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New Course to be offered at the Chautauqua Institution in New York

Crossing Boundaries: Multifaith Leadership in the New America

Meadville Lombard announces a new summer intensive to be offered at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY. This course will be offered the week of July 26th and be taught by the Rev. Dr. Lee Barker, President and Professor of Ministry of Meadville Lombard Theological School and Roger Doebke, MA candidate of Meadville Lombard Theological School.

The course curriculum is designed to integrate the programmatic offerings of the Chautauqua Institution into its curriculum. Students in this course will participate in communities of practice, attend lectures and cultural performances that draw on the viewpoints of various faith traditions, be in dialogue with religious leaders who are working in the realm of multireligious leadership, and conduct discussions with other students. Through this course, students will build a foundation of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are necessary for emerging leadership in the American multireligious context. Read the entire syllabus online here

The Chautauqua Institution is dedicated to the exploration of the best in human values and the enrichment of life through a program that explores the important religious, social, and political issues of our times, and stimulates provocative, thoughtful involvement in creative response to those issues. This creates an ideal setting for students to become immersed in their development as multifaith leaders.  

Guests of the class include:

  • Ted and Deborah First (Quaker) have been intimately involved in the operations of the Friends House in Ramallah as well as Neva Shalom, a community founded by Trappist Monks in Israel as an experiment in pluralism, where the population is 50% Arab and 50% Israeli.
  • Rabbi Samuel Stahl (Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth - El in San Antonio, Texas where he served as Senior Rabbi from July 1976 until May of 2002) has extensive experience as a community leader in social justice issues and interfaith relations.
  • Sheik Mazin Alsahlani is the leader of the Almakarim Islamic Foundation in Erie, Pennsylvania. He has been an important part of interfaith dialogue, working with other religious leaders in his community. A powerful voice for pluralism, he says, “Interfaith is a sample of our freedom, our diversity, our solidarity, our coexistence and our peace.”
  • Subagh and Subagha Khalsa are leaders of the Mystic Heart Meditation Program at the Chautauqua Institution. He is a retired dentist and she is a retired educator. Both have been extensively involved in interfaith work.
  • Maureen Rovegno (M.Div., Harvard Divinity School) is Assistant Director of Religion at the Chautauqua Institution. Maureen coordinates the Interfaith Lecture Program, the Abrahamic Program for Young Adults and a variety of interfaith engagements for the Institution.

Seminarians and lay religious leaders from all denominations are encouraged to register for this course. Registration opens Monday, November 4, 2013. The cost is $2,050 plus fees. All students will be issued a gate pass for the Chautauqua Institution (a value of over $400 that will be generously provided free of charge by the Chautauqua Institution) that will enable entrance into virtually all programs and offerings.

Questions about registration? Please contact Tina Porter, Director of Student Services at

America’s religious diversity is here to stay, and the most interesting and important phase for nation’s history lies ahead.  The very principles on which America was founded will be tested for their strength and vision in the new religious America.  And the opportunity to create a positive multireligious society out of the fabric of a democracy, without the chauvinism and religious triumphalism that have marred human history, is now ours.

Diana L. Eck, U.S. author, educator

A New Religious America (1991)