"The Faith Club" Authors Speak on Journey to Interfaith Dialogue at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for P

When Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner gathered in one another’s living rooms five years ago to discuss faith, God, and religion, they had no idea their regular meetings would grow into a book that would touch so many hearts—and that would lead to the creation of similar Faith Clubs all over the country.

“The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew—Three Women Search for Understanding” (Free Press; June 5, 2007; $14.00), is an intimate look into the conversations between Idliby, a Palestinian-born Muslim, Oliver, an ex-Catholic turned Episcopalian, and Warner, a Reform Jew. The three New York City area mothers came together in the wake of 9/11 to write a children’s book about the commonalities of their three religions, but quickly realized that they had to discuss their differences before they could understand their similarities. The authors decided to meet regularly for three years, and, with that, “The Faith Club” was born.

The authors will speak on their interfaith dialogue during a panel presentation and book signing at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice on the University of San Diego campus.

The book charts the authors’ journey as they worked to transcend religious barriers, to overcome stereotypes and misunderstandings, and to deepen their own religious commitments and beliefs. After hours of soul-searching about the issues that divided them, Ranya, Priscilla, and Suzanne grew close enough to discover and explore what united them.

From the comfort of their living rooms, these women have inspired a new kind of religious dialogue—and it’s spreading like wildfire. Since the hardcover launch of the book last year, the authors have shared their message around the world, from the Middle East Co-Existence House on the Rutgers University campus, to the Young Presidents’ Organization Annual Middle East & North Africa Retreat in Oman, to the Princeton Theological Seminary Center of Continuing Education in Princeton, New Jersey. Readers have responded in droves on the authors’ Web site (www.thefaithclub.com) to share their stories on how the book has changed lives, opened hearts, and provided much-needed inspiration and hope. As documented on the Web site, Faith Clubs are popping up around the country in schools, houses of worship, colleges, and communities around the country.

In an interview, the authors can discuss:

• What it meant for Suzanne Oliver, a Christian, to accept other paths to God
• What critics have said of the authors’ journeys, and what they have learned from their critics
• What Ranya Idliby thinks Islam could learn from Reform Judaism
• How their commitment to total honesty allowed them to share stereotypes, and how they worked together to debunk these myths and misunderstandings (and what some of their stereotypes were)
• How Warner started off with religion but no faith, Idliby with faith but no religion, and Oliver thinking she had both
• How The Faith Club changed the authors’ spiritual relationships with their children
• How local faith clubs are growing across America (and how readers can start their own Faith Clubs)

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls approximately 7,500 undergraduate and graduate students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The inauguration of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies brings the university’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Law, Leadership and Education Sciences, and Nursing and Health Science.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.