Ready to Launch

By Makena Schoene
Blog & Social Media Coordinator, The Drake Community Press

It’s been an eventful month for the Drake Community Press! On Thursday, April 6th, 2017, DCP unveiled our final product to the world – A Spectrum of Faith, our collaborative effort with the Des Moines Area Religious Council and the Drake University Comparison Project. After two years of hard work, staff and community members gathered in Parent’s Hall at Drake University’s Olmsted building for a much-anticipated book launch.

Guests were able to purchase the fresh editions of Spectrum, along with other merchandise such as posters and note cards featuring quotes from the religious communities that appear in the book. As of right now, the book is sold through DMARC’s website, though a link will soon be available on the DCP site. The book will also be available for purchase on Amazon, so stay tuned!

The night opened with the premiere of Anna Steenson’s documentary, chronicling the making of Spectrum from conception to design and finally to print (to watch the full video, click here). Performances by the Bosnian Women’s Choir and the Bhutanese Bhajan from the Hindu Cultural and Educational Center provided a rhythmic backdrop for guests to chat and browse the full color prints of Bob Blanchard’s photographs which were featured in the book.

Between performances, members of the DCP staff, along with student writers and community faith leaders were invited to the stage, forming panels for a question and answer forum led by Rekha Basu, a columnist for the Des Moines Register. To conclude the evening, Eboo Patel, an accomplished author and champion for interfaith communication, gave his keynote address. Patel also wrote the forward for A Spectrum of Faith, an excerpt of which is shown below.

“You hold in your hands a beautiful collection of photos and essays of the City on a Hill that is Des Moines, Iowa. For people from Des Moines, it is no surprise to you that your neighbors are Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and Christians of all varieties. You have been making food and music and friendships together for years. For those less familiar with Des Moines – including the Chicagoan writing this essay – I look through these pages with admiration, seeing in what you have built something that I believe cities all over the United States and the world should seek to emulate.”

(To read the full story, just head on over to to order your book now!)

It was truly a magical night, as students, faculty and community members were brought together in celebration of the interfaith dialogue brought to life in the color and print of Spectrum.

The following day was filled with just as much activity, including a presentation from Eboo Patel and workshops held in Meredith Hall, also located on Drake University’s campus. Patel’s speech “On Building a Diverse Democracy: The American Promise in a time of Crisis” forced listeners to confront the real issues facing society today, where each member of the community has a responsibility to uphold the values America was built on despite this time of social polarization.

After Patel’s speech, registered guests were broken into groups that tackled interfaith discussions, problems with discrimination in the world as well as how faith and sexuality interact. The day capped off with a celebratory reception at the Des Moines Social Club in downtown Des Moines, where guests enjoyed food, drink and music in culmination of two years’ worth of writing, editing, and design. Congratulations to all those involved in this project, and thank you to all members of the religious communities of Des Moines who helped to make this book possible. We look forward to the long journey ahead of promoting Spectrum’s message and spreading the light of interfaith work throughout Iowa and the rest of the Midwest. Cheers to the beginning of yet another incredible journey!