Art, Faith, and Social Justice Series
Vanessa Avery, “Love Thy Neighbor: Community-Building and the Process of Humanization”
Dr. Vanessa Avery invites you to this session to learn about the practice of interfaith community-building and how it offers a unique way to heal pervasive social divisions, polarizations, fears, misunderstandings, and bias, replacing these with understanding, compassion, trust, and love. How does community-building work to achieve these results? What are the resources needed for an effective and sustainable process? And what are some potential obstacles to success? Vanessa will offer insights from her work building sustainable interfaith communities in four cities– New Haven, Stamford, Chicago, and Toronto. Vanessa will also speak about the vehicles of architecture, sacred space, and radical hospitality, and how they help to accomplish the larger goals of a trusting community.
Vanessa Avery has over twenty years of experience in higher education and organizational consulting. While earning her master’s from Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music and her subsequent Ph.D. from the University of Exeter, Vanessa launched the first organization in the country focused on religious diversity in the workplace, consulting for top institutions such as Yale, Bryant, The Susan Komen Foundation, Eastern Idaho Healthcare Systems, The Connecticut Hospital Association, and The Conference Board. Vanessa is currently the executive director of Sharing Sacred Spaces, Inc., where she builds local, diverse, model micro-communities through sustained partnership and action using the unique vehicles of sacred space, architecture and radical hospitality. Vanessa is also the Lecturer in Interfaith Engagement at Yale Divinity School, affiliate faculty at California State University, and author of numerous articles on world religions, interfaith understanding, organizational culture, and religion, violence, and peace.