Center for Interfaith Engagement
We welcome you and want to engage you regardless of your religion or tradition, because we value your difference from us. This includes those of you who wouldn’t use words like “faith” or “God” in your understanding at all. We want to engage you because, speaking for ourselves in our language, we expect to meet our God in meeting with you—even if you’d describe the experience otherwise. That is our passion.
We commit to you that we will:
- honor and respect you. We will do our utmost not to deceive you.
- listen to you with respect and a desire to learn. We will try to understand you, even when we disagree.
- clearly present our point of view; the stories, texts and understandings we have been given. We have something to offer. So do you.
- struggle with what seems incompatible between us, remaining committed to relationship with you.
- discover our common ground and build on it in concrete ways. We believe in service.
- point out when you confuse or alarm us, and work with you on that. We like negotiating.
- strengthen our hospitality, comfort and enjoyment while we explore our differences. We need to live together, even when we remain different.
If you will make the same commitment to us, we have engagement.
What we do
- Provide a safe place for engagement among persons across the spectrum of faiths and belief systems. We are particularly interested in engaging persons who have felt uncomfortable with compromising dialogue.
- Offer a range of speakers representing the Abrahamic faith traditions to give input in campus-wide forums, classroom presentations, in seminars, and in workshops.
- Host visiting Jewish and Muslim faculty to engage in theological reflection and interfaith dialogue on many issues with EMU faculty and students.
- Cultivate international exchange opportunities with universities and institutes in other countries and religious contexts that enable faculty and student exchanges providing opportunities for interfaith dialogue.
- Strengthen interfaith relationships in the Harrisonburg area through building relationships with local Jewish and Muslim communities. Efforts include a summer Interfaith Peace Camp for children from the three local faith communities as well as student and community visits to the mosque and synagogue for prayer and worship services.
Mission of the Center for Interfaith Engagement
Grounded in Anabaptist values of nonviolent engagement and service, the Center invites Christians, Jews, Muslims and others from diverse streams to build relationships based on mutual respect and understanding. In collaboration with other institutions, the Center promotes theological dialogue and reflection, faith-based conflict transformation, and interfaith humanitarian service.
Building safe respectful relationships, we seek a deeper understanding while struggling with our differences.
What’s our logo all about?
Abraham’s Tent was open to the four winds, a safe place of hospitality towards strangers and engagement with them.
- this is where we Anabaptists engage with those wholly outside our tradition, including people of all religions and those who profess no religion at all.
- this is a place where we Anabaptists engage those whose traditions overlap with ours as children of Abraham, among whom there has been much conflict. Under this rubric we include all Christians, Jews and Muslims.
More questions? See our frequently asked questions (FAQ) page for discussion of why, how, and other issues.
Interfaith news on campus
- October 20th, 2014
Late one January afternoon in 2009, during a three-week war between the Israeli military and Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip, two tank shells crashed through the bedroom wall of a Palestinian home in Jabalia City where Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish lived with his family. Three of his daughters between the ages of 13 and 21 ...More
- September 24th, 2014
“Religious Life” is the kind of topic one would expect Eastern Mennonite University to pick as its 2014 theme for International Education Week. It may surprise some, though, that this Christian university used the words “religious life” to refer to more faith perspectives than Christianity exclusively. Then, again, this is a Christian university that says ...More