From the Worldwide Faith News archives

GA asked to lift up Muslim-Christian dialogue

Date 18 Jun 2002 08:34:02 -0400

Note #7255 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


GA asked to lift up Muslim-Christian dialogue

by Frank Buhrman

COLUMBUS, OH - Even for a denomination as ecumenically oriented as the Presbyterian Church (USA), the events of Sept. 11 were a challenge. The denomination responded with a number of gestures aimed at improving Christian-Muslim relations - efforts described in a report the 214th General Assembly will be asked to approve.

The GA committee on catholicity and ecumenical relations acted on Monday, June 17, on the report, which urges Presbyterians to relate to Muslims in their communities who are interested in building bridges of understanding. It also says Presbyterians support all victims of religious discrimination "in response to world events and the perceived interests of the United States."

It also calls for the General Assembly Council (GAC) to step up its efforts at dialogue, and commends to Presbyterians several publications for study and reflection, including "Striving Together in Dialogue: A Muslim-Christian Call to Reflection and Action," written by Christians and Muslims together after a series of discussions organized by the World Council of Churches."

The committee also recommended the GA document "Turn to the Living God," as well as three pamphlets on interfaith relations.

In committee hearings, several people spoke in favor of Muslim-Christian dialogue, but expressed concern that the "Striving Together" document doesn't go far enough in spelling out Christian theological positions. The Rev. Kathleen Oppenhuizen, who has spent four years in largely Muslim Kazakhstan, said she feels "there is not a clarity as to where we stand and who we are."

The GA committee on ecumenical relations presented three Ecumenical Service Awards during its meeting.

Bryn Mawr (PA) Presbyterian Church was honored for "its many ecumenical ministries over the last 25 years." The Toledo (OH) Metropolitan Mission received an award for "working ecumenically to identify needs for systemic change in the area."  Santa Fe Presbytery and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe were honored for "acts of reconciliation" in resolving past conflicts. 
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