At the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies we are proud to have touched the lives of many people, both directly and indirectly, over the years since we began. Here are just a few stories from people who have benefitted from our teaching and training.
My individual tutorials with Dr Martin Whittingham were tailored to my study needs. But in addition to my consultations and my reading, I have also benefited from talking with other members of the Centre, from their interest in my studies, and from the many events happening in the Centre
My experience as a post-doctoral fellow at CMCS has been one of the most informative and formational experiences that I've had in my life. I learned so much and made relationships and friendships that will last for life no matter where I go afterwards.
In her capacity as a tutor at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, Liz was looking for somewhere that could offer both academic and practical ways for ordinands to immerse themselves in the Islamic faith. Wycliffe's partnership with CMCS has allowed them to broaden and enrich their offering.
Matthew, found CMCS after a long search for a place that would satisfy his need to learn about Islam and communicate about faith with Muslims.
“I was intrigued anew at the intersection of religion with culture, gender, and life experiences in building religious identity (my own and others). Mostly Summer School brought home to me yet again that the more I learn, the less I know, about both religions.”
“My experience has left me with an awareness of the importance of Christian-Muslim cooperation. We were given and shown many examples of Muslims and Christians working successfully together in handling problems from the grass roots up.”
Sally Anne Wheadon developed an understanding of the Islamic faith and Muslim people at Summer School, which she now uses in her work as a pastor in Cornwall.
“My experiences at Summer School have been really helpful in my current job as I encounter Muslims and peoples of other faiths in our church’s community activities.”
“Ultimately, the work of CMCS has led me to the realisation that what I have done is not enough. There are so many other things that I need to do, that I have not even yet contemplated.”
Shahanaz's experience with the first Annual Oxford Muslim-Christian Summer School in 2015 was so positive that she now offers her own expertise as a Summer School facilitator. Here she decribes how Summer School took her career in a new direction.
Colin Smith, Dean of Mission Education at the Church Mission Society (CMS) regularly commissions cross-cultural training courses at the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies. Here he talks about working with the centre.
Guy Gray from Oregon, USA, took a guided reading course at the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies in 2014. Here, he describes his experiences and explains how he put what he learned into practice at the Muslim-Christian interface back home in Oregon.
At Summer School we learned how to communicate firmly and honestly without offending one another in our discussions. We read Biblical and Qur’anic texts, explored inter-faith dialogue through history to the present day and its meaningful application in our society.
- Mwilwa Francis Kapansa, Muslim Summer School student
The combination of academic rigour and practical inter-faith advice that CMCS offers is helping Muslims and Christians locally and nationally to engage with and understand each other more clearly in a world where communications are increasingly strained. I am glad to support the work of the Centre, and long may it continue.
- Martin Gorick, Archdeacon of Oxford
As a Ph.D. Middle Eastern Christian student, my time at the Centre was inspiring and transforming. I actually had the opportunity to meet with some profound scholars and to ask all sort of questions on what it means to read the Bible in the context of Islam, particularly the Old Testament. The discussions that I had with those scholars challenged but inspired and transformed the way in which I am thinking of reading the Bible in my own Middle Eastern/ Islamic context.
- Emad Botros, Research Support Student, McMaster Divinity College
The Qur’an commands Muslims to be faithful witnesses to God, in the cause of truth, in the pursuit of single standards of justice. Muslims must speak the truth about others, even if they see them as rivals for the hand of grace. This is the example set by the Prophet Muhammad and, before him, by Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I am, therefore, pleased to work closely with Christian scholars at CMCS.
- Dr Shabbir Akhtar, Research Fellow
There will be no transformation of relationships without transformation of people and of their thinking. I want to see God transforming the minds of Christian people so that we can resist the worl'd’s power agendas, speak the truth, and be faithful witnesses to Jesus Christ in our interactions with Muslims.
- Dr Ida Glaser, Founding Fellow
Being a member of the inter-faith community at the Centre has transformed the way in which I view other religions, especially Christianity, but also has advanced my understanding of my own religion in new ways. From the very first day I came to CMCS to seek advice on my postdoctoral proposal from the Centre’s Director, I was welcomed warmly and assisted most generously by everyone.
- Dr Shirin Shafaie
CMCS offers an oasis of hospitality for Christians engaging with Muslims, to develop teaching opportunities, share research outcomes and deepen relationships. Its commitment to inter-faith encounter, grounded in biblical teaching is refreshing, equipping churches to draw alongside Muslim neighbours, without resorting to compromise or aggression.
- Sarah Snyder, Cambridge Interfaith Programme, Director of the Centre of Reconciliation at Rose Castle, Cumbria
Throughout the course of history, Muslims and Christians have been encountering one another. This has sometimes been a negative and, at other times, a positive experience. The Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies offers both academic rigour and a firm commitment to biblical truth in promoting the study of this long history of Muslim-Christian relations. I am glad, as well as thankful, in being able to commend its work to all those who desire a greater knowledge of one of the most pressing concerns of our times.
- Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, President, OXTRAD
When I came to study at CMCS, ISIS was beginning to take territory in Syria. So many atrocities accompanied their reign of terror. That added a layer of intensity to my thought. During that time, Christians heard daily news that put Islam in the most negative light. In my own country and my own congregation, emotions were running high. The controversy about Islam was escalating. I was so thankful for the opportunity to learn more about Islam at that time.
- Guy Gray, Guided Reading student
Through the generous financial and academic support of CMCS, I have benefited tremendously both in my DPhil research and in my understanding of Islamic studies more generally. The academic staff have helped to create a safe yet rigorous environment in which I could explore and flourish as a junior scholar. I wholeheartedly recommend CMCS.
- Dr Richard Park, Assistant Professor of Theology & Ethics at Vanguard University
Thank you for the best week I have spent in education! I hope the relationships we have built will last long into the future and we can support one another in our respective fields. I have learnt so much about myself through the summer school and have found confidence to speak about my own faith in a positive way.
- Muslim Summer School student
The Oxford Muslim-Christian summer school has forever changed how I view my own faith, and that of my Muslim friends and family. It has genuinely been one of the best experiences of my academic career—I can never thank you enough for making this experience possible for me.
- Christian Summer School student
I benefited from the presentations and by interactions with various scholars on issues pertaining to Islam and Muslim-Christian relations. In the current climate of inter-religious tensions and strife, what the Centre is doing is valuable: to provide a forum for people of all faiths - academics, religious leaders and members of the public - to gather for honest exchanges grounded in scholarship and friendship.
- Dr Charlene Tan, Institute of Education, Singapore
Academically, CMCS has provided me with a venue not only to expand and deepen my interest in the relationship between the state and interfaith dialogue in the Gulf, but also to present my work on interfaith in Qatar – through a public seminar and a written research briefing.
- Asim Koldzo, Scholarship Recipient, 2013-2014
The opportunity to learn from and learn about Islam is one that I would never otherwise have had. This week has been so valuable in my journey of Christian faith and has given me vision for the future, to work within interfaith mission. I wish that everyone who was training in their faith community had a similar opportunity.
- Christian Summer School student
Inter-faith dialogue is all a bit wishy-washy, isn't it? I used to think so. It seemed a futile attempt at squaring the circle. This Summer School has helped me see otherwise. I've appreciated teachers stating clearly and honestly beliefs they hold about my faith which I find offensive. Without compromising our own faiths, we've been able to listen and learn from one another.
- Christian Summer School student