Washington Theological Consortium, the First to Include Muslim School as an Affiliate

( [email protected] ) Jul 12, 2004 12:50 PM EDT

In an effort to promote interreligious understanding, an ecumenical consortium of major seminaries and schools of religion in the U.S. has recently accepted a Muslim school to be an affiliate member.

The Muslim school named The Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Leesburg, Va., has joined the Washington Theological Consortium, whose mission is to embody the unity in Christ and equip leaders to serve in missions and ministries while seeking deeper appreciation of other religions and common values, marking the first time that a Muslim school has become part of a major group of U.S. Christian theological group. InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington is the other affilate of the consortium.

"While our primary mission is advancing Christian unity, one of the key objectives is promoting interreligious understanding," said the Rev. John Crossin, executive director of the consortium. "The unanimous vote of the consortium to bring together theological schools representing these two great faiths is a good first step in the process."

The Washington consortium is organized by eight member schools, all Christian, four associate members, and two affiliate members. The eight member schools include the Catholic University of America School of Theology and Religious Studies; the Dominican House of Studies; the Howard University School of Divinity; Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg; the Richmond Theological Consortium; Virginia Theological Seminary; Washington Theological Union; and Wesley Theological Seminary.

The four associate members include: the College of Preachers; St. Paul’s College; Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation; and Woodstock Theological Center.

The Washington consortium is one of ten such cooperatives in the country. Other groups are located in cities such as Chicago and Berkeley, Calif.