Spokane Public Radio: FāVS Promotes Respectful Dialogue at Today’s Coffee Talk

By Doug Nadvornick

The group Spokane Faith and Values is trying to promote a constructive dialogue on polarizing issues such as religion. The organization will conduct the next in its series of “coffee talks” on Saturday morning.

Religion reporter Tracy Simmons writes a daily online newsletter that features faith-related articles and opinion pieces.

“We have 42 columnists and so we’re having all of these viewpoints from different sides. We have evangelicals and Muslims and Jews and progressives, all writing on the same website,” Simmons said.

Eight years ago, after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut, Simmons decided it was time to do more than write.

“I thought that was a great opportunity to bring the community together to have a conversation because a lot of people who were writing for the site, myself, a journalist, along with all of my columnists and the readers were all talking about how angry they were with God. How could God let this happen?” she said.

So Simmons organized a Saturday morning event at a coffee shop. The conversation was cathartic and healing.

“In that room were evangelicals and atheists and people with no faith at all and Muslims, all coming together, just having this honest discussion, comforting one another, and the room was full. I thought, gosh, this was a great way to do this. So we’ve been doing coffee talks ever since,” Simmons said.

The next one is about “Building Community by Dialoguing Through Differences,” Saturday morning at 10 at the FāVS Center at 5115 South Freya. There’s no charge. The public is invited to come and participate.

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