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08.02.2021

Jews, Christians & Muslims (JCM)

Photo: A. Wiemrado/UEM

48th international JCM conference takes place online

This year's Dialogue Conference with Jews, Christians and Muslims (JCM) will take place from Monday, February 8 to Sunday, February 14, 2021 and is organized in cooperation with the Bendorf Forum, the Institute for Church and Society, the JCM team and the United Evangelical Mission.

The theme of this year's JCM conference is: How does the time of isolation change our ideas of religious community? There will be presentations from a Jewish perspective, presented by Dr. Joshua Edelman, from a Muslim perspective, presented by Kübra Böler, and from a Christian perspective, presented by Rev. Mirko Lipski-Reinhardt. The format in which the conference is taking place is in itself an insight and example of how isolation is changing our notion of interfaith community.

Beginnings of the interfaith dialogue conference

The Jewish-Christian-Muslim Dialogue Conference has been held for 48 years. It is a conference that brings together Jewish, Christian, and Muslim believers to discuss issues from the perspective of the different faiths, collaborate in project groups, share knowledge and experiences through speakers, and have the opportunity to observe, share, and celebrate worship services of the different religions.

The conference has always been a place where people have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the Abrahamic religions, build friendships and partnerships across religious, cultural, political and national boundaries, and work together for peace and understanding among people in the world.

"Impossible" not in the vocabulary of people who believe in God

The conference, which initially began as a European conference bringing together people from Germany and England, has evolved over the course of its existence into a global conference that now attracts participants from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. However, due to the global Covid 19 pandemic, it initially looked as if the JCM conference would not be able to take place in 2021. But thankfully, the word "impossible" does not exist in the vocabulary of God-believing people, and so the JCM team reconvened to consider a way to turn the challenges posed by travel restrictions into opportunities.

A plan was developed that will now allow more than 120 participants from four continents to hear and engage with presentations together, participate in discussion groups, and work together in project groups. In addition, all participants will have the chance to take a virtual tour of a city important to all Abrahamic religions: Jerusalem. It will also be possible to participate in religious services, with the whole group first attending the Jumaa prayers in Bagamoyo in Tanzania on Friday, then the Jewish prayers in London in the evening, and the Christian services in Indonesia on Sunday.

Conference participants will register online and receive a schedule and link to join sessions, participate in discussion and project groups, attend the virtual field trips and attend services online.

The conference is also made possible thanks to the kind support of the Spalding Trust, the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, the Pastoralkolleg, the Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel, the Zanzibar Interfaith Centre, and the Eastern Coast Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania as well as thanks to the funding by the Cultural Fund of the Federal Foreign Office. Technical logistics are provided by Shock Audio Visual and Upendo Media. For more information about the conference, visit the JCM website.

Rev. Lusungu Mbilinyi (UEM Coordinator for Global Learning)

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