"Religions of the World" Bus Tours in Des Moines to Visit Houses of Worship

June 24, 2006

Source: The Des Moines Register


On June 24, 2006 The Des Moines Register reported, "One of the neat things about my job is that I get to meet people and venture into places I otherwise would never have considered going. And even though I've been reporting news for nearly 30 years, I have never lost the feeling of appreciation for the access a press pass gives me. I've often wished that others could come along and share it with me. So when Deann Haden-Luke of Fort Dodge notified me that she was organizing 'Religions of the World' tours - bus trips in Iowa to introduce day trippers to the culture, history and beliefs of diverse faith communities - it seemed my wish had been granted. The first of the Religions of the World tour series explores Hinduism and Indian culture, and is Sept. 9. Others on Islam and Judaism will follow. Although Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders of all denominations say Iowans are welcome to visit their houses of worship, many people may feel uncomfortable venturing in uninvited. The idea of exploring the Religions of the World without leaving the state and in a group increases our comfort zone. The faith community knows company is coming, so visitors feel more like guests than nosy interlopers. Haden-Luke is the specialty tour planner for NorthLand Travel in Fort Dodge... Last November, while conducting Christmas tours, she was taking a group to Adel and the bus passed the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center near Madrid. 'What's that place?' people wanted to know. Haden-Luke couldn't answer all the questions, so she e-mailed temple officials to get information she could share. Suren Gupta, co-chairman of the temple board of trustees, invited the groups to visit. 'We didn't have room in the itinerary, but the information - about the temple art collection, sculptures and history - had people excited,' Haden-Luke said."