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Christian Leadership Initiative Begins at the Hartman Institute

Intensive 10-day seminar in Jewish texts and learning that is the first of its kind even at an Institute that has been deeply involved in interfaith activities for decades

Leading Christian academics, theologians and clergy are headed to the Shalom Hartman Institute beginning July 21, 2008, for an intensive 10-day seminar in Jewish texts and learning that is the first of its kind even at an Institute that has been deeply involved in interfaith activities for decades.

The new Christian Leadership Initiative, developed in partnership with the American Jewish Committee, is designed to provide Christian leaders with an opportunity to gain a more profound understanding of Judaism, the Jewish people and the State of Israel. The Christian Leadership Initiative is a comprehensive program that grounds its participants in the central ideas of Jewish ethics and faith, the diverse ideologies and practices of contemporary world Jewry, and the intellectual foundations of religious pluralism and interreligious studies.

The program’s first cohort consists of 15 prominent religious and academic figures who head major Christian universities, colleges, seminaries and organizations across the United States. They represent a variety of denominations, including United Church of Christ, African Methodist Episcopal, Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and more.

In pre-seminar comments, the participants all expressed keen interest in deepening their knowledge of Judaism and Israel.

“I offer leadership to hundreds of churches and clergy,” one wrote. “The better informed I am about the complexities of the Middle East, the better job I can do to help them interpret the headlines, the questions of their congregations, and the issues that emerge in our tows that pertain to interfaith concerns.”

Another participant had expectations of spiritual development, and said he hoped the seminar would “deepen my appreciation of the historical and theological connection of the Biblical traditions, locations, and faith,” and that it would “provide reflective time for personal growth and spiritual development.”

Here is the list of participants:

  • Rev. Dr. Jim Antal, Conference Minister and President, Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ
  • Dr. Michael A. Battle, President, Interdenominational Theological Center
  • Ref. Dr. James Butler, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Rev. Dr. Cynthia Campbell, President, McCormick Theological Seminary
  • Rev. Dr. John Deckenback, Conference Minister and President, Central Atlantic Conference, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Peter Eaton, Rector and Dean, St. John’s Cathedral
  • Dr. J. Frederick Holper, Professor of Preaching and Worship, McCormick Theological Seminary
  • Rev. Dr. William Madges, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, St. Joseph’s University
  • Rev. Dr. Esther Menn, Professor of Old Testament, Lutheran School of Theology
  • Rev. Dr. W. Douglas Mills, Associate General Secretary, General Conference on Christian Laity and Interreligious Concerns, United Methodist Church
  • Rev. Dr. Jeff Siker, Chair, Department of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University.
  • Rev. Dr. Judy Yates Siker, Dean of Faculty, American Baptists Seminary of the West and Vice President, San Francisco Theological Seminary
  • Rev. Dr. Michael Trice, Director, Ecumenical Formation and Interreligious Relations, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

You care about Israel, peoplehood, and vibrant, ethical Jewish communities. We do too.

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