This summer Harold Vogelaar will retire as Professor of World Religions at LSTC. For the better part of two decades he has worked here to build bridges of understanding in Chicago between Christians and Muslims, exploring this relationship in both seminary classroom and in many local congregations. This teaching and interfaith ministry followed years of service in Cairo and the Middle East, where he worked as a missionary for the Reformed Church in America and the ELCA. There he served congregations, was a hospital chaplain, and taught at and directed the Center for Study of Religion at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. In his early years of retirement he will direct LSTC’s new center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice. His wife Mai, a Muslim who hails from Thailand, often joins him in congregational and other forums. The seminary was recently blessed with a generous gift that will endow the chair Harold now holds and establish this new interfaith center. His presence at LSTC began as part of the worldwide ELCA strategy to seek dialogue with Muslims and Islam, a strategy that has taken on added urgency with the current international tensions. The essays in this issue are a tribute to him, as they explore manifold implications of his own pioneering efforts.
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