Northern Illinois Conference Leaders Join Delegation to Turkey

NIC Delegation to Turkey: (LtoR ) Ed Hiestand, Nancy Hiestand, 
K.P. Chung, Amos Oladipo, Sherif Soyan, 
Bishop Jung, Im Jung, Catiana McKay, David Lagos-Fonseca.
NIC Delegation to Turkey: (LtoR ) Ed Hiestand, Nancy Hiestand, K.P. Chung, Amos Oladipo, Sherif Soyan, Bishop Jung, Im Jung, Catiana McKay, David Lagos-Fonseca.

Date posted: October 7, 2011

In Istanbul, a modern bridge spans the Bosporus between Asia and Europe. Symbolically, the bridge reaching between the cultures of Turkey and the West, now extends also between Anatolian Muslims and Christians and Northern Illinois Conference United Methodists.

At the invitation of the Niagara Foundation in Chicago, Bishop Hee-Soo Jung led a delegation of Northern Illinois interfaith leaders from the Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns on a 10- day journey through Turkey from October 19–29.

A year ago at a dinner at the Turkish American Society of Chicago during the Bishop’s Interfaith bus trip, the invitation was made by Niagara Foundation of Chicago to be their guests in an educational journey across the cultures of east and west, Muslim and Methodist. The United Methodist delegation was ably guided by Chicago Niagara Executive Director Sherif Soydan and Assistant Director Hakan Berberoglu into the deeply hospitable culture of Turkey.

The Niagara Foundation has helped the United Methodist Church and its congregations in building relations with the MuslimTurkish people of the Chicago area over several years. It has done this through dinners, Iftars, luncheon speakers, dialogues, exposure to their creative science education program, mystic Muslim Rumi, and Sufi whirling dervish performances. Niagara’s vision, within Allah’s mission, is to make Chicago a place of peace, cross-cultural tolerance, and human dignity. They find inspiration for this vision in the work of honorary president M. Fethullah Gulen, a world renowned Muslim scholar. His message of love, tolerance, and peaceable coexistence has catalyzed a movement through faith-based scientific education and interfaith dialogue within Turkey, Central Asia, and worldwide for a harmony of (not clash of) civilizations.

Traveling together were Bishop Hee- Soo and Im Hyon Jung, along with family friend and physician Kwang P. Chung, and CCUIC interfaith dialogue leaders Amos Oladipo chairperson, Catiana McKay, former chairperson, on the advisory board of Niagara, David Lagos-Fonseca, and Nancy and Edgar Hiestand, NIC Ecumenical Interreligious Officer.

Through the auspices in Turkey of the Atlantic Association of Cultural Cooperation & Friendship (Bakiad), Niagara arranged for our delegation to meet Gulen supporters, journalists, school administrators, government officials, and Armenian and Syrian Orthodox church leaders. While traveling through Istanbul, Ephesus, Ankara, Rumi’s Konya, early Cappadocia cave churches, Abraham’s Sanliurfa, and Mardin—southeast city of Kurds, Arabs, Turks, Muslims and Christians, the delegation soaked up new learnings—historic, cultural, and generous Turkish hospitality. In multiple meal settings, including family dinners in homes, conversation quickly moved to intentional interfaith dialogue, and the mandate God/Allah lays on us all to love God, and love (in deed) the whole human family.

Perhaps the most important treasures of trip are what the group brought back—that both Turkey and Chicago are crucibles of diversity in which the relation of religions, cultures, politics, and civil and human rights are being ground out for the 21st century. We found that Turkish Muslims in the Gulen movement and United Methodists both operate out of a “movement” model of personal and communal accountability under God. What comes next is deepening here, through mutual hospitality, the friendships begun. Such friendships are the foundational construction of the bridge across cultures which leads to the peaceful shore.

Source: Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church , 11-28-2008

Related News

Bill Clinton on Fethullah Gulen’s Contribution to the World

Fethullah Gulen, the Gulen Movement (aka the Hizmet Movement), and their contributions to the world peace were recognized by 42nd U.S. President Bill Clinton. Hon. Bill Clinton delivered his remarks at the 3rd Annual Friendship Dinner by Turkish Cultural Center, New York City. President Clinton offered his thanks to the Gülen Movement for contributions to […]

International panel on Mary was held in Istanbul

An international panel, titled “Mary in the Holy Scripture and Qur’an,” was jointly held by the Journalists and Writers Foundation’s (GYV) Intercultural Dialogue Platform (KADİP), the Tevere Institute and İzmir Intercultural Dialogue Center (İZDİM) at WoW Hotel in Istanbul. The two-day meeting was attended by a number of leading scholars and intellectuals of the field and focused on such topics as “Approaches to Mary,” “Debate on Mary,” “Mary Doctrine and its Historical Development.”

Gülen, the most important figure of tolerance and dialogue

In the West, especially in the United States, an increasing number of scholars have discovered Gülen to be a man of love and tolerance and consider his teaching as a model of dialogue.

“It’s a religious duty to establish love and tolerance in society”

The 4th Annual Abrahamic Dinner co-organized by Niagara Foundation and Rochester College in Detroit, Michigan, received a large attendance. At the event, the three Abrahamic religions’ representatives, namely, Sheri Schiff of the Holocaust Museum, Dr. Rubel Shelly, professor of religion and philosophy at Rochester College; professor of history at Wayne State University, Dr. Saeed Khan offered their remarks.

Huntsville’s Peace Valley Foundation sets annual Dialogue Dinner and awards

A specialist in comparative theologies, Professor Loye Ashton, will deliver the keynote address at the 2013 Peace Valley Foundation’s Dialogue Dinner and Award Ceremony in Huntsville on Thursday, April 18, 2013. The annual dinner, sponsored by the non-profit organization dedicated to solving educational, cultural, environmental, social and humanitarian challenges, provides an opportunity for building bridges between people […]

The era of dialogue will never be over

I saw, once again, what it means to be “stuck in time.” Breivik looks only to the past and disregards the potential for the human will to create change. He claims, in opposition to Gülen, that the time for dialogue is over. “We gave peace a chance. The time for armed resistance has come,” he declares.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Global Muslim networks: How far they have travelled

Ramadan Feast: Community Bonding at Its Best from the Turkish Cultural Center

Students of Turkish school in Iraq learn four languages

Turkish school graduates in Bosnia now teachers at alma maters

Cihan TV network celebrates 10th birthday

Pro-Erdoğan journalist: Gülen followers should be kept in detention camps, given food tickets

Albanian lawmakers reject Erdoğan’s call to close Turkish schools

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News