Pathways to God

Course InstructorsRabbi Marcia Zimmerman, Reverend Michael O'Connell, Imam Makram El-Amin

Course Information:  Tuesdays, October 21-November 18, 2014, 1:00-3:00 p.m., O'Shaughnessy Educational Center Auditorium, UST St. Paul Campus

Course Description:  The instructors, three faith leaders, have fashioned a close personal and professional relationship over the last 14 years.  They will individually and collectively ask themselves and each other:  What gives us hope today in our faith traditions?  What issues are challenging faith traditions today?  Why is it important for faith traditions to understand each other and work with each other?

Registration fee for the series:  $65.00 per person (5 weeks)

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To register by check or cash through the mail or in-person, click on this link for the printable registration formFall 2014 Printable Registration Form

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Detailed Course Syllabus (subject to change):

October 21

Common Journey...Different Paths

We are people on a journey who gratefully acknowledge that every faith has its own mystery and challenges.  We will discuss what gives us hope in our faith traditions as well as naming our challenges.

October 28

Father Michael O'Connell

How has Pope Francis "changed the game" in contemporary Catholicism?  As we prepare for the World Synod of Bishops next fall, what should be the agenda?

November 4

Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman

The survival of the Jewish people and Judaism is foremost on the minds of our community.  But survival is not enough - Rabbi Zimmerman will explore the "what for" - what is Judaism's mission for its future and our role throughout the world.

November 11

Imam Makram El-Amin

Al-Islam from its most authentic sources:  we will discuss how this religion of peace has come to be associated with extremism, terrorism and oppression.

November 18

How do our religions understand one another?

Current religious trends are telling us that the American landscape is a veritable marketplace of religions that is sometimes respectful, but often times rancorous.  Amidst increasing plurality, how is it possible to be an "authentic believer" and a "fervent listener" at hte same time?  In this final session, we will discuss "intra" faith perspectives on understanding "the other" and openly discuss one another's successes and failures while looking toward a hopeful future.

About the speakers:

Marcia Zimmerman, the senior rabbi at Temple Israel, a 2,000-household congregation in Minneapolis, is vocal on policy issues affecting Minnesota and the nation.  She takes seriously the words above Temple Israel's entrance:  "Our house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples."  Rabbi Zimmerman is dedicated to ensuring that Temple Israel's programming and religious school are inclusive of interfaith families and those with special needs.

Father O'Connell has been pastor at Church of the Ascension, a multi-cultural community on the Near North side of Minneapolis, since 1999.  During this time and up until the summer of 2009, he also served as rector of The Basilica of Saint Mary in downtown Minneapolis for 17 years.  Father O'Connell, ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1967, is recognized for his dedication to interfaith relations.  He is a member of the Downtown Interfaith Pastors Association.  He has worked closely with clergy and congregants of Minneapolis Jewish, Christian and Islamic congregations to promote interfaith dialogue and understanding.  He has led trips with Catholic and Jewish congregants to holy sites around the world and commissioned, in 2001, a sacred holocaust memorial oratorio, To Be Certain of the Dawn, as a gift to the Jewish people.

Imam Makram El-Amin's commitment to service and civic leadership has made him a pillar in the Minneapolis community.  As imam of the historical Masjid An-Nur, he's led a growing, culturally diverse congregation in his hometown to the forefront of interfaith dialogue and neighborhood outreach.  He is a member of the Minneapolis Downtown Clergy; serves on the advisory board of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center at the University of St. Thomas; and is a 2014 Bush Foundation Fellow.