The theme for the 2013-2014 school year at Southwestern College is hope. With that theme in mind, the college will host a discussion titled “Perspectives on Hope: A Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Dialogue” on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m., in Messenger Recital Hall. There is no admission charge and the public is invited to attend this event which will discuss hope as it is found in the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions.
Participating in the dialogue will be Professor Jackson Lashier, Imam Hussam Madi, and Rabbi Michael Davis. United States ambassador David Dunford will be the moderator.
A third generation Reform rabbi, Rabbi Michael A. Davis has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Emanu-El since August 1995. He served congregations in Florida and New York, and has served, taught in, and advised youth groups for congregations across the country. In Wichita, Rabbi Davis conducts workshops and has been a frequent guest lecturer at universities, churches, schools, and hospitals. He has served as president of the Board of Inter-Faith Ministries and of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Kansas Chapter, and served on their boards for many years. Rabbi Davis is also a chaplain for the Wichita Police Department and the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department
Imam Hussam Madi, his wife, and five children are long-time citizens of Wichita. He is a graduate of Wichita State University where he majored in mechanical engineering and computer science. He has played professional soccer in Wichita including a stint with the Wichita Wings. He is a member of the Islamic Society of Wichita (ISW) and held different volunteer positions including board of trustees’ member, ISW spokesman, motivational speaker, and Arabic translator for the Sedgwick County courthouse and for the Wichita school district.
Jackson Lashier is the assistant professor of religion at Southwestern College. He earned his Ph.D. in religious studies from Marquette University, a master of divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary focused on biblical interpretation, and a bachelor of arts degree in English from Iowa State University. He is a Raynor Fellow and a John Wesley Fellow. Prior to Southwestern, Lashier has served as a youth minister in Iowa. Lashier and his wife, Julie, have two children and live in Winfield. Julie serves as chaplain at Cumbernauld Village in Winfield.
David Dunford retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in June of 1995 following completion of his assignment as Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman. He is an adjunct instructor at the University of Arizona where he teaches courses on the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Middle East business environment, and globalization and global government.
Each year Southwestern College implements a theme in conjunction with the four pillars at the top of the 77 Steps at SC. The pillars represent hope, courage, knowledge, and freedom. The 2013-14 theme is hope and Gaston Warner kicked off the school year at the Opening Convocation with a message of hope. Warner is the executive director for the Zimbabwe Orphans Endeavor which facilitates the empowerment of over 20,000 orphans and vulnerable children in multiple African countries. Campus professors have implemented lessons of hope and built them into the classroom.
“This event is a unique opportunity of an interfaith dialogue where we can talk about the concept of hope in the three major religions,” says Andy Sheppard, vice president for academic affairs at Southwestern College.