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News from the Hill July 02, 2013 | back to index

Grant from Luce Foundation for the joint appointment of a Muslim scholar

islamAndover Newton Theological School and neighboring Hebrew College have received a three-year, $600,000 grant from the Henry R. Luce Foundation to continue their pioneering work in the area of interfaith learning and leadership, including the joint-appointment of a Muslim scholar-practitioner.

The two schools are partners in the Center for Inter-Religious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE), a nationally recognized collaboration to prepare religious and ethical leaders for service in a religiously diverse society. CIRCLE carries this out through jointly taught classes, public programming, leadership-development training, and print- and web-based publications including the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue and State of Formation.

"Institutionalizing interfaith work on our two campuses and beyond takes patience, diligence and strategic engagement," said Dr. Jennifer Peace, the center’s co-director at Andover Newton.
"This new funding from the Luce Foundation gives us the resources to continue this crucial work," added Rabbi Or Rose, CIRCLE’s co-director at Hebrew College.

One key priority of the new grant is to extend the current scope of interfaith study on the Andover Newton and Hebrew College campuses through the joint appointment of a Muslim scholar-practitioner. "We have an opportunity to play a constructive role in modeling trusting and mutually beneficial relationships across religious lines," said Dr. Peace.

"This desire to strengthen relations with our Muslim brothers and sisters is not simply an abstract imperative, but is also based on the fact that there is a significant and growing Muslim community in Greater Boston with whom we wish to engage in deeper and more sustained ways," said Rabbi Rose.

Other new initiatives include a feasibility study for a residential program in interreligious understanding and leadership for young adults considering their career path and adult education programs for Jewish, Christian, UU and Muslim communities who want to gain skills, knowledge, and strategies for building relationships across religious lines.

CIRCLE’s co-directors are Dr. Jennifer Howe Peace, Professor of Interfaith Studies at Andover Newton; and Rabbi Or Rose, Director of the Center for Global Judaism at Hebrew College. With CIRCLE co-founder Dr. Gregory Mobley, Professor of Christian Bible at Andover Newton, they are co-editors of My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation, which recently received an award from the Catholic Press Association, placing third in the "Pastoral Ministry" category.  Learn more about CIRCLE.

Andover Newton Theological School, founded in 1807, is the first graduate school of any kind in America. Always an innovator in religious education, Andover Newton is internationally recognized as a leader in interfaith learning.