VALLEY FORGE, PA (6/5/17)—American Baptist Women’s Ministries hosted a virtual mission encounter, “See Me As I Am,” on Baptist-Muslim dialogue, May 8-12, 2017. This virtual mission encounter equipped American Baptist and Muslim women for effective interfaith dialogue and promoted the vision of beloved community.
The event both demonstrated and resourced interfaith dialogue. Each night’s conference call featured two women, one Baptist and one Muslim, offering different perspectives on key questions of faith, followed by conversation with participants. Speakers included Rev. Carol McVetty and Taalibah Haasan, Dr. Safiya Saaman and Rev. Dr. Suzanne Kershaw, Marcia Street and Munira A. El Bearny, and Rafia Syeed and Rev. Elizabeth Congdon. On the final evening of the virtual mission encounter, participants shared about their learnings and plans for engaging in interfaith dialogue in their communities.
Topics of conversation included overviews of the pillars of Christian and Muslim faith, prayer and worship, acts of faith and the importance of serving our communities, and how Jesus is perceived in Islam and Christianity.
“It made me eager to engage in interfaith dialogue, locally,” concluded Meredith, one of the participants. Another participant, Joan, commented, “[This was] a great opportunity to learn for those of us who live in parts of the country where almost everyone looks the same.”
“In this broken world, women’s role is to bring healing and reconciliation without sacrificing our identities. Women of God, mothers of humanity, have to restore wholeness to humanity and connect us with the divine. We need to have conversation and continue to sacrifice our egos for the sake of greater good, and dedicate our God-given energies to eradicate hate and violence. As Christians and Muslims, we believe in the second coming of Christ. He will bring peace and justice not to one group, not to one nation, but to the entirety of humanity. We need to work together to prepare the world for his coming,” said Rafia Syeed, speaker and founding president of Bridging the Gap, Connecting the Faithful (www.btgweb.org).
“AB Women’s Ministries provided this virtual mission encounter as a model and invitation for Baptist and Muslim women to get to know one another and in so doing, become comfortable talking about our faith practices, traditions, and beliefs,” said Virginia Holmstrom, ABWM executive director. “Interfaith dialogue, done in the spirit of respect, can build bridges of understanding and peace in a world that seemingly seeks to divide us.”
Virtual mission encounters, hosted regularly by American Baptist Women’s Ministries since 2010, are rich and unique experiences of mission and education through the platforms of daily activity emails and evening conference calls with speakers and other participants. For information on upcoming webinars and events for women and girls through AB Women’s Ministries, visit www.abwministries.org.
American Baptist Women’s Ministries is a Christ-centered ministry with a commitment to encourage and empower women and girls to serve God.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.