INDIANAPOLIS – The Holy Dove Foundation, a Turkish organization dedicated to interfaith dialogue and understanding especially among Jews, Christians and Muslims, bestowed two of three annual awards on two prominent Hoosier United Methodists – U.S. Senator Richard Lugar and his pastor, the Rev. Kent Millard of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.

The Holy Dove Foundation presented the awards during its annual interfaith dialogue banquet at the Columbia Club on Monument Circle in Indianapolis.

Lugar, the keynote speaker for the two hour event, praised the efforts of the Holy Dove Foundations and similar groups who promote dialogue among peoples of various countries worldwide. He said America needs to build trust worldwide and currently is mistrusted by many countries overseas.

Lugar said to more than 200 religious and civic leaders present, “Public diplomacy is not public relations. We cannot manipulate people into liking us.”

He went on to say we need to pick issues of commonality such as the Holy Dove Foundation recognizes. Public diplomacy is done best with grass roots organizations at the community level. We will break down barriers of mistrust with education and with young people.

Lugar was given the organization’s Peace Award.

The Holy Dove Foundation also honored Millard with its Friendship Award for his efforts in bringing together faith groups to celebrate each others’ holy days. He said he got the idea from a Muslim family he visited in Turkey who hosted him and other Hoosiers during a Holy Dove Foundation trip a couple of years ago.

This year Millard was instrumental in working with St. Luke’s UMC and Rabbi Jon Adland of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation in hosting at the synagogue a festival for Muslims the last day of Ramadan.

The foundation also awarded its Community Relations Award to Special Agent Michael Welch of the FBI Indianapolis office for assisting the Muslim community in Indianapolis and for protecting families in this jurisdiction.