April 26, 2018
I recently attended the Third Baptist-Muslim Dialogue at Green Lake, Wisconsin. I became interested in attending this dialogue because of a friendship that developed with my neighbor Theresa, a Muslim. Our friendship started out of a common concern for the hateful rhetoric we heard toward Muslims, but it grew simply because we wanted to get to know each other, and we developed mutual respect and love for one another.
In my years at Andover Newton, I became part of the greater community on the Hill. Though I attended between 1999 and 2002, I met my husband there in 2003 (he graduated in 2008) and saw the formative last decade of Andover Newton as it continued to become “The Beloved Community,” both on and off campus. The quality of student life deepened as we came together for both prayer and fellowship, creating new worshiping and service opportunities, as well as the fellowship that happened on Tuesday nights in the basement of Appleton-Chase.
The partnerships forged with Hebrew College came because of the friendships that formed there. My time at Andover Newton, where I first came into contact with rabbinical students, helped instill a sense connection with other clergy and scholars across religious lines. These connections matured into friendships. Likewise, the Baptist-Muslim Dialogue was an opportunity to make new friends, to talk about common values that are rooted in our faith, and how we can partner and work together in our communities.
My interfaith relationships are important to me, not just as a pastor, but as a Christian. Attending the Baptist-Muslim Dialogue and discussing our areas of common practice and belief as well as our differences reminded me that at the core of our faith traditions is love. That love, for me, grew from a cup of tea with my friend Theresa, and a desire to be part of the Beloved Community from my time at Andover Newton.
Mindi Welton-Mitchell is the pastor of Queen Anne Baptist Church in Seattle, WA, and she blogs at: http://rev-o-lution.org/