GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College, a leading liberal arts college in northwest Pennsylvania, will host Fardosa Hassan at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27 in the Lutheran Heritage Room of the Howard Miller Student Center to launch a special yearlong program designed to promote interfaith understanding.
Hassan—the first Muslim chaplain in the 148-year history of Augsburg University—will deliver a talk titled “An Introduction to Islam and Muslims in America.” Her presentation is free and open to the public. Hassan will also attend several classes, meet with Thiel College students, faculty and staff and participate in an interfaith dinner and conversation on Thursday, Sept. 28.
The College will host a continuing series of events examining and discussing religion throughout the 2017-2018 academic year. The College, founded as a Lutheran institution in 1866, will join in the celebration of Luther 500, which is commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, with a day of events on Nov. 8. Cynthia D. Moe-Lobeda, Ph.D., who teaches Christian ethics at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry and is author or co-author of five volumes and a forthcoming book, caps the Nov. 8 events with a lecture.
“This is part of the College’s ongoing commitment to being an open, inclusive and welcoming learning environment for everyone,” Thiel College President Susan Traverso, Ph.D., said. “Prejudice and mistrust grow quickly in the vacuum of the unknown. Events like these are wonderful ways to encourage the spread of tolerance and help us learn about and build trust in each other.”
As part of the Luther 500 celebration on Nov. 8, Thiel Professor of Religion and Faculty Chair Dan Eppley, Ph.D., and Gannon University Associate Vice President University Mission & Ministry Michael Kesicki start the day with a program from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Lutheran Heritage Room discussing the Reformation. The lecture will be followed by a chapel service from 4-5 p.m. at the David Johnson Memorial Chapel.
“These events will increase interfaith understanding and will open dialogues for everyone to understand our nation’s diversity of religious traditions,” Traverso said.
A second interfaith program is set for spring 2018, and campus pastor Jayne Thompson will host youth events in preparation for Thiel College’s participation in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America national youth gathering in Houston this summer.
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