“What can we do to win the battle for peace and harmony?”
Attendants of the Chicago Interfaith Gathering Symposium hope to explore and build toward solutions to this question at this year’s gathering at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago Augustana Chapel, Nov. 10-11.
Sponsored by the Lutheran School of Theology at the Chicago Catholic Theological Union, McCormick Theological Seminary, and the Niagara Foundation, the event will bring together leaders and members of different cultures and faiths as a step toward increased tolerance and cooperation.
The title of the symposium, “Towards Interreligious Dialogue in the New Millenium,” spells out the vision of the organizers. Acknowledging the growing divisions between peoples of different religions in the past few years, the Chicago Interfaith Gathering hopes to bridge some of those gaps by initiating dialogue, and ultimately understanding, between different groups.
“The core mission of the Chicago Interfaith Gathering is to promote global networks of interfaith activism and to explore new ways of moving forward together in cooperation,” states the program. “While acknowledging and honoring our genuine differences, we aim to build on our shared hopes and values.”
The list of local religious and cultural groups that are cosponsoring the event demonstrates the breadth of involvement from diverse members of the Greater Chicago area. Academic institutions include Loyola University, University of Chicago, Depaul University, and the Catholic Theological Union. Religious and cultural organizations involved in the symposium include the Council on American Islamic Relations, the National Conference for Community and Justice, the Interfaith Youth Core, and the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Department of Ecumenical & Inter-religious Affairs.
Included on the program are several seminars to be led by world-renowned scholars and activists. The seminars will cover a broad spectrum of topics, including religious and cultural pluralism, Islam and Christianity in the post 9/11 world, and religion and ecology. On Nov. 11, two panels will meet to discuss Sufi thought and contemporary issues and the Gulen Movement. Keynote speakers include Martin Marty of the University of Chicago and Alparsian Acikgenc from Fatih University in Turkey.
Organizers of the Chicago Interfaith Gathering hope that it grows into an internationally recognized event that will help build bridges where violence has brought divisions. The symposium is free of charge and open to the public. For more information, visit the website at www.interfaithgathering.org.