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Whitworth to host Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Conversation on Unity with Difference March 12-14

March 4, 2014

Event includes presentations on topics related to “Race, Gender, and Religious Identities,” led by PC(USA) Moderator Neal Presa

Whitworth University will host the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s third Conversation on Unity with Difference March 12-14 in the Seeley Mudd Chapel. The three-day event, organized and led by PC(USA) Moderator Neal Presa, will feature seven presentations on topics related to race, gender and religious identities.

Presentations will begin at 9 a.m. following introductions and an opening prayer by Whitworth President Beck A. Taylor. Each presentation will be followed with a Q&A from those in attendance and an online audience. Live streaming for the event can be viewed here. Online audience members can also follow the event on Twitter using the hashtag #UnityDiff.

Presa’s goal for the event will be to spark wide-ranging conversations throughout the PC(USA) and beyond. He views Whitworth is an ideal environment for this discussion. “Whitworth is a university that takes faith and learning seriously,” Presa says. “Because of its historical and renewed commitment to the Reformed tradition, it’s an ideal partner for the PC(USA) for this event.”

The Conversation on Unity with Difference is a follow-up to previous conversations which took place at Princeton Theological Seminary and Stony Point Center (New York) in December of 2012 and 2013, respectively. The Moderator’s Third Colloquium on Ecclesiology will take place March 17-19 at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Dean of Spiritual Life Terry McGonigal says that the goal of the event will be to prompt dialog from a variety of perspectives. “I hope that, locally and regionally, this is the beginning of a deepening conversation on important issues,” McGonigal says. “It’s easy to put labels on people from a distance, but it’s different when you’re in the same room.”

Presenters at the third Unity with Difference conversation will include McGonigal, Whitworth’s Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Intercultural Relations Lawrence Burnley; Director of Cambridge College Jose Irizarry; Associate Academic Vice President at Gonzaga University Raymond Reyes; Assistant Dean for Special Programs at New Brunswick Theological Seminary Matilde Moros; Executive Director of Church and Public Relations at the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation Laura Cheifetz; Acquisitions Editor for Bible at the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation Bridgett Green.

For a complete schedule of the event, click here.

To view the live stream of the event, click here.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Margaret Claassen, program assistant for the office of church engagement, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4547 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or