By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga.— A delegation of Cooperative Baptist ministers are participating this week in the third national Baptist-Muslim dialogue April 16-19 at the Greek Lake Conference Center/American Baptist Assembly in Green Lake, Wis.
This third national dialogue aims to form partnerships between a Baptist leader and a Muslim leader in a community and their two congregations for an ongoing relationship. In addition to leaders of local congregations, participants also include chaplains at colleges, universities, seminaries or prisons. During the dialogue, participants will build relationships with one another; learn about best practices in the twinning of congregations and mosques; explore the underpinnings of religious liberty in each tradition; and create a provisional plan for their congregations for when they return.
Rob Sellers, professor of theology at Logsdon School of Theology at Hardin-Simmons University and chair of the Parliament of World’s Religions, and Kyle Tubbs, lead pastor of Peace of Christ Church in Round Rock, Texas, are leading the CBF delegation and served on the dialogue’s steering committee. Conference organizers targeted participants 50 years of age and younger for this dialogue.
CBF is a sponsoring body of the Baptist-Muslim dialogue alongside American Baptist Churches U.S.A., Alliance of Baptists, Canadian Baptist Ministries, Lott Carey, National Baptist Convention of America, Progressive National Baptist Convention and the Islamic Society of North America.
In January 2009, the first national Baptist-Muslim dialogue was held in Boston at Andover Newton Theological School with the theme of loving one’s neighbor and addressed the topics of loving God in Scripture, tradition and practices from both a Baptist and Muslim perspective. Each topic was explored in plenary speeches and small discussion groups convened by a Baptist and a Muslim. The conclusion of the dialogue resulted in a joint statement of commitment to the idea and purpose of dialogue and mutual respect. The second Baptist-Muslim dialogue in 2011 focused on the theme of “Loving God as a Pathway to Peace.” CBF is a Christian network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry efforts, global missions and a broad community of support. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission. Learn more at www.cbf.net.
Aaron Weaver is communications director for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.