Baptists, Muslims seek common ground

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Baptists, Muslims seek common ground

From November 30-December 2, 2012, Andover Newton Theological School hosted a gathering of more than 75 Baptist and Muslim leaders from across the United States to explore the theme “Loving God as a Pathway to Peace.” These groups share a growing urgency to seek to improve relationships between the two faiths.

The Baptist-Muslim Summit began with a  public event on Friday evening, Nov. 30, at First Baptist Church in Newton, 848 Centre Street in Newton Centre, Mass.

The program, “Muslims and Christians Working Together for Peace: Signs of Hope and Challenges,” included the insights of Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook, the president’s Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and Ambassador Rashad Hussain, U.S. Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Delegates participated in small group discussions, workshops, worship in both the Baptist and Muslim traditions, and halal meals. The invitation-only portions of the summit’s programming were held under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, and Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, National Director for the Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances of the Islamic Society of North America.

This was the second such gathering at Andover Newton, following a 2009 gathering of Baptist and Muslim scholars and religious leaders. Organizers hope the gathering helps to alleviate fear and misunderstanding of”the other” within these two communities of faith.

Sponsors were American Baptist Churches USA, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Alliance of Baptists, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the Lott Cary Society, the Islamic Society of North America, and Andover Newton Theological School.