How it began
The presence of the six Turkish students at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago is the result of conversations that began in 2003 when the Niagara Foundation invited Harold Vogelaar to attend their Eid celebrations.
Vogelaar teaches world religions and Islam/Christian relations. His wife, Pisamai, is a Muslim from Thailand.
The foundation initially was interested in establishing an institute in Harran, Turkey, to bring together the three Abrahamic religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
As their talks progressed, they began to explore the possibility of setting up a pilot program at LSTC that would also involve McCormick Seminary and Catholic Theological Union. The latter two adjoin LSTC in Chicago’s Hyde Park community.
The foundation sponsored the six students. They take classes at all three seminaries.
Vogelaar says of the program: “We have no exact idea where this is all heading, but we walk by faith and in an abundant hope that God, in mercy and grace, will continue to bless our efforts and give us guidance.”
MOSAIC: Understanding Islam
The Summer 2003 edition of the ELCA video magazine MOSAIC provides an opportunity for congregational study groups to learn about Muslim practices and the prophet Muhammad, as well as to visit the Muslim community in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which has the country’s oldest mosque.
A study guide included with the DVD encourages participants to identifyâ€¨stereotypes and examine the relationship between Christianity and Islam.
Order a copy at www.elca.org/mosaic.
Christians and Muslims find common ground at a Lutheran seminary.
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© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers