Monday, December 21, 2015

An important resource for members of LEIRN

Dear LEIRN Members:

No doubt many of you already have read Presiding Bishop Eaton's open letter to the Muslim American community. Now an additional resource has been compiled by the ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Muslim Relations and their academic and staff colleagues. The Panel is a group of Lutheran professors and pastors who advise the Presiding Bishop and periodically offer educational resources for this church.

The resource is intended to provide background for understanding terrorism--as well as for responding to the violent reactions and harsh anti-Muslim public speech evoked by recent terrorist attacks. The document and its linked resources draw very clear distinctions between the perpetrators of such attacks and the vast majority of Muslims around the world, including refugees, and certainly including our friends and neighbors in the U.S.A--many of whom are speaking out against these attacks, and doing so from the heart of their Islamic faith.

The document's cover page is designed also to be a stand-alone handout as needed. The remaining pages offer article digests and links to statements from leaders and groups--Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and non-religious. Members of the Panel will plan to send brief updates when appropriate.

Links to this resource document and to Bishop Eaton's letter are now included in the "Other resources" section of this blog. The material is being shared with the Conference of Bishops, seminary deans, and campus pastors.

The LEIRN Board encourages all appointed Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Representatives to be in touch with their bishops in coming days to make sure they have received the Panel resource, to ask if they have any questions about it, and to inquire whether you can be of service in making the resource available to the members of your synod. Now is the time for us to mobilize our resources as a network to mitigate anti-Islamic hate speech and violence in our communities. Please take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the Panel resource and to commend it to your bishop.

Sincerely,

Chris Olkiewicz
Board President

PS -- As the Panel adds additional resources to the document, updates will be reflected here.

Friday, December 4, 2015

An invitation from Interfaith Partners for Peace

 


Dear Friends,

I've been involved for about a year now with the Interfaith Partners for Peace, which is giving resources and leadership to grass-roots clergy dyads (rabbi & pastor) around the country in studying together and working together on behalf of a two-state resolution of the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict. See the link to our IP4P web page for more information on this.

We are currently recruiting dyads for 2016, including a study trip to Israel and Palestine over 6-15 March 2016 (who wouldn't want to be in Jerusalem for the 5th Sunday in Lent?!). Interested clergy can sign the partnership pledge on the website and the staff at JCPA will contact them about next steps. Or they can send questions through the website or directly to me.

This program is the closest thing I've seen yet to building the kind of interfaith movement that understands and supports the "both-and" approach to Israel and Palestine that I think most moderate American Christians want to see, and for which I believe we have worked hard in our efforts as a panel.

Please share this invitation with anyone you know who might be interested, including yourselves. The trip is not no-cost, but it's heavily subsidized and therefore financially within reach of many of our clergy. And I'll be one of the study leaders on the trip (whichever way that plays for potential recruits!).

Peter Pettit
Muhlenberg College

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