Sharing togetherness, thinking, creativity, stories and spirituality

From May 22 – 25, 2015, I participated in the 27. Christian-Islamic conference at Pentecost. Being part of the planning team, we were very happy that, again, a wonderful group of about 70 participants had come together. Many participants are Christians and Muslims from different walks of life and denominations as well as of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

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And there was again a Jewish lady with us, as well as Humanists, even as the conference is called Christian-Islamic. The special thing is that participants are of all ages: the younger ones their own children’s project, there were a number of students, and the oldest participant is a lady of over 80 years sharing with us an amazing broadness of mind and spirit.

Our topic this year was “Images – of Human, God, Enemy” and we reflected about how our faiths deal with images. We had excellent speakers: a Christian and a Muslim expert, as well as a media analyst and a man from a Muslim youth project. This way we also had conversations on what the flood of images means for us in everyday life nowadays.

The nice thing is that the programme also includes various spiritual elements, allowing people to relax, ground ourselves and be fully present.

In creative groups we could enjoy working with dance, calligraphy, music, writing, text study or analyzing what role images play in our minds.

In a talent show incredible talent showed up, with the youngest presenters 10 years old and the oldest 75.  – Every contribution was like a flower in an amazing bunch of flowers in bloom, each one enhancing and supporting the other’s beauty.

This year a new cooperation with the university of Koblenz-Landau happened for the first time. This cooperation was started to give students, e.g. of religious education, a real life experience of faith communities, a chance to ask questions and explore what moves people.

Participants expressed that the way people treat each other during these days of the Christian-Islamic conference at Pentecost is very special and inspiring. – For many participants, who are very active in their lives - in interfaith activities as well as social and political projects and managing their professions and families -, these days are a time where they can recharge their batteries, exchange about their experiences and get new impulses and ideas for their life and work.

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The conference is sponsored by the German Muslim-League Bonn CC, the Protestant Accademy Viligst and the Bendorf Forum for Ecumenical Encounter and Interfaith Dialogue. An interfaith team plans and leads it, where over time strong friendships and partnerships have been formed, which form a strong container, giving life and support to these days of encounter, learning and dialogue.

Karimah Stauch (URI Europe coordinator)