I have great admiration for people who want to find common ground and bring people together rather than find ways to divide and exclude then. Our world is sorely in need of more bridge builders.
In that spirit, I was delighted to have Dr. Bob Brizee and Dr. Robert Anderson of Wenatchee's First United Methodist Church stop by to talk about a special weekend of lectures honoring the late Dr. James Albertson, a former pastor at the church,
The theme this year is bridging the divide between the world religions by finding common ground.
"The goal is to address the many world conflicts which are basically fired by religious convictions," said Brizee, an ordained Methodist minister.
Dr, Jerry Campbell, the president of Claremont Lincoln University will give the lectures on the evening of Friday, May 9 and Saturday May 10. Claremont a nonprofit graduate school "founded on the conviction that the world's great philosophical, religious, and ethical traditions are deep wells of wisdom for bringing people together to address perennial social problems," according to its web site.
What makes the school relatively unique is that it underneath it's umbrella are independent organizations providing degrees in other faiths, such as Jain, Buddhist, Jewish and Islam, I was told. It's a multi-religious university.
Claremont will still educate people for Christian ministry but will also provide with the opportunity for them "to join with students of other world religions to learn to appreciate, understand and cooperate with one another," Brizee added.
Anderson, a retired family physician who went on to a teaching career devoted to holistic medicine, said the school's model is designed to get away from the "us vs. them" religious battles that have led to so many conflicts all over the world.
For the Albertson lectures, the church is reaching out to other faiths in the community and hope to have rich discussions. You can find more information about signing up for the lectures by logging into the church web site: www.firstumchurch.org/