On Saturday, October 27, Hartford Seminary presented a special interfaith afternoon of exploration and discovery to confirmation classes from 10 United Church of Christ and Episcopal churches.
Close to 100 students attended to learn about Islam through the stories of Seminary students and to get a better understanding of the religion through conversation with the students, who are in the Islamic Studies and the Islamic Chaplaincy programs at the Seminary.
?Faithful Christian discipleship today will be lived out in communities in which there are many other faith traditions. This afternoon is an opportunity for young people and their advisors to meet, learn about, and be in conversation with our Muslim partners in the Abrahamic tradition,? said The Rev. Dr. Jonathan B. Lee, Director of Institutional Advancement at the Seminary. Lee organized and moderated the event.
?Hartford Seminary, a school that specializes in interfaith dialogue, strives to reach out to faith communities with programs that expand understanding and awareness.? Lee said.
Presenting during the afternoon program were:
- — Sami Shamma, who offered an introduction to Islam
- — Asmaou Diallo who spoke on her roots in Guinea and her wearing the hijab
- — Junaid Sulahry, who spoke on the impact of 9-11 on him
- — Jaye Starr, who spoke on the aspects of Islam that are attractive to her (at left)
- — Morteza Rezazadeh, who spoke about his home country of Iran and the difference between Shi?a and Sunni Islam (at left)
The afternoon included presentation of a video A Land Called Paradise, followed by six discussion groups to reflect on the video. The groups were led by the five presenters and Liza Arulampalam, who assists Lee in coordination of the International Peacemaking Program at the Seminary. Rezazadeh is a student in the program this year.
At the conclusion of the event, the students enjoyed a meal of stuffed grape leaves, pizza and baklava. The dialogue with the Seminary students continued during the meal.
(Above, Sami Shamma talks with several students.)
Also attending the event was Zulu Lemtur, who is in the International Peacemaking Program. He is pictured here with Asmaou Diallo.