Wendell and Tanya Berry. Her own extensive experience in farming has expanded with the creation of the Berry Center, where she shares the messages of her father, the renowned poet, essayist, environmentalist, and novelist. Mary speaks all over the country as a proponent of sustainable agriculture, small farmers, and rural communities.
Tsoknyi Rinpoche is one of the most acclaimed teachers of Tibetan Buddhism trained outside of Tibet. Deeply versed in both the practical and philosophical disciplines of Tibetan Buddhism, he is known for his accessible style, his generosity, and self-deprecating humor, and his deeply personal, compassionate insight into human nature. He oversees two nunneries in Nepal, one of the largest nunneries in Tibet, and more than 50 practice centers and hermitages in the eastern region of Tibet.
Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel has studied and practiced the Buddhadharma for 30 years under the guidance of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. After meeting Rinpoche in Nepal, she became his first Western student. After many years of solitary retreat, Rinpoche appointed Elizabeth as retreat master at Longchen Jigme Samten Ling, Mangala Shri Bhuti’s retreat center in southern Colorado. Elizabeth is known for her willingness to question the spiritual path in order to reach a place of genuine practice and awakening.
Hannah Drake is a poet and novelist whose focus is on inspiring hope and deliverance, believing that her words will ultimately be used for true transformation. In 2014, she joined Roots and Wings, a dynamic group of artists based in Louisville who seek to bring social change within their community. She has published two novels, and is currently working on a new collection of poetry and life lessons entitled “Love, Revolution and Lemonade.”

Nina Simons

Brianna Harlan

Schuyler Brown

Kenza Isnasni

Safiyyah Rasool

Nina Simons is an award-winning social entrepreneur and visionary thinker. In 1990, she co-founded Bioneers with her husband and partner, Kenny Ausubel. Nina’s work currently focuses on writing and teaching about women, leadership, diversity, systems thinking, and restoring the feminine in us all. Nina edited the anthology, “Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading From the Heart,” which contains 30 essays by 40 contributors, who collectively help redefine the leadership landscape.
Brianna Harlan is a mixed media artist who creates Radically Vulnerable art to invite transformational dialogue. Themes of her work include identity, social/cultural dynamics, intimacy, oppression, and self suppression. She was selected for the inaugural class of the Creative Capital and Community Foundation of Louisville’s fellowship program, Hadley Creatives. She teaches Meyzeek Middle School students, and is community liaison at the Center for Neighborhoods.
Schuyler Brown is a futurist, facilitator, and communications strategist. Her company, Sightful, provides insight, strategy, and training to create conscious organizations and support visionary leaders in the corporate world and in social justice movements. She was named one of Origin Magazine’s 100 Top Creatives; and has taught social innovation at The School of Visual Arts. Her work infuses contemporary business practices with mystical and feminine wisdom principles.
Kenza Isnasni is the co-founder of Marrakesh Organics in Morocco. She is a humanitarian activist who is very sensitive to questions related to human rights, education, climate change, and environmental protection, interfaith and intercultural dialogue. She is a master’s student in International Relations and Diplomacy with a concentration in Peace and Conflicts Studies at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. She is currently doing research on the link between climate change and migration in the Senegal River Valley.
Safiyyah Rasool is co-owner and creative director of the Safiyyah Dance Company in Louisville. She has trained with talented hip-hop choreographers such as Willdabeast Adams, Kevin Maher, Laurianne Gibson, Luam Keflezgy, and Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo. She has choreographed many programs in the Midwest area including Actors Theatre and Stage One.

