Muslim Youth Association on Capitol Hill

We do not usually publish press releases, but this one came across our desktop this week and it is pertinent to our membership.

On Friday, May 1st, Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA), the youth organization of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, brought 150 young Muslim leaders from across the country to Capitol Hill for its second annual “Muslim Youth Day on the Hill” event. The youth had organized and individually met with 100 members of congress and their staff during the day about stopping the growth of radicalization and seeking their support for House Resolution 1568, which aims to protect religious minorities who are being persecuted by ISIS – particularly Christians and Yazidis.

A highlight of the day was when the youth joined Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Ted Poe (R-TX) in the Capitol building to re-launch the Ahmadiyya Muslim Caucus for the 114th Session, which aims to stand up for persecuted religious minorities. The event was attended by the U.S. State Department, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, HIAS Refugees, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and Shia Rights Watch

Representative Speier was the first to speak at the Caucus launch event, where she identified the problem of religious intolerance around the world and the work of AMYA to combat radicalization. “Your efforts to denounce and stop the radicalization of young Muslim women and men is deeply appreciated by all of us in this country,” Rep. Speier remarked. “The religious intolerance that we see today is frightening, and it then foments, I think, some of the militaristic actions that we have seen by some and that we must put down.”

Representative Poe then addressed all in attendance expressing not only outrage for the persecution that many religious groups face around the world (including the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community) but also praising AMYA for its work. “Efforts like this are a great way to expose the brutality of ISIS and to eliminate that philosophy that a lot of people throughout the world have: that all Muslims are the same. And with a broad swipe, [they] blame all Muslims for the conduct of a radical group of Muslims.”

The event closed with remarks by Dr. Basiyr Rodney, Executive Vice President of AMYA. Dr. Rodney began by addressing the carnage created by ISIS in a large region of territory between Iraq and Syria. Dr. Rodney spoke about the ongoing commitment of AMYA to counter radicalization, epitomized in the nationwide STOP THE CRISIS initiative. After explaining how protection of non-Muslims is an Islamic duty firmly established by the Prophet Muhammad 1,400 years ago, Dr. Rodney said: “we have another opportunity to stand up against the forces of destruction and aggression by offering our unyielding support for all refugees who have fled ISIS’s grip. We ask our congressional representatives to adopt house resolution HR 1568 sponsored by Rep Vargas, which calls for protecting religious minorities persecuted by ISIS. It is an important step toward granting freedom to victims of brutality, and we support all efforts towards the universal protection of freedom of conscience.”

The 150 Muslim youth then gathered at the National Mall outside and performed the Islamic Friday Prayer service in the open public. People passing by both listened in to the sermon and took pictures of the young Muslims engaged in worship.

About Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association:
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) is a nationwide youth group that works with young Muslim men and boys around the country. The association serves as the young men and boys auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Officially established in the United States in 1939, AMYA is one of the earliest Muslim Youth organizations in the United States.

AMYA is a dynamic and vibrant association serving not only the needs of its members but of its local communities and nation. The association is comprised of more than 3,000 men and boys aged 7 to 40, spread across 70 local chapters. Previous members of AMYA include Grammy Award winning artists and Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. AMYA is headquartered in Silver Springs MD.

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Wimberly presentation at Yale

The Youth Ministry Initiative at Yale will be featuring our member and past president, Dr. Anne Wimberly, in a presentation on May 6th at 12:30 pm eastern time. It will be live-streamed, so even if you aren’t in New Haven, you will be able to hear her lecture.

The session will include an overview of meanings assigned to the term “disconnected youth,” also called “unchurched youth,” and will highlight profiles of disconnected youth, internal and external relational challenges churches face in reaching these youth, and examples of effective ministry paradigms that build bridges of connection between these youth and churches. The lecture will draw on preliminary data uncovered in the Youth Hope-Builders Academy (YHBA) research project entitled “Building Bridges of Hope: The Church’s Role in Reaching Disconnected Youth.”

