Faith Matters

Senior Minister Rev. Thomas Kleinert participated recently in a panel discussion sponsored by an interfaith west Nashville clergy group. Titled “Guiding Faith Communities in Challenging Times: Where Personal Beliefs & Congregational Expectations Collide,” the ambitious discussion considered how these religious leaders speak to their congregations faithfully—and personally—in the wake of last year’s divisive national election. Panelists described times when they were uncertain how to move forward and what words to use. Aware, too, they do not want their proclamations to come from a bully pulpit, panelists affirmed a regular practice of inviting others to be conversation partners.

Moving forward, the clergy say they will work together and with their congregations to be prophetic, according to their religious convictions, and to be pastoral, emphasizing relationship building as essential to healing division.

Nashville Public Radio’s Emily Siner moderated the panel. Participants included Imam Ossama Bahloul (Resident Scholar of the Islamic Center of Nashville), the Rev. Dr. Matthew W. Charlton (General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, United Methodist Church), Cantor Tracy Fishbein (The Temple, Congregation Ohabai Sholom), Rabbi Shana Mackler (The Temple, Congregation Ohabai Sholom), the Rev. Brian Marcoulier (Bellevue United Methodist Church), the Rev. Dr. Amy Mears (Glendale Baptist Church) and Thomas. Rabbi Mark Schiftan offered opening and closing remarks. The Temple, Congregation Ohabai Sholom hosted the 75 minute event.