I first heard about the Oxford Muslim-Christian Summer School at Queen’s Theological Foundation in Birmingham, where I was completing an MA in Theology. My MA focused on inter-faith issues, particularly on Christian-Muslim relations. I have had previous experience in inter-faith work, predominately with Muslims. and wanted to hear first-hand what Muslims believe their faith to be. Summer School was the perfect opportunity.
One of the most striking experiences at Summer School was hearing from Muslims about the differences between Sunni and Shi’a Islam. I knew that there is a difference but hadn’t realised how it is so different.
I also learnt about how friendships can last. On the London Underground three days ago the train stopped and I suddenly heard my name being called from the platform. I looked up to see one of the male Muslim participants from Summer School calling my name and waving. I immediately recognised him and waved back and called his name. It would have been so easy for him to have walked on by. I think that shows the strength of friendship which can be created during the Summer School.
Summer School brought out a lot of feelings, both positive and negative. It was great to see Muslims and Christians coming together to talk. I enjoyed the discussions and the scriptural reasoning sessions, and it was a great joy to see us enjoying our own and other’s sacred texts. One of my challenging moments was during the tough questions sessions. I have mixed feelings about the future, I suppose, it depends if people are only willing to speak to the Other just for the Summer School or if it is something which we are willing to do beyond one week in Oxford.
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. The Summer School has played an important part in building up my experience of dialoguing with Muslims in my vocation of inter-faith work.
Interested in Attending Summer School?
The programme is designed for men and women who are currently, or have recently finished, studying at Christian or Islamic theological colleges training for vocational, faith-based careers in the UK, and who hope one day to be leaders within their local communities.
You can find out more about Summer School and register your interest here.