Previous presentations in the Initiative are also archived online.

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Share our meeting flyers!

Plans continue for our next annual meeting in November, to be held the 6-8th in Atlanta. We now have two versions of a flyer that you can download and print, or send to friends and colleagues electronically.

This is a great way to start a conversation about our organization, and invite people to consider proposing a paper or workshop.

Remember that the CFP deadline is May 1st.

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Chair, Department of Theology & Philosophy

Divine Word College, A Roman Catholic Seminary College located in Epworth, IA, invites applications for a Department Chair position in Theology & Philosophy. We seek a Catholic theologian with a proven record of teaching, serious commitment to scholarship, and some administrative experience.

The Department of Theology & Philosophy offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology and Religious Studies, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, an Associate of Arts degree in Theology and Religious Studies, and a minor in Philosophy. Faculty in the Department also contribute courses toward the College’s core curriculum.

Divine Word College is committed to building a culturally diverse faculty who enjoy working in our multicultural environment. Many of our students are international, representing over twenty countries. We, therefore, encourage applications from women and minorities who will enrich our cultural diversity and contribute to the quality of our curriculum.

A doctorate in theology in the Catholic tradition from an accredited institution of higher education is required. Candidates should be able to teach a variety of courses in theology at the undergraduate level. The Chair will model current best practices in teaching that include effective use of teaching technology. The Chair will teach two courses per semester, in addition to performing administrative responsibilities that include: determine faculty teaching schedules; cultivate a quality faculty through mentoring and effective annual evaluation; assure continuous improvement of the programs in the Department through program review and assessment of student learning; provide leadership and collaborate with colleagues and administration in developing new courses; encourage and facilitate faculty professional engagement; recruit and supervise adjuncts; organize student advisement; plan and manage the departmental operating budget; work collaboratively with the other chairs and the administration; understand and promote the mission and core values of the College; and support the College’s Strategic Plan. The position is available in August, 2015

Those who wish to apply should send the following documents: a letter describing teaching, research interests, and administrative experience and how they fit the mission of DWC; a statement of teaching philosophy; a sample of scholarly writing; and contact information (name, phone, email) of three references. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Send all application materials to: dpuccio@dwci.edu. Additional information about the College is available at: www. dwci.edu.

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Bible literacy in teen narrative form

Organizers seek help in shaping a new teaching tool

A team of scholars, writers, graphic artists, and media producers have begun work on a project that introduces young people to the Bible and to its historical contexts in visually and narratively compelling new ways. A set of graphic novels, already in production, seeks to embed Scriptural stories in the imaginative context of ancient teens’ struggles to live lives of faith. The creators are seeking to “test run” their flagship novel with North American teenagers and teachers beginning this month, in order to refine its language and imagery before final roll-out in Fall 2016. Members of the REA are invited to learn more, and to suggest links with North American high school teachers, youth ministers, and teen groups who would like to participate in vetting the text.

The flagship text, Pathfinder, is framed as a cliff-hanging teen adventure told in full color manga style. It presents the story of Jesus as relayed in Mark’s Gospel, through the eyes of early Christian young adults. The year is 64 c.e., a few weeks before the Great Fire sparks Nero’s persecutions in Rome. A boy runs through the streets of the capital. He is late. He sees an ichthus sign on a door and goes in. Behind the door all is hope and expectancy; the boy’s fellow Christians are awaiting the arrival of Peter and his companion Matthias, who have come to tell stories about Jesus. … Eventually, scapegoated by power-hungry Roman aristocrats, a number of leading Jesus-believers are put to death, including Peter and Paul. The survivors ask: what will happen to the stories of Jesus now? When Jerusalem is finally destroyed some years later, Mark decides to write down and circulate his memories, and the “gospel” genre is born.

