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Howard County faith community to host series of conversations on race and religion

A coalition of religious leaders on Monday kicked off a month-long event in which Howard County residents will be challenged to talk about race and religion.

The idea to have these often difficult conversations between Howard residents was contrived out of conversations between Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, D-Howard, and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., according to the Rev. Robert Turner.

During his keynote address at St. John Baptist Church in Columbia, Turner said he called Cummings in the early morning hours to share his concern for the changing direction of rhetoric in the nation.

“It was past time for just praying about it,” Turner said during his speech, which was heard by at least 100 people including former Howard County Executive Liz Bobo.

“If our nation is going to get healed, the faith community has to get down on its knees and pray,” Turner said. “Once we get on our knees and pray, we got to get up off our knees and become a part of the answer to what we’re praying about.”

This year’s series of events will mimic last year’s which included conversations about race and racism over a four-month period.

Discussion circles will take place at Beth Shalom Congregation, Dar Al-Taqwa Islamic Center and St. John Baptist Church every Tuesday at 7 p.m. until April 9.

Cummings is expected to deliver the keynote address at the final event at 6:30 p.m. April 15 at St. John Baptist Church.

For more information about the sessions, visit

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