Trib: “Series exploring Monroeville’s religions, interfaith dialogue through March 14”
The Monroeville Interfaith Ministerium and member congregation Monroeville United Methodist Church were featured in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Series exploring Monroeville’s religions, interfaith dialogue through March 14
| Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, 8:27 p.m.
About 40 people came to Monroeville United Methodist Church on Monday to learn about other religions as part of the church’s new series, “Understanding the Religions of Monroeville.”
“My hope is to help build understanding and build bridges of respect,” said the Rev. Ed Schoeneck, pastor. “It’s wonderful to have everybody here.”
The free, public series began Jan. 18 and will run through March 14.
The group meets at 7 p.m. Mondays at the church. Each session focuses on a different religion or topic related to interfaith dialogue.
Schoeneck and the Rev. Dr. Dave Morse, a former pastor of Monroeville United Methodist and a professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, are teaming with Monroeville Interfaith Ministerium members for the series.
At Monday’s session, Morse led a discussion on the history of interfaith dialogue in Christianity.
Morse cited three reasons why Christians should study other religions: to better understand your neighbors and relate to them, to grow in your own faith, and to avoid stereotyping people of other faiths.
“If you don’t know much about someone, but you know just enough to be dangerous, it’s not good,” Morse said. “I hope that we will not only gain new bits of new information, but grow spiritually.”
Morse said Christians should recognize that other religions are as diverse as Christianity and have a long history.
“We don’t want to make the mistake of comparing the best in your religion to the worst in other religions,” he said.
Morse also said Monroeville residents have a unique opportunity to learn about other faiths by getting to know members of them, which he said is crucial to truly building bridges between religions.
“That is really a blessing we have in Monroeville,” he said.
“We really do have a rich opportunity to deepen our understanding of faith traditions.”
Monroeville resident Lisa Elms said she is looking forward to learning about different religions as the series continues.
“It’s very interesting,” she said.
“I just always have been interested in all of the religions.”
Elms said she knows people of different faiths, but she doesn’t know of anywhere else to learn more about those religions.
“I think it’s important since we live in such a diverse community,” she said.
Monroeville resident Marian Copp said she came to the meeting to have a better understanding of other religions and to hear Morse speak.
“Dave is so smart,” she said. “He makes you think.”
The topic of next Monday’s session will be Hinduism.
Schoeneck said he is looking forward to the rest of the series and what everyone can learn from it.
“It really is a journey,” he said.
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at 412-871-2369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.