The Comparison Project is an experimental effort in a philosophy of religion that is historically grounded and religiously diverse. Our core programming consists of an biennial series of lectures, dialogues, and comparisons on a common religious theme. We work with the religious communities of greater Des Moines to create digital stories by and about them. And students in our comparative religion classes generate supplementary resources to complement our core programming.
In May 2017 we began an ongoing series of open houses in places of worship in the greater Des Moines area. Each open house occurs on the first weekend of the month (insofar as possible). Each visit provides an opportunity to tour a sacred space, learn how religion is practiced there, and meet and connect with people from different faiths and walks of life. Please join us!
Meet My Religious Neighbor is a collaboration between The Comparison Project at Drake University, Des Moines Area Religious Council, and Interfaith Alliance of Iowa. For more information, please visit iowainterfaithexchange.org
SPRING 2020 VISITS
3/8/2020 Celebration of Holi
Hindu Temple and Cultural Center
-Sunday, March 8th, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
-33916 155th Lane, Madrid, IA 50156
– Join us at the Hindu temple for fun, food, and prayer. Meet your host at 11:00 am for Holika Pooja (prayers). Throwing the colors will begin after 12pm, followed by dancing and lunch, available for purchase at 1pm.
4/19/2020 Lao Buddhist New Year Service
Wat Lao Buddhist Temple
-1804 E Park Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50320
– Please join us for the annual Lao New Year’s Service! The event will include a “Tak Bat”, in which lay members of the temple donate “alms” to Buddhist monks; this food later comes back to the community “blessed.” The service includes a washing of the temple’s Buddha statues, as well as a ritual sprinkling of water on the congregation, both of which symbolically remove any evil and wrongdoing from the previous year. Guests are invited to stay past 11am for a short parade, a long meal, and many other festivities.
5/2/2020 Islamic and Cultural Center Bosniak Es Selam Mosque
– 17630 Bosniak Lane, Granger, IA 50109
– Join us for tours beginning at 6:30 pm, Iftar (dinner) at 7:15 pm, and Isha (prayer) at 8:42 pm. Religious leaders are welcome to come in religous clothing or formal dress. Men need to wear pants, regardless of weather. Women need to use a scarf to cover their head and wear clothing that covers to their ankles and wrists. Also, be prepared to remove your shoes when entering the building.
Since 2013, we have begun creating guides to local religious communities and facilitating digital stories from members of these communities.
For the most part, each guide was created within the context of a Drake University course about that community (as part of a “Religions of Des Moines” series). In cases where courses have not yet been taught about a religious community that is featured in our photo-narrative on religion in Des Moines (Spectrum of Faith), we provide the student entry from it.
We thank Bob Blanchard for the photos of these communities (http://www.bobblanchardphotography.com)
Please find here entries on these religious communities:
- Basilica of St. John
- Beth El Jacob Synagogue
- Burns United Methodist Church
- Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting (Unprogrammed)
- Drake University’s Muslim Student Association
- Ezan: Islamic and Educational Center
- Greek Orthodox Church of St. George
- Hindu Cultural and Educational Center
- Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of Iowa
- Islamic Center of Des Moines
- Iowa Sikh Association
- Masjid an-Noor
- Sikhs of Iowa Khalsa Heritage, Inc.
- Temple B’nai Jeshurun
- Tifereth Israel Synagogue
- Tu Vien Hong Duc
- Wat Phothisomphan
Our director is Tim Knepper, Professor of Philosophy at Drake University; Leah Kalmanson, Associate Professor of Philosophy, and Erin Lain, Associate Provost for Equity and Inclusion, are our co-directors.
Our “Meet My Religious Neighbor” open-house series is a collaboration with the Des Moines Area Religious Council, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, and CultureALL.
Our Interfaith Youth Leadership Camp is a collaboration with the Des Moines Area Religious Council, especially Sarah Trone Garriott and Luke Elzinga.
Our Advisory Board is currently served by Dr. Richard Deming, Matthew Mitchell, Arthur Neis, Lyle Simpson, David Skidmore, and Mary Pat Wohlford.
The students in Prof. Knepper’s “Interfaith @ Drake” and “Religions of Des Moines” classes are our “hands and feet,” assisting with everything from communications and publicity, to social media and website, to strategic planning and grant-writing, to programming and evaluation.
The Comparison Project is generously supported by the following donors:
- Drake University Humanities Center
- Humanities Iowa
- The Medbury Fund
- Drake University Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship
- Des Moines Area Religious Council
- Cultivating Compassion: The Dr. Richard Deming Foundation
- Slay Fund for Social Justice
- Iles Funeral Homes (our special partner for our series on death and dying)
We are always looking for help! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
There is so much more that we can do! What prevents this most is money. If you want to support our programming, please do so here: https://alumni.drake.edu/comparisonprojectsupport
For more information about The Comparison Project, please contact:
Tim Knepper, Director
The Comparison Project
Department of Philosophy and Religion
2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311-4505
Add yourself to our Email List