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Panelists will lead community forum discussion at Hood Thursday night

Hood Seminary president

Dr. Vergel Lattimore

Dr. Vergel Lattimore

SALISBURY — A group of seven panelists will lead discussions Thursday night at a community forum titled, “Beginning a Healing Conversation” at Hood Theological Seminary, 1810 Lutheran Synod Drive.

The panel includes:

• The Rev. Timothy Bates,  pastor, Calvary and Cameron Presbyterian churches, Statesville, and Hood alumnus.

• The Rev. Dr. Mark Conforti, senior pastor, First United Methodist Church, Salisbury.

• The Rev. Dr. Jim Dunkin, senior pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Salisbury.

• Dr. Gary Freeze, professor of history, Catawba College.

• The Rev. Dr. Grant Harrison, presiding elder, Salisbury District, Western N.C. Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) Church, and Hood alumnus.

• The Rev. Kris Mares, pastor, Mount Tabor United Methodist Church, Salisbury, and Hood alumna.

• The Rev. Dr. Ken J. Walden, associate professor of pastoral care and counseling and director of supervised ministry program at Hood Theological Seminary.

The forum will last from 7-8:30 p.m. and will be held in the Aymer Center on the seminary campus.

It is open to the public and free of charge.

This community forum is the result of conversations the seminary’s president, Dr. Vergel Lattimore, has listened to and been privileged to share with different individuals and groups in Salisbury and Rowan County over the last two years.

It also comes at a time when discussion about the Confederate monument in Salisbury has prompted a call for a dialogue about race, history and socio-economic issues facing the city.

“We believe the seminary is a place for respectful, critical discussion of painful and sometimes difficult issues affecting society,” Lattimore said in a press release. “There are a number of issues that have divided many communities across this great nation of the United States of America. Salisbury is not exempt from these challenges. We believe that honest conversation is a good place to start.”

The seminary has expressed hope the forum and open community discussion will foster better relations, respect and understanding regarding race, justice and peace. Lattimore will be the panel moderator.

Hood Theological Seminary is a graduate and professional school sponsored by the AME Zion Church and approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. Its student body is composed of persons from many different denominations. As a theological seminary, it provides for the church an educational community in which Christian maturity and ministerial preparation take place together.

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