Naomi O’Connell

Caroline Goulding

Kendall Regan

Christopher Pramuk

Sharron Sales

Naomi O’Connell is an Irish-German opera singer, and actress who divides her time between the recital platform, the theatre, and opera stages. She was first prize winner of the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Competition, and was acclaimed as a “natural in the recital format” for her Carnegie Hall debut.
Violinist Caroline Goulding has blossomed into one of America’s great virtuosi since her debut as a soloist at age 13 with the Cleveland Orchestra. Recently she re-emerged from a seven-month pause to focus her attention on meditative practices and the merger of meditation and music.
Kendall Regan is a graphic designer and chalk artist specializing in illustration, branding, and hand-lettering. The Louisville based artist’s work is full of pop culture references, clever puns, and striking typographic imagery. Her playful, yet bold stylings have grabbed the attention of big brands such as Red Bull, Adobe, and Tide. When she is not working, she spends her time volunteering for her local Creative Mornings’ chapter and unwinding at her favorite neighborhood establishments. For more information on Kendall’s collective works, you can visit her website, kendallregan.com.
Dr. Christopher Pramuk is author of “Hope Sings, So Beautiful: Graced Encounters Across the Color Line” (2013), a sustained meditation on race relations in society and church, and two award-winning studies of Thomas Merton and his relationship to the Feminine Divine. Pramuk is chair of Ignatian Thought at Regis University in Denver, and he has received the International Thomas Merton Society’s “Louie,” the top honor of the organization.
Sharron Sales is a renowned singer, actress, and published author who is best known for her portrayal of the Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson. She is a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who acknowledges singing being the “universal language that God has so blessed” her to share. She is a member of the Burnett Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville. In her career, she has traveled extensively in the United States, as well as Switzerland and other countries.

Julia Purcell

Pravrajika Brahmaprana

Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

Gary Ruschman

Julia W. Purcell is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist and is one of three members of the Louisville band, Maiden Radio. Julia studied voice at Michigan State University and graduated with a music therapy degree. In addition to providing music therapy services through her business, Louisville Expressive Therapies, she teaches a Music Improvisation course at the University of Louisville. In 2010 Julia became a certified Music Together teacher and teaches early childhood parent/ child music classes at Shine studio.
Pravrajika Brahmaprana joined the Saranda Convent at the Vedanta Society of Southern California in 1973 and has been an ordained sannyasini since 1984. She is the resident minister of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. She is the author of books and articles on the philosophy and practice of Vedanta for journals and anthologies in America and abroad.
Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi is an international speaker and teacher. He uses his background in Ethics, Theology, and Spirituality as a tool in breaking social barriers, creating awareness, and healing communities. Sayed spends much of his time with interfaith organizations, and he has written on the need for dialogue, and the concepts of religion in Christianity and Islam. He lectures and does research at many universities.
Nina Beth Cardin is a rabbi, author, and environmental activist. In 1988 she was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary. Over the course of her professional life she founded the Jewish Women’s Resource Center. From 2007 until 2009 she was general consultant to the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. In 2011, she founded the Baltimore Orchard Project, which grows and distributes fruit to the poor in Balitimore.
A 2017-18 recipient of a Faith Partners residency from American Composers Forum and Bremer Trust, Kentucky native Gary Ruschman is a performer, composer, and conductor who lights up texts with tuneful, organic, and accessible music. His scores have been called "stirring" (Opera News), "soulful" (St. Paul Pioneer Press), and "rousing" (American Record Guide).Gary’s works have been performed by the South Dakota Chorale, Cantus, Dream Songs Project, Lumina, Artemis, Wartburg College, St. Michael's Choir School Toronto, and the Oregon State Meistersingers. His children's opera Nice Mice and Friendly Frogs was produced in the summer of 2015 by Minnesota Opera, and his arrangement of Run On (God’s Gonna Cut You Down) was recently used as the opening theme to BBC Two's American Justice documentary series.Working across many genres, including early music, jazz, rock, classical, operatic, and comedic settings, Gary maintains an active conducting and singing schedule across the globe, and spends much of his offstage time composing for voices. He earned music degrees with honors from Northern Kentucky University and the San Francisco Conservatory


The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
501 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202

Cathedral of the Assumption
433 S 5th St, Louisville, KY 40202

Learn more about Louisville!
Visit the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau site to plan your Festival of Faiths trip.



The mission of the Festival of Faiths is to promote interfaith understanding, cooperation, and action through exploring how different participating faith traditions address a common issue, topic, or theme. The Festival is organized and supported by the Center for Interfaith Relations.











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