KU News Release

Feb. 24, 2011
Contact: Jessica Beeson, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 785-864-1767

Religion in Kansas presentation to explore state's spiritual diversity

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas project that seeks to record the religious diversity of the state will present an interactive lecture at the newly remodeled Carnegie Building in downtown Lawrence.

The presentation, Religion in Kansas, is at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 3. The Carnegie Building is located at the corner of Ninth and Vermont streets. The public is welcome to attend.

The Religion in Kansas lecture is based on a project of the same name, which sent KU students across the state starting in fall 2009 to record oral histories of Kansans with recollections of a variety of faiths.

Details of some of those oral histories will be shared during the event led by Tim Miller, professor of religious studies and leader of the Religion in Kansas project.

Interested attendees will also have the opportunity to share their religious backgrounds.

Miller began the Religion in Kansas project as a way to preserve representative voices from as many as possible of the highly diverse religions found in the state. He hopes to collect memories of older Kansans’ experiences in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples before such stories are lost to time.

“I got to thinking, ‘What are we losing?’ ” Miller said. “And we’re losing everything of a certain age, or most of it anyway. We have a number of really unusual religious stories in Kansas. We’ve had some that are already too far in the past to capture through people, but more are recent and not very well documented. Religion is a huge part of the lives of a whole lot of people in Kansas — and preserving that for the future is great.”

The spiritual paths of Kansans over the last century have ranged from the commonplace to the obscure. The well-established, prominent Christian faiths, including Catholicism, Methodism and Lutheranism are well represented, but so are many less populous groups, including Jews, the Amish, Muslims and Buddhists, but also Swedenborgians, Spiritualists, Theosophists, Pagans, Lawsonians and Babsonians.

The presentation is part of the CLAS Acts lecture series sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which aims to engage the community in KU research. The event is co-hosted by the Department of Religious Studies.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

kunews@ku.edu | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045

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