The text is set in “broadcast” English, geared to a general public of reading age 9-13. The translations and background frameworks have been developed by an ecumenical group of Bible scholars including James D.G. Dunn, Morna Hooker, Markus Bockmuehl, Judith Lieu, Chris Rowland, and Nicholas King, SJ. Also involved are Hollywood and international artists (e.g., writers Stan Berkowitz and Alan Burnett, the manga cartoonist Siku), and religious educators from across the UK. Behind the project is Methodist minister Brian Brown, one-time executive producer and co-creator of animated Bible programing such as ITV’s The StoryKeepers and BBC’s Friends and Heroes, and now the Visiting Fellow in Media and Communication at St John’s College, Durham University in England. Animated shorts, discussion materials, and cross curricular activity guides are also planned.

Future books in the series include: The Trail, the story of a teenage Jewish Christian girl and her family – forced by persecutors to leave their home in Antioch, they join a doctor on his quest to gather stories about Jesus and his earliest followers (Luke / Acts); The Teacher, the account of a young Galilean who learns from his grandfather – a first-hand witness of Jesus’ ministry – how to build a new life in post-70 c.e. eretz Israel (Gospel of Matthew); and additional novelizations of John’s Gospel, Paul’s main letters, Revelation / the remaining Epistles, and First Testament texts.

Over the next 12 months, students and teachers will receive sections of the Pathfinder text for review and comment; the production team will then incorporate student feedback into the final version of the book. At the end, students will gain free access to Pathfinder in digital form. The organizers hope to line up interested groups of reviewers during April 2015. To learn more about the project, to see some examples of the text and art, or to suggest links with religious educators as potential vetters, email john.paul.falcone@gmail.com.

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Interim ministry position at Shalom Hill Farm

Shalom Hill Farm is looking for someone to lead their retreat and rural education ministry into its next phase of life. The call includes oversight of staff and general day to day operations, promotion of the organization at synod and other community events, fund raising, preaching and increasing the awareness of the Farm and its mission wherever and whenever possible. We’re looking for someone with excellent interpersonal skills, experience and ability in working with a staff and leading retreats and bible study.  Passion for gardening and care of farm animals (sheep and chickens) desired.  Send cover letter and résumé by May 9, 2015 to Shalom Hill Farm, shf@rconnect.com, 42194 County Road 3, Windom, MN 56101. For more information about our ministry check our website www.shalomhillfarm.org or contact us.

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CFP Mentoring conference

The Mentoring Institute at the University of New Mexico (UNM) is now seeking proposals for the 2015 mentoring conference: New Perspectives in Mentoring: A Quest for Leadership Excellence & Innovation.  The 8th annual conference will be held on Tuesday, October 20 through Friday, October 23 at the Student Union Building, situated on UNM’s main campus in Albuquerque, NM.

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CFP: Ecclesiology and ethnography

The conference on ecclesiology and ethnography welcomes papers that explore the dynamic relationship between the theological and the lived in ecclesiology.

This conference is part of the Ecclesiology and Ethnography network, which seeks to draw together scholars working with theological approaches to qualitative research on the Christian Church. We encourage single and multi-authored papers. All papers are to be circulated prior to the event to enhance conference conversations and interaction.

Established scholars, doctoral students as well as pastor/scholars working in church settings are welcome to propose papers. As per previous years there will be mix of plenary presentations and shorter papers. Proposals are due on June 1.  Please send your abstract and title (no more than 500 words), along with contact to Prof. Pete Ward

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Creativity and the Spirit

Given that our next annual meeting is focused on the theme of imagination, and also the fact that our call for proposals deadline is May 1st, many readers of this website should be interested in the March issue of the Interfaith Observer, which is focused on creativity and spirit.

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CFP: Mending the world

The Church of Sweden Research Unit, and the Church of Sweden Policy Unit, invite papers on the theme “Mending the world: Possibilities and obstacles for religion, church and theology,” to be included in a conference taking place in Uppsala, Sweden October 13-15, 2015.  More information is available online.

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