Chapel Hill: Community

On Faith: ‘Straight Talk with Real Muslims’ returns for encore

Author Krista Bremer
Author Krista Bremer Briana Brough Photography

“Straight Talk with Real Muslims,” a conversation about Muslim culture, Sharia law, treatment of women and general beliefs and practices of Muslims in the area, will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 12, at the Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist, 106 Purefoy Road.

The discussion will be introduced by the minister, the Rev. Thom Belote and moderated by Krista Bremer, author of “My Accidental Jihad.”

Speakers will include Dr. Mohammed Abu Salha, father of Yusor and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, who were fatally shot along with Yusor’s husband, Deah Shaddy Barakat, on Feb. 10, 2015, in Chapel Hill.

This conversation is a follow-up to an event held at Flyleaf Books in March and is sponsored by the Political Salon group that welcomes the public to this program of outreach.

“There will be no ‘experts’ in the room – this will not be a scholarly or academic discussion – just real people speaking sincerely about what matters to all of us,” Bremer said before the March event. “Please join us – and together we can counter hateful rhetoric with down-to-earth, openhearted conversation.”

Clothing closet

Amity and Carrboro United Methodist churches jointly run a free clothing closet at Amity church located at 825 N. Estes Drive.

The Wear for All closet is open from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays. Clothing for men, women and children is available at no charge.

Donations of summer clothes can be made during these hours, or email to Earleen Burch at to make other arrangements.

Sioux wisdom

Traditional wisdom from the Woptura Lineage of the Oglala Sioux will come to life in cultural mentoring events from Thursday, June 9, through Sunday, June 12, in Carrboro and Durham.

Salvatore Gencarelle, who is said to be a cultural bridge between the Lakota healing ceremonies and the modern world, will teach at 7 p.m.Thursday, June 9, at Oasis in Carr Mill Mall and lead a “Life Within” workshop Friday through Sunday, June 10-12, on Lockridge community land in Durham.

Author of “A Man Among the Helpers,” he is a lead instructor for the 8 Shields Institute and founder and lead instructor of the Helpers’ Mentoring Society.

Participants in the “Life Within” workshop will construct a purification structure “while connecting with self, nature and community.” An optional purification rite will be offeredon Saturday night.


A slow week on the religion desk offers opportunity to refresh suggestions and deadlines for submissions.

Remember this column is a weekly feature that runs on Wednesdays. It means we need releases at least a week ahead of the desired publication date. Earlier is always better.

Keep in mind that all religious folks don’t “talk” alike, so language specific to your own particular brand may be unclear to others. (How often you send me scurrying to books and searching online.)

Challenging as this is, it’s one of the really fine things about being open to all kinds of spiritual endeavors. We are constantly learning, and appreciating.

I remember attending a shabbat service at a Jewish synagogue. At the end, oranges with cloves stuck in them were passed down the pew for sniffing. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, so I watched, and then sniffed like everybody else.

Later, the rabbi told me that the sweet smell of those oranges was a symbolic way to remind me of the good things I had experienced and learned in that worship and to make me want to come back for more.

If sniffing oranges sounds like an offbeat thing to do in worship, what about drinking a dram of grape juice from a shot glass?

It’s not just what we do in worship, but what these symbolic gestures mean that’s significant.

I invite you to let the world know what your congregation is doing and, most important, why you are doing it.

Contact Flo Johnston at or call 910-361-4135.