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An Interfaith Community of Learning to be held by Building Abrahamic Partnership

( [email protected] ) Jun 05, 2004 06:26 AM EDT

Hartford Seminary’s interfaith relations, Building Abrahamic Partnership, will sponsor An Interfaith Community of Learning for Jews, Christians and Muslims from June 6-13, to enable an effective interaction between diverse faith communities.

“The overarching question is how to develop interfaith trust in the prevailing atmosphere of fear and mutual suspicion. In situations of trauma, as experienced continuously in the Middle East and as experienced in the West since 9/11, people are likely to turn inward. Accordingly, they have great difficulty in reaching out to the religious ‘Other,’” said David Smock, Director of U.S. Institute of Peace.

The seminary officials say that with its strength as an interfaith, dialogical school of practical theology, they see a need for a new kind of religious leadership.

Smock says,“The prevailing attitude is often that no one’s suffering can be compared to our own suffering. In this climate of victimhood, the Other — whether national ethnic group or religious community — is often labeled simplistically and unhelpfully as either good or evil.”

This intensive training program is designed to be a resource for Jews, Christians, and Muslims throughout North America who seek a solid foundation in interfaith ministry. It will educate participants about the beliefs and practices of all three faith traditions.

The contents will include an introduction to the tenets and practices of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, historical overview of the three faith traditions, shared text study, and formulating ideas for joint interfaith projects in local communities and developing strategies for cooperation among participants.

Through discussion on obstacles to interfaith dialogue and relationships and role of media in creating images of one another, the program will create a safe and supportive environment in which clergy, religious educators, and seminarians can forge mutually beneficial relationship across communal boundaries.