WCC announces winners of essay competition for bringing fresh views on interreligious dialogue

Photo: Marcelo Schneider/WCC

Essays by five young theologians representing different church traditions have been chosen as the winning entries in an essay writing competition organised to mark the 50th anniversary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Office of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation. Chosen by an international panel of judges from the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey and the WCC, the essays cover a range of themes and perspectives related to the topic of the competition, “The Future of Interreligious Dialogue.”

  • Lea Schlenker, a Lutheran theologian from Germany whose work focuses on intercultural theology and interreligious dialogue, especially Christian-Muslim dialogue, develops her essay around the theme of hospitality in her work entitled “From Shared Meals to Interreligious Conversations.”
  • Kritsno Saptenno, who works with the Research and Development Body of the Protestant Church in the Moluccas, Indonesia, focuses on dialogue with indigenous spiritual traditions in his essay, “Linguistic Hospitality: Welcoming Indigenous Religion Into Interreligious Dialogue.”
  • Ioannis Christodoulakis, originally from Greece, but currently a master’s student in Interreligious and Interchristian Dialogue at the Institute for Postgraduate Studies in the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy,  explores the theme, “The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church and Its Interreligious Dialogue Approach.”
  • Nicole Kallsen, a non-denominational Christian who majors in International Studies at the University of Utah, explores dance as a form of interreligious dialogue in her essay, “Embodying Worldview.”
  • Christopher West, a priest in the Church of Ireland, explores faith, hope and love as key principles for interreligious engagement in his article “The future of interreligious dialogue: A Christian theology of engagement with other religious traditions.”

“Each of these young theologians have unpacked in a very distinctive way creative theological foundations for interreligious engagement. We are confident that these essays will provide immense inspiration for churches to engage in interreligious dialogue in ways that are fresh in terms of their focus and futuristic in terms of their scope,” said Rev. Dr Peniel Rajkumar, WCC programme coordinator for interreligious dialogue and cooperation.

The young theologians will present their work in an online event later this year. The essays will also be published in Current Dialogue, the WCC’s journal for interreligious encounter. 

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