HARTFORD, CT – More than 30 experts in interfaith dialogue will participate in a new, innovative seminar offered by Hartford Seminary in June, titled "Religious Leadership in an Interfaith World."
Made possible by a generous grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the seminar will provide religious leaders of all faiths – clergy, educators, administrators, chaplains, and others – an introduction to religious diversity in the American context, methodologies for interfaith engagement, and resources for further exploration.
The seminar will run from June 6 through June 10.
"In a culture marked by religious diversity, effective religious leadership must include awareness of, and engagement with, faith traditions other than one's own. I am delighted that Hartford Seminary is offering this special seminar that reflects our mission and underscores the importance of interfaith dialogue in today's multi-faith world," President Heidi Hadsell said. "We're grateful to the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations for its support."
Participating in the seminar will be Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Quakers, Unitarians, and Wiccans. They are leaders of interfaith organizations in, among other places, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. One is president of the Universal Society of Hinduism; another is a documentary filmmaker.
The geographic range is equally broad – from California to New York, with one pastor coming from Switzerland.
The instructors will be Lucinda Mosher, Faculty Associate in Interfaith Studies; Yehezkel Landau, Faculty Associate in Interfaith Relations; David Roozen, Professor of Religion and Society, and Timur Yuskaev, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Islam.
"I am excited to be teaching this course, and delighted at the diversity of religions represented among the participants," Mosher said.
The seminar will teach students the skills, tools, and resources to guide their local faith community in recognizing the reality of multiple faiths in the changing American religious landscape. They will receive practical resources for religious rituals where multiple faiths are present or participating as well as for services beyond ritual.
After the seminar, participants will launch an interfaith project in their home context, presenting their project at a follow-up gathering in January 2012.
The seminar is part of a larger initiative to use the insights and practical experiences of participants and faculty to create a reproducible set of curricular materials on interfaith leadership for use in other settings.
The ultimate goal of the project funded by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations is to develop a set of fresh, relevant and accessible teaching materials and resources that can be used and adapted for other offerings not only at Hartford Seminary, but at other institutions, and for use with other potential constituencies such as religious educators, seminary faculty or businesses.
Some of the materials would be online.
The project will provide the participants, who are current or potential interfaith leaders, with a core understanding of the issues and opportunities of interfaith work and to establish an ongoing learning community for the sharing of information and insights on religious leadership.
Hartford Seminary is a laboratory for this type of innovative project. The Seminary is dedicated to preparing peacemakers and promoting vital faith communities. It offers unique programs within an interfaith setting, focusing on deepening knowledge of one's own tradition balanced with developing skills in interfaith dialogue. Students enjoy a lived experience, in the classroom and on campus.
About Hartford Seminary
Hartford Seminary engages leaders in international inter-religious initiatives; prepares leaders, students, scholars and religious institutions to understand and live faithfully in today's multi-faith, world; engages a diverse array of people in dialogue; and affirms the particularities of faith and social context while openly exploring differences and commonalities. The Seminary provides educational opportunities that enable participants to understand themselves and their faith traditions better and to contribute more fully to a culture of dialogue and creative leadership in their civic and faith communities locally, nationally and abroad.