Having worked all my professional life for better Christian-Muslim understanding, I am thrilled at the prospect of the October 27-28 Spirit1 Conference! Here is what excites me:
Planning for the meeting is carried out in partnership between First Church, Farmington, and the new (three years old) Farmington Valley American Muslim Center. It’s not us inviting them, or them inviting us (which of course is also wonderful when it happens) but Muslims and Christians together inviting people from all over Connecticut to listen to and participate in our conversations.
The program covers a wide range of topics, not just “this is what we believe and how we worship.” Beliefs and practices will come up, of course, and will be the particular focus of the Saturday keynote address. But theology and ritual will also be put in the broader context of topics such as misconceptions about Islam, youth and spirituality, women’s religious leadership, refugee resettlement, and others.
It is clear from recent developments in our country that social action on a very local level is creating a great deal of enthusiasm about how individuals can take responsibility for making things happen. This conference will try to leave participants with some concrete ideas about how they can work as individuals or institutions to engender conversation and interaction among Muslims, Christians, Jews and others.
The speakers and session leaders are top notch (eg. Susan Campbell, Chris George, Miroslav Volf and many others)! They are experienced in their respective fields, articulate and interesting to hear, and will raise topics and issues in such a way as to encourage conversation with and among their respective audiences. We will not just listen – we will actually talk with each other!
I think this is an amazing opportunity for us to find ways together and with seasoned leaders to help address the problems we face as a multi-faith and multi-racial society. Don’t miss it.
Jane Smith, First Church in Farmington
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