Multi-faith 'Meanings of Water' Program Will Be Held on Mississippi Riverboat Aug. 9

Featuring teachers from multiple spiritual traditions, “Voices on the River: The Meanings of Water” will take place 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, aboard one of the Padelford Riverboats on the Mississippi River. Boarding will begin at 3:30 p.m. at Padelford Landing, 205 Doctor Justus Ohage Blvd., on St. Paul’s Harriet Island.

The event is sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, a joint enterprise of the University of St. Thomas and St. John’s University, Collegeville, and supported by Beth Jacob Congregation; Hineni: A Center for Adult Jewish Learning and Contemplative Practices; Mount Zion Congregation; and Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality: A Ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

The cost for the event, which will include vegetarian snacks, is $36. People may register through the Jay Phillips Center website or by emailing or by calling (651) 247-2650.

The event’s organizer is Rabbi Alan Shavit-Lonstein, who will be a rabbi in residence with the Jay Phillips Center this coming academic year.

“The aspect I am most excited about ‘Voices on the River’ is the connection to our local space and environment,” Shavit-Lonstein said. “We will be learning about water while on the Mississippi River. It will be a unique evening of exploration deeply rooted in natural beauty of the Twin Cities and in the values of diversity of thought and respectful listening.”

For Shavit-Lonstein, “water is the essence of life and a powerful, universal spiritual symbol,” and this program will explore “the centrality of water to both our physical and spiritual lives.”

Shavit-Lonstein and five other teachers  Ramona Kitto Stately, Ken Keiyu Ford, Camille J. Gage, the Rev. John Marboe and Rabbi Sharon Stiefel  will speak from their diverse religious and environmental perspectives.

“Rabbi Shavit-Lonstein is immensely creative and the river boat program he has designed is an indication of that,” said John Merkle, director of the Jay Phillips Center. “He has gathered an excellent group of teachers for what promises to be a unique and enjoyable event.”