Spiritual Diversity in the Blue Ridge: Building Interfaith Cooperation in the Bible Belt | The Oracle Institute

Spiritual Diversity in the Blue Ridge: Building Interfaith Cooperation in the Bible Belt

URI Bioregional Gathering
Event Description

The Blue Ridge Mountains mark the beginning of the southern Bible Belt – a challenging region to gain interfaith traction. Due to the homogeny of the Christian sects and the history of the Appalachian culture, anyone promoting diversity can be viewed with suspicion and intolerance.

Given how difficult it can be to earn support from our local communities, it is imperative that the URI Cooperation Circles in our region form relationships that allow us to support each other, as well as to collaborate and co-create together to help gain a foothold for URI’s Purpose and Principles.

The theme of this gathering is “Spiritual Diversity in the Blue Ridge: Building Interfaith Cooperation in the Bible Belt.” Our goal will be to connect Cooperation Circles in the Southern U.S. region in a way that fosters communication, cooperation, and collaboration. It is our hope that, after we disperse, we will stay in contact and continue to work together to promote URI’s Purpose and Principles. Focus will be given to:

  • Building lasting relationships;
  • Exploring the challenges in promoting interfaith unity in the Bible Belt;
  • Brainstorming ways to overcome those challenges;
  • Establishing a path for continued support and collaboration once the event is over; and
  • Reflection, meditation, ceremony, and ritual.


What is the Oracle Institute and Oracle Temple?
The Oracle Institute is 501(c)(3) educational charity dedicated to Spiritual Unity and Sacred Activism. Oracle Temple is our multi-faith church – the only interfaith church in our region. We are also recognized as a URI Cooperation Circle.

Who is invited to this gathering?
Members of URI Cooperation Circles and other organizations dedicated to interfaith cooperation in the southeast region of the United States.

What is the cost to attend and what is included?
Registration fees include 3 days of programming, lodging, and all meals. Oracle Campus offers a variety of accommodations – guest houses and campground – so prices are dependent on your lodging selection:

  • Regular price - private room            $300 (early bird $250)
  • Regular price - shared room            $200 (early bird $150)
  • Regular price - camping                   $150 (early bird $100)
  • Student price - camping                   $100 (early bird $75)
  • Scholarship price - camping             $75 (early bird $50)

What time do I need to arrive and depart?
You will want to arrive in time to check into your room and get settled before the Welcome and Tour, which will start at 4:00. We allow guests to begin checking in at 2:00.
Guests will depart after lunch on Sunday, which will end at 2:00.

What are my travel options?
You are welcome to drive to our campus. The closest airports are Roanoke, VA (2 hours), Greensboro, NC (1.5 hours), and Charlotte, NC (2 hours). Our closest bus station is in Wytheville, VA (30 minutes)

Event Schedule Detail

Weekend Schedule:

Day 1


October 16

Welcome and Check-In

  • Tour of Oracle Campus
  • Opening Ceremony

2:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Day 2


October 17

Silent Walking Meditation

Session 1:

  • URI’s Preamble, Principles, and Purpose
  • How We Promote URI Values

Session 2: Roundtable Discussion on Our Successes
Session 3: Presentations by CCs on Our Challenges
Session 4: Roundtable Discussion on How to Improve Our Effectiveness

Public Event: A Multi-Faith Service

7:45 am - 9:30 pm

Day 3


October 18

Silent Walking Meditation
Session 5:

  • Spectrum of Consciousness (Laura George)  
  • Q&A and Roundtable Discussion

Session 6: Regional Brainstorming on Commitments to One Another 
Closing Ceremony

7:45 am - 2:00 pm


Event Starts
Event Ends
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