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Annual Renaissance Weekend starts with interfaith service at Mot - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Annual Renaissance Weekend starts with interfaith service at Mother Emanuel

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Hundreds of people have traveled to Charleston for an annual New Year's conference. The 35th annual Renaissance Weekend started Monday evening with a special, interfaith service at Emanuel AME.

Renaissance Weekend founder, Philip Lader, says it was important to start the conference at the church where our city suffered tragedy, but also found unity.

"There's no city with a texture like Charleston," said Lader. "The spirit of the community of Charleston, after the horrific tragedy here, is very much the spirit to which Renaissance Weekend aspires."

Lader says he wanted his fellow conference members to have a chance to honor the victims and families impacted by the shooting massacre.

Lader believes starting inside the walls of Mother Emanuel, the epicenter of so much hurt and healing in the Holy City, will set the tone for this unique conference.

"Every one of us has something to learn from everyone else," said Lader.

The Renaissance Weekend, coined the "Grand-daddy of ideas festivals" brings in people from diverse backgrounds.

The nearly 1,000 participants range from ministers, professors, authors, lawmakers and NASA scientists. Over the course of four days, they take part in 500 seminars, workshops and performances throughout the city.

"Renaissance was founded by my wife and me, 35 years ago, to build bridges across the traditional divides of politics, religion, race, age, geography and careers," said Lader.

Lader says it's about bringing people from all walks of life together, to bridge difference and celebrate common humanity.

Lader believes starting inside the walls of Mother Emanuel, the epicenter of so much hurt and healing in the Holy City, will set the tone for this unique conference.

"Every one of us has something to learn from everyone else," said Lader.

Most of it the conference be private and held at The Charleston Place in Downtown Charleston. Lader says the guest speaker at Tuesday's luncheon will be Mayor Joe Riley.

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