Houghton to Host Symposium on Interfaith Dialogue

Houghton College will host its 9th annual Kindschi Faith and Justice Symposium from January 22 to 24, 2020. This year’s topic, “Around the Table: Interfaith Dialogue,” will explore ways of engaging effectively in discussions with people of many faiths. The Symposium will include interactive events, workshops and panel discussions. The keynote speakers come from a variety of faith traditions, including Christianity, Islam and Orthodox Judaism. Symposium events are free and open to the public.

“Rather than ignoring the role of religion in public life or downplaying the deep differences between world religions,” says Dr. Michael Ritter, Houghton College assistant professor of international development and director of the Center for Faith, Justice and Global Engagement, “our speakers will address how people of faith can bring their beliefs to the table and yet build bridges with people who hold religious beliefs different from their own.”

The Symposium begins on the 22nd at 11:05 am in the John and Charles Wesley Chapel on the Houghton College campus with an interfaith dialogue between Shirley V. Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, and Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a non-profit organization that is working to make interfaith cooperation a social norm in America. Hoogstra serves on the steering committee for the Washington Higher Ed Secretariat; is a leader for the Evangelical Immigration Table; and serves on the boards of the American Council on Education, the National Association of Evangelicals and Trinity Forum. A key figure on issues of religious diversity and democracy, Patel was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report in 2009. He is the author of several books including Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation and Interfaith Leadership: A Primer. He also publishes a regular blog for Inside Higher Ed called Conversations on Diversity.

The other keynote speaker for the event is Retired Salvation Army Commissioner Christine MacMillan, Senior Advisor for Social Justice for the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). As founding director of the Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission, Christine promotes research as a pivotal approach in addressing social issues with participative input of those who experience the challenges of humanitarian inequities. Additional speakers for the event include: David Nekrutman, Executive Director for The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding & Cooperation (CJCUC) in Jerusalem, Israel; Chris Stewart, Chief Grants Officer of the Templeton Religion Trust; Lena Crouso, Vice President for Intercultural Learning and Engagement and Chief Diversity Officer at Southern Nazarene University; and Stephen Strand, adjunct faculty of Houghton College Buffalo, where he works with students of newcomer families from around the world. For a complete schedule of events and speaker profiles, visit www.houghton.edu/faith-and-justice.

The Kindschi Faith and Justice Symposium at Houghton College seeks to create awareness and dialogue around key issues, to facilitate ongoing conversations, and to build partnerships to enhance programs. In 2018, Dr. P. Douglas Kindschi ’62 and his wife Barbara (Pechuman ’62) Kindschi created an endowment fund to ensure that a permanent stream of funding will support this annual symposium.