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

Religious leaders, politicians have iftar in Nigerian capital

10 August 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN The Ufuk (Horizon) Dialogue Foundation hosted a Dialogue and Peace Iftar Dinner last week in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. The event was attended by Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwanbo, Nigerian Information Minister Labaran Maku, Finance Minister Yerima Ngama, Abuja’s Roman Catholic Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Anglican Archbishop Nicholas […]

Hizmet movement discussed in heart of African Union

30 May 2012 / KAMİL ERGİN , ADDIS ABABA An international symposium on the Hizmet movement (aka Gulen movement), which includes followers of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s principles, and the concept of dialogue, held in Ethiopia last week, brought together a large number of academics and top state officials from close to 40 countries to […]

Spinning on the Same World

Before Fatih Ozcan, the Mississippi representative for the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest, moved to the United States in 2002, he didn’t fully recognize the importance of communication between different cultures. The nonprofit organization, which follows Islamic scholar and social advocate Fethullah Gulen’s teachings of tolerance and mutual understanding, was in development in Houston when Ozcan first became involved.

Peace Curriculum Includes Fethullah Gulen

The Peace Learning Center in Eagle Creek, Indiana has added Fethullah Gulen to the peacemaking curriculum and Executive Director Tim Nation says Gulen’s work to promote interfaith dialogue and community service makes him an excellent peacemaker. The Peace Learning Center in Eagle Creek, Indiana has been teaching thousands of young people about how to be […]

Freedom award recipient Bartholomew praises Gülen’s peace efforts

13 May 2012 / BASRI DOĞAN, MIDDELBURG Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew praised well-respected Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen for his peace efforts around the world after receiving one of the Roosevelt Institute’s Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Awards. The award ceremony for the 2012 Four Freedoms Awards was held on Saturday at the Nieuwe […]

Global Dignity Day marked in Turkey

The Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) organized a number of activities in Turkey to mark the Annual Global Dignity Day, which is celebrated with Global Dignity-led events around the world with the participation of 350.000 young people across 50 countries.

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

Turkish schools dominate award ceremony in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Enes Kanter calls Turkey’s Erdoğan ‘Hitler of our century’ after airport detainment

Pro-government Yeni Şafak daily fires critical columnist

Afghan education minister pledges to open more Turkish schools

Dialogue Institute of the Southwest presents Whirling Dervishes of Rumi

Conference on Hizmet Movement to be held in Taipei

Turkey’s Post-Coup Purge and Erdogan’s Private Army

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News