Interfaith Institute


JULY 27-30, 2020

Wildacres Interfaith Institute (1)

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Resilience, Renewal, and Resurrection

Come and enjoy the learning and fellowship of the 38th Annual Wildacres Interfaith Institute, July 27-30, 2020, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina at Wildacres Retreat. We are a community that strives to share and to value the wisdom of fellow-travelers in a world increasingly in need of the widest circle of community that we can create.

Share our time of deep reflection and high spirits as we explore our traditions regarding:
  • Resilience—acknowledging what has healed and let go of what has not.
  • Renewal—as we celebrate and begin to rely upon the conditions of a new “everyday.”
  • Resurrection—how we imagine life eternally vibrant, beyond resilience and renewal.
With the help of our Muslim, Christian, and Jewish guides, we will examine scripture, story, poetry, song, ritual, and—most importantly—personal experiences and reflections. We will join the conversation as fellow-travelers whose different faith traditions share common human values that make up the rich presence of moral life in America.
Meet the leaders and spiritual guides who will help to create a reflective, caring community that can sustain itself beyond our days in the mountains:


Reverend Nancy E. Petty began her ministry at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in 1992 and has served in the role of senior pastor since 2002. Prior to being called as the pastor, she served Pullen as the Minister of Christian Education and Associate Pastor. As Pullen’s pastor her role is to function as the spiritual guide of the congregation, performing duties of preaching, teaching, counseling and visitation, to honor the traditions that have developed over the years at Pullen, and to initiate new traditions that capture the theology of Pullen and the spirit of the members. Through her role as Pullen’s pastor, Nancy is known as a community faith leader speaking out on issues of social justice, interreligious dialogue, and inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community. She is chair of the Board for Repairers of the Breach, a non-profit organization that “seeks to build a moral agenda rooted in a framework that uplifts our deepest moral and constitutional values to redeem the heart and soul of our country”. Nancy is a member of Raleigh’s Commission on Compassion.

Azlena Photo

Azleena Azhar did her Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) internship at Duke Hospital where she is on their Pastoral Services Advisory Committee. She has a Graduate Certificate in Islamic chaplaincy from Hartford Seminary and is pursuing a Masters in Social Work. She serves refugees in North Carolina through World Relief Durham and USCRI (US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants). Her training includes mental health in Islam, grief counseling and spiritual support during trauma & illness. In 2019, Azleena traveled to Christchurch, New Zealand, with a group of Muslim chaplains from across the US to care for the community that mourned the killing of 50 worshippers at the Al Noor mosque.

Rabbi Steven Sager is the Rabbi Emeritus of Beth El Synagogue in Durham, NC, where he served as rabbi for 32 years after graduating from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He earned a Ph.D. in Rabbinic Literature at Duke University. He is a long-time adjunct faculty member of the Duke Divinity School. His primary work involves rabbinic and clergy enrichment, especially on the theme of living with loss, the most insistent and persistent theme of clergy life. He has served as the co-director of the Wildacres Interfaith Institute and now, as the Director of Sicha, he is responsible for the contents of the annual Wildacres Interfaith program.

Kathleen Maloney-Tarr, a writer and spiritual director, returns to conduct her popular writing workshop for those who wish to explore our theme through personal writing. There will be an opportunity for some of our writers to share their work with the Interfaith community. This has been an annual highlight of our Interfaith Institute and we are delighted to have her join us again at the institute this summer!

Registration fees for 2020 cover the cost of the program as well as room and board at Wildacres for 3 nights, including 8 kosher meals. The fees are based on double occupancy ($50 single supplement). A limited amount of scholarship assistance may be available. Children’s learning sessions will be offered by Kitty Wolf, an experienced educator. This program, entitled “God’s Paintbrush,” utilizes arts and crafts materials and a specially designed curriculum for children of all faiths.

$350 per person; 
$150 per child age 6-12;
$90 per child 3-5.

Word Art (5)

For more information, please contact: