Dialogues to foster interreligious understanding

Dorothy Yoder Nyce
This project provides a dozen dialogues created to assist North American Christian readers to better understand effective exchange between people of diverse living faiths. While proximity of religions provides natural occasions for and urgency of open dialogue, partners anywhere benefit from increased respect and understanding achieved through knowledge, convictions, and attitudes expressed. Since religion and culture directly overlap, interreligious conversation is a cross-cultural exposure of faith issues.

The geographical focus of the dialogues centers in India, with aspects of the dominant Hindu religion intersecting with the small, minority Christian presence. While attention to the Mennonite denomination reflects the writer's Protestant connection, principles apply to any Christian engagement with other religions. Assumptions that undergird discussion include: religious plurality is a given; active interreligious exchange is inherent to being religious; Christian commitment is to God through Jesus Christ; to love the neighbor is a privilege.


Duane Sterling Sims M.A.
This paper is concerned with the case story of Starry Hasmatali, who was raised in Trinidad and immigrated to Canada: first to Toronto and then to Moose Jaw. I have decided to interview her in particular, because she was an integral member of an historic Indo-Pentecostal family in the Church of God (Cleveland TN), in Trinidad. With her late husband, Edward D. Hasmatali, they brought the Church of God (CoG) to the island, and were deeply involved in leadership training and church planting.

Indo-Trinidadian Pentecostalism seems to be somewhat of an overlooked area of academic study, thus in interviewing Starry, I will seek to uncover their experiences in ministry in Trinidad and Canada, particularly in relation to their historic connection to the Church of God. I have also chosen to concentrate upon Indo- Trinidadian Pentecostals, since they comprise a significant section of the population of that country.

Sensitizing the Preacher for a Multi-Religious Context in the Diocese of Palayamkottai in India

Anto Peterraj D.Min.
The multi-religious context in which India preaching has to adorn herself with the garb of sensitivity is the backdrop of this thesis. Against this backdrop the author proposes that a preacher can be trained to appeal to the cognitive, emotive, spiritual, and psychological aspects of the listeners for a transformed life interpreting Christian Scripture and Tradition in the multi-religious pastoral context of India in general and of the Diocese of Palayamkottai in particular. The thesis is divided into five chapters.

Chapter One, after spelling out the background, the need, the process, and the scope of the study, sets the context of the Diocese of Palayamkottai with a special reference to religious pluralism in India in general and in Palayamkottai in particular.

In Chapter Two, after briefly analyzing the homiletical understanding before Pope Francis in the light of General Introduction of the Roman Missal and Verbum Domini, we meet the two dialogue partners of our study from the viewpoint of effective proclamation of the Gospel and embracing different traditions with respect, viz., Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium, and Bede Griffiths’ Sannyasa.

Chapter Three divides into three sections: In section one, the challenges that a preacher, a preaching, and a listener face in a multi-religious context are presented; section two proposes models (participatory, narrative sermon reflected in the life of the preacher) for a better preaching in multi-religious background, while section three will try to resolve the challenges in the light of the proposed model.

In Chapter Four a sampling study is done by picking up seven preachers.

Chapter Five is a practical guide that will serve as a manual for a preacher offering different models of preaching.

Researching cross-cultural communication theory to equip short-term mission teams from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary serving in rural India

William Boyd Guy
The purpose of this project was to research cross-cultural communication theory to equip short-term mission teams from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary serving in rural India. The emphasis of this project was to utilize cross-cultural communication theory as it pertains to ministry in the rural-cultural context of Indian villages. The need exists to equip individuals serving on mission trips to rural India for effective cross-cultural communication for which few models currently exist. This project begins with the project director’s research an ends with the development of curriculum to meet this need. Due to time constraints, the results are outside the scope of the project.

A biblical pastoral approach to the problem of suffering in India

Fiorello Mascarenhas
This thesis-project studies the recent suffering of the Christians in India caused by persecution from the advocates of the Hindutva culture. Using the Whiteheads' model and method of doing practical theology, this study has moved from practice, to theory, to practice. A biblical interpretation of suffering, and a pastoral approach to coping with the problem, are suggested. Drawing from the Bible, the teachings of the magisterium, the lives of the saints, and the social sciences such as psychology and Indian sociology/ philosophy, three pastoral strategies are offered: a series of approaches meant to introduce people to and make them familiar with the word of God and with specific biblical texts on Christian suffering; a plan for fostering vibrant parish prayer groups and Small Christian Communities, in order to provide an environment of solidarity, support, and security for the Christians exposed to persecution; an approach to the practice of a 'partnership' spirituality that consists of an attentiveness to and an active cooperation with the Holy Spirit in one's day-to-day life, but most especially in times of suffering.
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