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It’s the always-rambunctious, unusually heathen Kentucky Derby this week. But hark — peace, love and understanding return to Louisville next month.

The Center for Interfaith Relations will present the 19th annual Festival of Faiths, scheduled for Tuesday, May 13, through Sunday, May 18, with “Sacred Earth Sacred Self” as the theme.

Festival   of Faiths celebrates “the diversity of our faith traditions, promotes unity and strengthens the role of faith in society through common action,” according to a news release. Most of the events will be at Actors Theatre.

From the release:

The program this year focuses on the choices we make and the actions we take and how they reflect the story of our relationship with the Earth and in turn with the Divine. The Festival will feature international leaders in the areas of environmental and social justice, sustainability, agriculture and interconnectedness. Programs will include daily guided meditations, keynote addresses, films, and photographic exhibits.

• The festival will begin with an Interfaith Service: A Call to Prayer at 5:30 p.m. on Tues., May 13, at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. Fifth St. The Interfaith Service is free and open to the public.

• A highlight of the Festival will be a Wed., May 14,  joint appearance by two of America’s most notable literary figures – poet, farmer, essayist and activist Wendell Berry and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and environmentalist Gary Snyder.

The event, “Distant Neighbors,” is also the title of a new collection of Berry and Snyder’s correspondence, written over the last half century. Advance copies of that book, which will not appear in bookstores until June, will be on sale at the Festival bookstore, according to the release.

9781619023055“Distant Neighbors,” scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Pamela Brown Theater at Actors Theatre, will also feature Jack Shoemaker, founder of Counterpoint Press, as the moderator.

Tickets are available through the Actors Theatre of Louisville box office, 502-584-1205 or 800-428-5849, or online here.

Other Festival of Faiths presenters include:

• Patrick Holden, founder of Great Britain’s Sustainable Food Trust and an advisor to the Prince of Wales

• Dr. Monica Weis, SSJ, author of “The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton” (2011)

• Dr. Julian Agyeman, professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University

• Sheik Hamza Yusuf, president, co-founder, and senior faculty member at Zaytuna College, America’s first Muslim liberal arts college

• H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, president and spiritual head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, one of India’s largest spiritual institutions

• Ed Bastian, nationally known expert on Buddhism and world religions, and his son, WFPL announcer Jonathan Bastian. With Sheikh Kabir Helminski and Sheikha CamilleHelminski, Ed Bastian will lead a program in InterSpiritual Exploration and conclude with an InterSpiritual Zikr.

• Ausubel and Nina Simons, founders of Bioneers, will explore the topic of rebuilding nature, and the Pachamama Alliance will conduct a symposium entitled “Awakening the Dreamer.”

• Gerardo Abboud, president of the Dongyuling Center in Argentina, which offers free teachings of Buddhist theory and practice, will lead daily guided meditations.

Ticket prices for individual programs range from $15 to $25. Student tickets are half-price. Week passes are available for $150. For more information about Festival of Faiths events, speakers and tickets, see the Festival of Faiths website here.

About the festival: The Festival of Faiths is an annual event that celebrates the religious diversity of our community, promotes unity and strengthens the role of religion in society. It is sponsored by the Center for Interfaith Relations, a nonsectarian 501(c) (3) organization dedicated to promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation.

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