On December 2, the Council’s Christian Unity Committee will offer a workshop intended to help Christians get to know our Muslim neighbors with tools for interfaith community building and theological reflection. The event is to be held at Salisbury’s Hood Theological Seminary Aymer Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature presentations and small group discussions.
“We welcome the stranger, not to be nice or polite, but to be Christian. The particularity of our faith is found in the claim that, in Christ, God came to us a stranger, a sojourner, and a refugee. Welcoming the other is how we encounter the living Christ in this world. Welcoming the other is how we proclaim the living Christ in this world. Welcoming ‘the other’ is how, as Parker Palmer asserts, we all find a home in this world,” said the Rev. Whitney Wilkinson, the committee’s co-chair. “Through ‘Getting to Know Our Muslim Neighbor,’ we hope to reclaim our Christian identity as a people of welcome, and put that identity into concrete action to know and bless our neighbor, especially our Muslim neighbor. We hope this will be the first step of many in healing the wounds — political, racial and theological — which divide Christians and Muslims, starting in our own communities.”
The tentative schedule for the day is:
9:30 Registration (coffee/tea and pastries provided)
10:00 Welcome and Opening Prayer – Jennifer Copeland
10:05 Abraham and Sarah the Parents to Nations and the Missio Dei / Hospitality Images from the Hebrew Scriptures – Pierson Shaw
11:15 Small Group Discussion: Sharing from the Christian Canon of Scripture on Hospitality and Being a Neighbor – Pierson Shaw
11:45 Welcoming the Stranger as a Core Christian Ethic (using Parker Palmer and other sources) – Whitney Wilkinson
12:30 Lunch Break
1:15 Practical Tools for Church Leaders Engaging in Interfaith Work, Regional Networking, and Next Steps for Our Communities – Dianna Wright
2:00 Closing Prayer
“We share a common humanity and, as the Church, we are adopted heirs of Abraham, grafted into the promise. By anchoring hospitality to our neighbor, even those of other religious groups we avoid the confusion of the proclamation of the Gospel and of the kingdom with proselytizing. Christian hospitality to the neighbor, therefore is part of being conformed to the ongoing mission of God in the lives of all people,” said committee co-chair the Rev. Pierson Shaw. “Our hope in this workshop is that we might expand the circle of those whom we regard and consider to be our neighbor, and that we might assist our larger communities see how receiving the Muslim sojourner and refugee in our midst is part of our Christian vocation to which we were called in baptism.”
The cost for the day is $10, which includes refreshments and lunch. Please notify Rev. Shaw if you have special dietary requirements at 828-238-9065.