Interfaith Series

Interfaith Series East Church

The Interfaith Series has concluded for 2023, but we hope to bring it back with new speakers and new featured dinner menus, most likely right after the new year. We have been so encouraged with the response and success of these dinners that we look forward to continuing these events in the future! Thank you to all who came out; the great speakers who shared with us, the many community members who joined us, and all of our great caterers and volunteers who made this series such a success. We encourage you to follow us on social media to be notified of when we will be starting our next series, thank you!

Grand Rapids has always been a crossroads to the world offering state of the art education, medical care, and commerce. We also have a growing immigrant and refugee population from around the world, yet many of us may know very little about our neighbors’ traditions or beliefs.

East Church seeks to promote good, neighborly love by offering the Meeting Our Spiritual Neighbors Interfaith Dinner Series to expand our knowledge and understanding of other faith traditions and cultures. Join us beginning January 2023, as we seek to build bridges and make friends. Spend an evening enjoying fine food from around the world and hearing from experts about the history and tenants of their faith. Each month we will highlight a different religion paired with food regionally associated with the faith tradition, catered from local restaurants. Due to religious dietary restrictions our meals will be vegetarian so that all can participate. We hope this series will serve as a reminder to our community that our diversity and unity makes us stronger.

All dinners will start at 6 p.m. with a presentation following. Please use the form below to reserve your dinner reservation. Seating is limited. Donations are welcome to help cover the costs for these events. Donations can be made in advance using the Donate button below under “Special Ministries Fund – Interfaith Dinners fund” or cash/check at the door.

 If you have questions, please call the church office Tuesday – Thursday 9-4 p.m. 616-245-0578.

Past Presenters 

Cary Fleischer

Cary Fleischer is a 72-year-old happily married Jewish man. Cary moved to Grand Rapids from Chicago about 8 years ago. Grand Rapids has three Jewish institutions and Cary attends all three. He has served on the Board of the local Jewish Federation and the local Conservative Jewish Synagogue and is also very active in the local Reform Synagogue. Cary also attends interfaith meetings regularly. He offers lectures on Judaism and antisemitism programs for schools and local organizations. Cary and his wife have travelled to Israel seven times, mostly to visit family who live there.
He is a retired attorney and lately has been visiting different churches on a weekly basis to explore our common beliefs. He is not a Jewish scholar but a believer in commonality that exists between us, rather than focusing on differences.

Fr Andrew Honoré

Fr Andrew is an Orthodox Christian priest and the pastor of St George Antiochian Orthodox Church in downtown Grand Rapids. He hails from Southern California where he was born and raised, met and married his wife of 15 years, and started their family together. He obtained his MDIV from St Vladimir’s Seminary in Yonkers, NY, and was ordained as a priest in the Antiochian Orthodox Church in 2017 while completing his studies. Following his graduation from seminary in 2018, Fr Andrew was assigned to St George and moved with his family to Grand Rapids.

Simin N Beg 

Simin N Beg moved to Grand Rapids in 2003 for Internal Medicine residency. After graduation, she worked as a hospitalist and completed boards in Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative care and Lifestyle Medicine. She worked both as a PCP with home based primary care and a Medical Director with Hospice/Palliative Care. She has always had love of learning and in 2016, completed an eMBA through GVSU. Currently, she serves as the Division Chief of Hospice and Palliative Care at Corewell Health. She serves on several boards within Corewell Health and in the community. She is actively involved in teaching of medical student and residents and is a clinical Assistant Professor at MSU and has been a clinical preceptor fur nursing students through GVSU. Her passion is health disparities and serving diverse populations. She remains an active member in the community and is involved with Kauffman Interfaith Institute, Calvin seminary and teaches in the Calvin Prisoner Initiative. She enjoys yoga, movies, books, local theater, music, cooking and cultural events.

Hung Su from the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple

Born in Fremont, Michigan. Raised on an asparagus farm in Oceana County. In 1979 I joined the Missionary Brothers of Charity, a Catholic Order founded by St. Teresa of Calcutta. I remained with the order until 1992. I then began my meditation study and practice with Pro. Karen Gibson. In 2009 I began to study the Buddha-Dharma with my teacher Deok Wun Sunim. In 2010 I worked with Sunim to create and open the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple. I was ordained as a Dharma Teacher in 2012. In August of 2022 I was named Abbot Emeritus of the Temple.

Fred Stella from the West Michigan Hindu Temple

Fred Stella has served as Pracharak or Outreach Minister for the West Michigan Hindu Temple for the past dozen years. He has lectured on Hinduism locally, nationally, and internationally. Fred serves on the National Leadership Council of the Hindu American Foundation in Washington DC. From 1997 onward he has held the post of President of Interfaith Dialogue Association. In that role he, among other things, hosts Common Threads, a weekly program heard on local NPR affiliate WGVU -FM that explores all facets of religion and spirituality.  In 2012 Mayor George Heartwell presented him with the city’s Champion of Diversity Award for his work in multicultural relationships.

January 18th Interfaith Dinner

February 15th Interfaith Dinner

March 15th Interfaith Dinner

April 19th Interfaith Dinner

May 17th Interfaith Dinner

Primary Communities Served

Grand Rapids

East Grand Rapids

Ottawa Hills

East Town