A brief historical summary of The Cleveland Ecumenical Institute for Religious Studies (CEIRS) would start with the Institute’s founding through a grant from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in 1992. St. Paul’s has continued to be very supportive of CEIRS. Over the years, CEIRS has established a reputation for offering high quality religious education programs that have drawn participants from over 300 congregations. Multi-week courses, clergy days, lectures and workshops have covered topics in scripture, theology, religious history, spiritual life, ethics, ecclesiology and culture.
CEIRS has also co-sponsored events with other churches, such as the recent teleconferences from Trinity Institute in New York or the one-day workshop on St. Paul of Tarsus taught by John Dominic Crossan at the West Side Unitarian Church. Two years ago, CEIRS joined with International Partners in Mission to sponsor a very successful trip to Italy.
Two years ago, our Board member Audrey Miller helped us obtain a grant from the Valparaiso Religious Practices Project to host six dinner meetings beginning in January, 2009 for an equal number of Jewish, Islamic and Christian participants to discuss practices in each tradition, such as food, hospitality, prayer, etc. Through underwriting from St. Paul’s and John Carroll University, we were able to bring nationally known author and peace activist, Mr. James Carroll, to town to speak about his book and documentary, Constantine’s Sword. Our effort is to continue to reach out to congregations to extend or supplement their religious education.
In 2007-2008, we took a survey of our participants at each session to find out their preferences for topics, locations, days, times and approaches to content. As we approach our 20th aniversary, we are committed to offering courses that are both educational and inspiring. We welcome your suggestions for topics and themes.