Lecture series to explore building bridges with Muslim communities

The Union College Center for Interfaith Studies and Culture will present a guest lecture by Rodney MacCallum focused on building bridges with Muslim communities on Friday, Jan. 31, and Sabbath, Feb. 1. Friday’s lecture will be held at the Piedmont Park Seventh-day Adventist Church at 7:00 p.m., and Sabbath lectures will take place during both 9:15 a.m. and noon worship services at the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“According to the Pew Research Center, there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, accounting for 23 percent of the world’s total population,” said MacCallum, an Australian farmer who now lives in Detroit, Mich. When a chance meeting with a Muslim group back home developed in him a passion to connect with people of the Islamic faith, he moved to Detroit, home of the largest Muslim community in North America.

Sharing his experience with college students, he hopes, will inspire students to get involved. “The future belongs to students. College students are young, naturally adventurous, and more motivated,” he said. “Working with Muslims is a joy. There is this misconception that they should be avoided—and that’s all rubbish.”

“I heard his story, and it was inspiring,” said Doug Hardt Doug Hardt, Director of the Center for Interfaith Studies and Culture at Union College and a personal friend of MacCallum. “The most inspiring aspect of all is that a layman, farmer by trade, never imagined God could use him to build bridges with our Muslim brothers and sisters. God really wants to use anybody and everybody.”

The guest lecture series is the first big event of the Center for Interfaith Studies this semester. In an effort to provide more opportunities for students and community members to understand other cultures and religions, the center also hosts weekly scriptures studies, where other sacred texts are also investigated. Religion roundtable discussions and presentations on Middle-Eastern literature and history by Professor Mike Mennard and Dr. Malcolm Russell, in conjunction with the Union College Library, are also slated for the semester.

All events in the lecture series are free and open to the public. The Piedmont Park Adventist Church is located at 4801 A Street. The College View Adventist Church is located at 4801 Prescott Street on the campus of Union College.

For more information about future interfaith events hosted by Union College, please visit www.ucollege.edu/interfaith.